Science Olympiad was created in 1983 by Dr. Gerard J. Putz and Jack Cairns to increase the interest in science and as an alternative to traditional science fairs and single-discipline tournaments. After successful trial Olympiads were held in their respective states of Michigan and Delaware, Science Olympiad began to grow. Currently, Science Olympiad has members in all 50 states with more than 15,000 K-12 schools participating.
Science Olympiad is a science competition which includes games, activities, and projects that you can use in your classroom, in your school, or throughout your district to promote science. Participation in the Olympiad can help make you a more effective science teacher, motivate your students and have fun in the process.
During the school year, each school develops a team of 15 students prepared to compete in Science Olympiad tournaments held on the local, state, and national levels. These interscholastic competitions consist of a series of 40 individual and team events that encourage learning in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, problem solving, and technology. Events in Science Olympiad have been designed to recognize the wide variety of skills that students possess. While some events require knowledge of scientific facts and concepts, others rely on science processes, skills, or applications. This ensures that everyone can participate, including students from technology classes or advanced science classes. In Sacramento, there is an Olympiad division for 6th-8th grade (B), and 9th-12th grade (C). The Sacramento Regional Science Olympiad tournament is held at CSUS or Mira Loma HS.
Both students and teachers dedicate their efforts with the Science Olympiad to the goals of improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education. These goals can be achieved through participation in Science Olympiad tournaments, and incorporation of Olympiad events into classroom activities. We also hope that our efforts can bring academic competition to the same level of recognition and praise normally reserved for athletic competitions in this country.
You are encouraged to include Olympiad events as a part of your curriculum to teach and reinforce specific concepts. You and your students will all be winners. The most successful school teams have been those who use Olympiad events in the classroom and hold mini school site Olympiads. From a competition standpoint the school that can consistently score above average in all events will generally do better than a school with as many firsts as last place finishes.
Although some events in Science Olympiad are based on individual achievement, all events involve teamwork, group planning and cooperation. That is the real essence of Science Olympiad. The emphasis is on advanced learning in science through active, hands-on group participation. Through the Olympiad, students, teachers, coaches, principals, business leaders, and parents are bonded together as a team working toward a goal. The Olympiad provides an alternative to the "isolated scientist" stereotype and reminds students that science can be fun, exciting, and challenging all at the same time. In college and beyond, students will find that the team spirit and good sportsmanship they developed during Science Olympiad will be deciding factors in their success.