Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs open October 1 and close May 1. Please review the Official Rules Clarifications in addition to the FAQsOfficial Rules Clarifications are made to clarify or correct the rules printed in the Rules Manuals. FAQs are replies to commonly asked questions.The Official Rules Clarifications and FAQs apply to all states and all tournaments and originate at the national level (please check your regional or state website for additional information). If you need copies of the official rules (only found in the Rules Manuals), see your coach or go to the Science Olympiad Store

To see posted FAQs or to Submit a Question for a Rules Clarification, please select one of the events below or to search for a key word use the "search box" (HINT: to see all FAQ responses: use the "Printer-Friendly Version" Button). To see if a similar questions to yours has been asked, click on the Reveal Questions button. For Trial event questions, please submit them under the Reveal Questions button at the very end under Trial Events.

The Submit a Question form is to be used to ask questions about a specific section and paragraph number in the event rule that might be unclear, not to be a help or answer desk. Only specific clarifying questions will receive replies. They will be posted if they are not a repetition of what is already stated in the rules. Concerning specificity about what is allowed please read the Code of Ethics and General Rules. For general info about team size and an overview of Science Olympiad, see Background under About SO.

Questions that will not receive a reply: those that are already answered and posted, what materials to use, how to build a device, if a device complies to the rules, what will be covered on a test, how to coach the event. These questions should go to your Coach or see the links under EVENT INFO.

General tournament, facilities or site-specific questions should go to your State Director.

Division B Events

Division C Events

General Questions

Coaching/Team Requirements

Trial Events

Division B Events

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth/Space Science

Dynamic Planet - Div B

Fossils - Div B

Meteorology

Road Scholar

Solar System

Inquiry/Nature

Bottle Rocket

Picture This

(section: 1 / line: 3)

2014-10-26 19:26 May teams be made up of only 2 students?

Yes, please see the official Rules Clarification. Teams may have up to 3 students.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: none / line: 2)

2014-11-13 20:52 After reading, it was my understanding that the team members will rotate when a correct term is given. Is that correct?

No, the team members will rotate drawing when a correct term is given or a word is passed.

Experimental Design - Div B

Write It Do It - Div B

(section: Compet / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-11-25 20:05 While writing can words be crossed off or erased if a mistake is made?

Yes, strikethroughs may be used to identify text that is not part of the completed instructions. Even though technically not acceptable since it cannot be made on a standard typewriter, students are not expected to perfectly write instructions and if mistakes are made, strikethroughs would identify that the text is NOT part of the written instructions ...therefore wouldn't be docked in scoring.

Life/Personal/Social Science

Bio-Process Lab

Disease Detectives - Div B

Anatomy and Physiology

Green Generation - Div B

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:49 Does the limitation to Div C apply to both Legislation and Economic Opportunity or just Economic Opportunity?

Both topics of Legislation and Economic Opportunity in Solving Problems will apply to only Division C. Division B will not have any questions related to Legislation and Economic Opportunity in Solving Problems.

(section: 3. / paragraph: a. / sub-paragraph: i. / line: 2)

2014-11-25 20:42 3.a.i. lists "....... nutrient cycling, community interactions, population dynamics, species diversity and indicator species (2015 and 2016.)" Is population DYNAMICS in 2015 but NOT population GROWTH?

The basic ecological principle of how populations grow/dynamics will be covered in 2015 and 2016. (For eg- J curve, S curve, predator-prey interactions). Population growth human caused issues will be covered in 2016 ( For example- habitat loss, deforestation, desertification).

Entomology - Div B

(section: ? / paragraph: ? / sub-paragraph: ? / line: ?)

2014-10-26 18:43 The Official Insect List has a glaring error. The family listed for "scale insects-twig or leaf" is wrong. It should be Coccidae, not Dactylopiidae which is cochineal insects.

From the rules... "The taxonomic scheme is based upon the Audubon Insect and Spider Field Guide. Any arbitrations questions will defer to this resource as the correct answer. " and on p 512 cochineal bugs are labeled as Family Dactylopiidae. its not a perfect system, and no book I am aware of will resolve every issue that can arise with the fluidity of insect taxonomy.

Physical Science/Chemistry

Chemistry

Can't Judge a Powder

Crime Busters

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: xv / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:11 May students bring one or two individual resource pages (not in a binder), as in past years? Are students allowed to remove resource pages from the binder to use while working during the competition?

Most event supervisors are going to go by the book, which means the two pages would need to be in a binder. There are no rules on the removal of the pages, but it might be best to ask the event supervisor if removal of the pages would be allowed.

Physics

Crave The Wave

Simple Machines

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:39 For the first class lever component, does the total length of the bar have to be less than 80 cm or the individual sides from the fulcrum?

For the class 1 lever the load point to load point measurements must be less than or equal to 80.0 cm. The size of the the fulcrum is irrelevant to this measurement.

Air Trajectory

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-11-25 18:58 Does the gravitational potential energy need to convert directly into air pressure or can it go through multiple conversions to get to the air pressure force.

It can go through multiple conversions, but 100% of the energy must initially be gravitational potential energy.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b,c, / line: 1)

2014-11-25 19:03 Does the air pressure/movement generated by by the falling mass have to be immediatley applied (either directly or indirectly) to the projectile or can it be stored and then released?

It can be stored and released, but 100% of the initial energy must come from the falling mass and event supervisors must be able to verify this. Also, all chambers must automatically return to ambient air pressure.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-11-25 19:12 During competition, can a team use a different air chamber for each launch?

Yes, as long as the device remains safe and within other specs.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-10-30 16:49 Is a Foose ball legal to use as a projectile?

No, only the listed items in rule 3.f. are allowed as projectiles.

(section: 3f / paragraph: a / line: 3,4)

2014-11-25 19:28 Polyurethane foam practice golf balls almost never use the word "plastic" in their advertising, although polyurethane is clearly a plastic. If the package says "PU foam practice golf balls" is it OK?

All the words "plastic", "practice", "golf", and "ball" must appear somewhere on the packaging or advertising description of the product, but not necessarily all in the same spot.

(section: 3f / paragraph: a / line: 3/4)

2014-10-25 20:17 Please define "plastic practice golf balls". Are high density polyurethane foam practice golf balls allowed?

The most common type of plastic golf balls are plastic dimpled and plastic with holes and HDPE foam types are legal. As long as they are commercially marketed as "plastic practice golf balls", they may be used. It is recommended that students bring the packaging if there is a question.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / line: 2)

2014-10-25 20:32 Its stated that the launch area is "1.00 m x 1.50 m (parallel to the launch direction)," does this mean that launch area is 1.50 m in length along the launch access and 1 m wide?

Yes, the 1.5 m side of the launch area is the side that is parallel to the launch direction and the front of the launch area is 1 m wide.

(section: 4 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2014-10-25 20:45 The height of the target is not specified in the rules. What are the limits on how high or how low the targets can be compared to the launching area?

Rule 4.d. explicitly says that the target is either tape on the floor or panels lying on the floor. There should not be any significant difference between the floor height in the launch area and the targets.

(section: 4 / paragraph: g / line: 1)

2014-10-25 20:59 Can a team take one shot each for both targets and then decide which target it takes a second shot and/or take a bucket shot (if allowed by 4.i)?

Competitors may choose either target for their first shot. They may then choose to take their second shot at the same target or their first shot at the other target. If they qualify to take a bucket shot after their first shot at a particular target, they must ask for the bucket when they wish to take the second shot at that target.

(section: 4 / paragraph: h / line: 2)

2014-10-25 21:05 How can the competitors make measurements after the launch without touching the target?

Competitors will be told the distance of the targets from the launch area and can measure their impact locations from the launch area if outside of the target.

(section: 4 / paragraph: i / line: 7)

2014-10-25 21:11 If the projectile bounces off the bottom of the bucket and then out of the bucket would the bonus count?

Rule 4.i states that "making contact with the inside bottom surface is worth an additional 100 points." It does not state that after making contact the projectile must remain in the bucket, so the bonus is given even if the projectile subsequently bounces out of the bucket.

Technology

Wheeled Vehicle

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-10-22 08:36 Can other parts of the vehicle (not the wheels) extend beyond the 25cm by 60cm rectangle in a ready to run configuration?

Yes, rule 3.c. applies only to the wheels.

Robo-Cross

Bridge Building

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2014-10-27 18:44 Must the outside width of the Bridge be at least 5.0 cm for the entire span? What does "at any height along its span" mean?

Yes, the outside width of the Bridge must be at least 5.0 cm for the entire span (Div. B - 35 cm and Div. C - 45 cm). "At any height along its span" means that the 5.0 cm width for the entire span can be at any height on the bridge as long as it is not below the top surface of the Test Supports.

2014-10-27 18:49 If the outside width of the bridge at the bottom chord is 5cm out to out, can the top chords be less than 5cm out to out in order to better support the loading block?

Yes, as long as the width of the Bridge is at least 5.0 cm for the entire span it doesn't matter at what height the 5.0 cm minimum width is located.

2014-11-25 19:31 Can the bridge be say 1cm wide with a thin out rigor along it's length to meet the 5 cm wide requirement?

Yes, that is one way to meet the requirements of rule 3.e.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-10-27 18:52 May the loading block be placed at any height of the Bridge as long as it is in the center of the span?

Yes, the loading block may be placed at any height of the Bridge as long as it is in the center of the span and not below the top surface of the Test Supports prior to testing.

Elastic Launched Glider

(section: 4 / paragraph: G / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:06 Can the other team member help load the glider in the launcher as long as only one member actually launches the glider?

Yes.

Division C Events

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth & Space Science

Astronomy

Dynamic Planet - Div C

Fossils - Div C

GeoLogic Mapping

Inquiry & Nature of Science

Experimental Design - Div C

Bungee Drop

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-11-25 19:52 What is the definition of "drop height?"is it the bottom of the plastic bottle? The top? the top including all attached pieces by the event supervisors?The height of the anchoring system's top of ledge?

The drop height is measured from the bottom of the bottle.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 3)

2014-10-21 20:08 The phrasing for the sentence beginning "An attachment mechanism... " has very confusing wording. What exactly is it saying about attachment mechanisms (could you reword it for us?)

Rule 2.b.line 3 The phrase should be a complete sentence starting with the wording "Supervisors will supply an attachment mechanism......."

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 2)

2014-11-25 19:58 Would folding the cord in half or other fractions/multiples to adjust for drop heights considered a physical alteration?

Folding the cord would not be considered a physical alteration. However, when folded, the cord would need to meet the elasticity test. Rule 3.c states "The cord may consist of more than one material...and more than one strand as long as it meets the elasticity test." Rule 3.c also defines the elasticity test "...while being suspended vertically, the bottom meter of the cord must stretch to at least 1.25 meters when a single mass is attached to this section and return to within 5 cm of its original length after the mass is removed."

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 7)

2014-11-25 19:59 Does the bottom one meter length include the key ring for the elasticity test? i.e. the one meter length measured from the bottom of the key ring.

The key ring is included in the meter for the elasticity test.

Technical Problem Solving

Write It Do It - Div C

(section: Compet / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-11-25 20:05 While writing can words be crossed off or erased if a mistake is made?

Yes, strikethroughs may be used to identify text that is not part of the completed instructions. Even though technically not acceptable since it cannot be made on a standard typewriter, students are not expected to perfectly write instructions and if mistakes are made, strikethroughs would identify that the text is NOT part of the written instructions ...therefore wouldn't be docked in scoring.

Life, Personal & Social Science

Anatomy and Physiology

Cell Biology - Div C

Disease Detectives - Div C

Entomology

(section: ? / paragraph: ? / sub-paragraph: ? / line: ?)

2014-10-26 18:43 The Official Insect List has a glaring error. The family listed for "scale insects-twig or leaf" is wrong. It should be Coccidae, not Dactylopiidae which is cochineal insects.

From the rules... "The taxonomic scheme is based upon the Audubon Insect and Spider Field Guide. Any arbitrations questions will defer to this resource as the correct answer. " and on p 512 cochineal bugs are labeled as Family Dactylopiidae. its not a perfect system, and no book I am aware of will resolve every issue that can arise with the fluidity of insect taxonomy.

Green Generation - Div C

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:49 Does the limitation to Div C apply to both Legislation and Economic Opportunity or just Economic Opportunity?

Both topics of Legislation and Economic Opportunity in Solving Problems will apply to only Division C. Division B will not have any questions related to Legislation and Economic Opportunity in Solving Problems.

(section: 3. / paragraph: a. / sub-paragraph: i. / line: 2)

2014-11-25 20:42 3.a.i. lists "....... nutrient cycling, community interactions, population dynamics, species diversity and indicator species (2015 and 2016.)" Is population DYNAMICS in 2015 but NOT population GROWTH?

The basic ecological principle of how populations grow/dynamics will be covered in 2015 and 2016. (For eg- J curve, S curve, predator-prey interactions). Population growth human caused issues will be covered in 2016 ( For example- habitat loss, deforestation, desertification).

Physical Science & Chemistry

Air Trajectory

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-11-25 18:58 Does the gravitational potential energy need to convert directly into air pressure or can it go through multiple conversions to get to the air pressure force.

It can go through multiple conversions, but 100% of the energy must initially be gravitational potential energy.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b,c, / line: 1)

2014-11-25 19:03 Does the air pressure/movement generated by by the falling mass have to be immediatley applied (either directly or indirectly) to the projectile or can it be stored and then released?

It can be stored and released, but 100% of the initial energy must come from the falling mass and event supervisors must be able to verify this. Also, all chambers must automatically return to ambient air pressure.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-11-25 19:12 During competition, can a team use a different air chamber for each launch?

Yes, as long as the device remains safe and within other specs.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-10-30 16:49 Is a Foose ball legal to use as a projectile?

No, only the listed items in rule 3.f. are allowed as projectiles.

(section: 3f / paragraph: a / line: 3,4)

2014-11-25 19:28 Polyurethane foam practice golf balls almost never use the word "plastic" in their advertising, although polyurethane is clearly a plastic. If the package says "PU foam practice golf balls" is it OK?

All the words "plastic", "practice", "golf", and "ball" must appear somewhere on the packaging or advertising description of the product, but not necessarily all in the same spot.

(section: 3f / paragraph: a / line: 3/4)

2014-10-25 20:38 Please define "plastic practice golf balls". Are high density polyurethane foam practice golf balls allowed?

The most common type of plastic golf balls are plastic dimpled and plastic with holes and HDPE foam types are legal. As long as they are commercially marketed as "plastic practice golf balls", they may be used. It is recommended that students bring the packaging if there is a question.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / line: 2)

2014-10-25 20:32 Its stated that the launch area is "1.00 m x 1.50 m (parallel to the launch direction)," does this mean that launch area is 1.50 m in length along the launch access and 1 m wide?

Yes, the 1.5 m side of the launch area is the side that is parallel to the launch direction and the front of the launch area is 1 m wide.

(section: 4 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2014-10-25 20:45 The height of the target is not specified in the rules. What are the limits on how high or how low the targets can be compared to the launching area?

Rule 4.d. explicitly says that the target is either tape on the floor or panels lying on the floor. There should not be any significant difference between the floor height in the launch area and the targets.

(section: 4 / paragraph: g / line: 1)

2014-10-25 20:59 Can a team take one shot each for both targets and then decide which target it takes a second shot and/or take a bucket shot (if allowed by 4.i)?

Competitors may choose either target for their first shot. They may then choose to take their second shot at the same target or their first shot at the other target. If they qualify to take a bucket shot after their first shot at a particular target, they must ask for the bucket when they wish to take the second shot at that target.

(section: 4 / paragraph: h / line: 2)

2014-10-25 21:05 How can the competitors make measurements after the launch without touching the target?

Competitors will be told the distance of the targets from the launch area and can measure their impact locations from the launch area if outside of the target.

(section: 4 / paragraph: i / line: 7)

2014-10-25 21:11 If the projectile bounces off the bottom of the bucket and then out of the bucket would the bonus count?

Rule 4.i states that "making contact with the inside bottom surface is worth an additional 100 points." It does not state that after making contact the projectile must remain in the bucket, so the bonus is given even if the projectile subsequently bounces out of the bucket.

Compound Machines

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:39 For the first class lever component, does the total length of the bar have to be less than 40 cm or the individual sides from the fulcrum?

For the class 1 lever the load point to load point measurements must be less than or equal to 40.0 cm. The size of the the fulcrum is irrelevant to this measurement.

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1-2)

2014-11-25 20:14 For class II lever would 40 cm be measured from the center of the fulcrum to the center of the load?

The fulcrum connection and load location are points. The 40 cm maximum length will be from one to the other.

It's About Time

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-10-26 18:52 If we build a clock from parts made from a 3D printer, is that legal? The clock will be powered by an non-electric oscillator.

Per General Rule 1, yes it is allowed. As long as it complies to all other event rules, general rules, and the official Science Olympiad Building and Tools policy found at http://soinc.org/building_tools_policy. A 3D printer is no different from any other workshop tool such as a table saw or drill press.

Forensics

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: xv / line: 1)

2014-10-27 19:11 May students bring one or two individual resource pages (not in a binder), as in past years? Are students allowed to remove resource pages from the binder to use while working during the competition?

Most event supervisors are going to go by the book, which means the two pages would need to be in a binder. There are no rules on the removal of the pages, but it might be best to ask the event supervisor if removal of the pages would be allowed.

Protein Modeling

Chem Lab

Technology & Engineering

Bridge Building - Div C

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2014-10-27 18:44 Must the outside width of the Bridge be at least 5.0 cm for the entire span? What does "at any height along its span" mean?

Yes, the outside width of the Bridge must be at least 5.0 cm for the entire span (Div. B - 35 cm and Div. C - 45 cm). "At any height along its span" means that the 5.0 cm width for the entire span can be at any height on the bridge as long as it is not below the top surface of the Test Supports.

2014-10-27 18:49 If the outside width of the bridge at the bottom chord is 5cm out to out, can the top chords be less than 5cm out to out in order to better support the loading block?

Yes, as long as the width of the Bridge is at least 5.0 cm for the entire span it doesn't matter at what height the 5.0 cm minimum width is located.

2014-11-25 19:31 Can the bridge be say 1cm wide with a thin out rigor along it's length to meet the 5 cm wide requirement?

Yes, that is one way to meet the requirements of rule 3.e.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-10-27 18:52 May the loading block be placed at any height of the Bridge as long as it is in the center of the span?

Yes, the loading block may be placed at any height of the Bridge as long as it is in the center of the span and not below the top surface of the Test Supports prior to testing.

Mission Possible

(section: 1 / paragraph: a / line: 4)

2014-10-22 07:57 Does each golf ball need to end up in its own container?

No.

(section: 3)

2014-11-03 18:54 Are parallel steps allowed this year?

No. By definition the actions and ETS are listed in the Action Sequence List in order, with one triggering the next. See rule 4.d.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1)

2014-10-26 19:30 What constitutes an action/how are they different from a transfer?

A transfer is referring to an ETS (Energy Transfer Sequence), which is described in 4.b.

(section: 3 / paragraph: g / line: 1)

2014-11-13 20:45 Can microcontrollers, which are not computers nor integrated circuits, be used in the device?

No, microcontrollers contain integrated circuits and thus are prohibited.

(section: 3 / paragraph: i / line: 1-2)

2014-11-03 20:00 Under the rules for mission possible it states, "hazardous liquids...and unsafe chemical handling will not be permitted. What designates a liquid as hazardous or a chemical as unsafe?

That is up to the individual event supervisor to determine. It will be based upon common standards and processes, such as those found in a typical chemistry lab. In general, when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

(section: 4 / line: 1)

2014-10-22 08:02 What is the difference between the Action Sequence List transfers and the Bonus Energy Transfer Sequences? When is which used, etc?

All actions/transfers must be included on the submitted Action Sequence List. The Bonus Energy Transfer Sequences must be included in the submitted Action Sequence List.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-10-26 19:42 If more than one golf ball is being sorted, do you just drop one in to start the device and the others are already placed in the device, or must all of them be dropped in?

The Start Task golf ball is the only one that is not in the device at the Start. All other golf balls must begin in the device at a point below the bottom of the lowest scoring plastic beverage jug.

2014-11-03 18:51 Does the starting golf ball have to end up in a scoring jug?

No, the starting golf ball does not have to end up in a scoring jug.

2014-11-03 19:57 Does the golf ball that starts the first action have to fall below the lowest container, then be lifted up and be dropped into a jug for the 2 points, or can it start the action and fall right into a jug?

The starting golf ball may start an action and fall into a scoring jug without going below the lowest container but it will not receive 2 points. To score 2 points, the starting golf ball must go completely below the lowest container and be lifted up by the device before dropping into a scoring jug.

2014-11-03 20:05 Can the first starting golf ball initiate an ETS?

Yes, the starting golf ball may initiate an ETS. Please see the posted FAQ regarding scoring 2 points for the starting golf ball.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / line: 3)

2014-11-03 19:14 Does the ENTIRE golf ball need to be completely below the jug, or does only part of the golf ball need to be below the jug?

Yes, all golf balls must start completely below any of the scoring jugs except for the first golf ball.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: 3 / line: 5)

2014-10-22 08:07 Can objects, other than scoring golf balls, be placed inside of the scoring jugs, provided that they do not alter the inside surface of the jug?

No, objects other than the scoring golf balls may not be inside the scoring jugs. The inside of the scoring jug may not contain any objects, excluding scoring golf balls, throughout the duration of the run.

2014-11-05 13:23 What is the difference between the Action Sequences and the Bonus Energy Transfers?

Everything that happens in the device is an Action.   Actions on their own don’t earn points.  Transfers are when one form of energy is transferred into another form of energy.   Transfers on their own don’t earn points. The only way a Transfer can receive points is if it is part of an Energy Transfer Sequence (ETS) as per the rules. Regardless of the points intended to earn, all Actions and Energy Transfers must be documented in the Action Sequence List (ASL).

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-10-22 08:11 For two consecutive ETS will the golf ball at the end of first ETS be the same as the golf ball of the second ETS?

Yes, the ending ball from one ETS may be the starting ball for the next ETS. There does not need to be an intermediate step between two consecutive Bonus Energy Transfer Sequences.

2014-10-26 19:52 It states that the ETS must be initiated by the PROCESS of a golf ball moving into a scoring jug, does this mean that as long as the starting golf ball starts the next ETS and falls in before the next golfball falls in, the ETS is scored?

Yes.

2014-10-26 19:58 Do the initiating and final golf balls have to be eligible for scoring in order for an ETS to be eligible for scoring? Initiating and final referring to the golf ball starting the ETS and the golf ball released at the end of the transfer.

Yes, both the initiating and final golf balls must be eligible for scoring in order for an ETS to be eligible for scoring.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 2)

2014-10-22 08:13 Does an ETS have to be initiated by a golf ball specifically falling into a scoring jug (4.b, line 2) or simply initiated by a golf ball "Prior to entering a scoring jug (4.a, line 8)"?

The Bonus ETS must be initiated by  the process of a golf ball moving into a scoring jug.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 6)

2014-11-03 19:03 Would an ETS of “X to Y to X” be different and unique when compared to a sequence of “X to Y to X to Y to X”? What is the working definition of a unique ETS?

Yes, these would be different unique energy transfer sequences. A unique Energy Transfer Sequence is when the sequence of transfers are different from those of another sequence. This could include the addition or deletion of a transfer from another type of sequence already used.

(section: 4 / paragraph: c / line: 3)

2014-10-22 08:24 What is the specific definition of "immediately," as in "The last ball will count for points if it immediately drops into a jug"?

Immediate is not specifically defined in a tenth of a second or seconds so as not to put a burden on the Event Supervisor for timing. It is up to the Event Supervisor to determine the definition of "immediate". A team should not take chances of the ball taking more than 1-2 seconds.

(section: 5 / line: L)

2014-10-22 08:30 Only 6 Energy Task Sequences score points. Can any number of golf balls be given 2 points, though after the first 6, they use non-scoreable Actions?

Yes, any number of golf balls may receive 2 points with non-scoreable actions.

Scrambler

(section: 2 / paragraph: h / line: 2)

2014-10-27 19:15 Would a ramp be allowed?

No. 2.c. states "The vehicle must not contribute to the falling mass." 2.h. states "The only parts of the Scrambler that are allowed to contact the floor are those that are already in contact with the floor in the ready-to-run position. All ETV wheels must be in contact with the floor at all times."

Wright Stuff

(section: 3 / paragraph: g / line: 1)

2014-10-26 20:05 Please clarify "non-transparent" as even Esaki tissue is transparent enough to read through: Is Dying, spray painting, or coloring with a marker over clear plastic covering material allowed?

Yes, for the Science Olympiad National Competition, the techniques and materials as described but not limited to: dying, spray painting, coloring with a marker over clear plastic, are each acceptable and will be allowed as a covering so that aircraft may be identified at its maximum altitude.

(section: 5 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-10-26 19:48 In the case of a tip-dihedral model, would a colored wing tip (which is non-horizontal) meet the requirements of both rule 5.a and 3.g.?

Yes.

General Questions

Please do not use this form for EVENT RULE questions as they must be submitted by selecting one of the 46 events listed. This page refers to questions that apply to all events and to Science Olympiad in general. 

2008-08-21 12:11 General Rule 4 on the last page of each manual states that participants may not communicate with the outside. How will the laptops be checked to insure that their internet capability is disabled?

Event Supervisors are not willing to share their methods of insuring that students do not communicate with the outside during an event.

2008-08-21 12:12 In past years, there have been live links for the various events to access online resources. Did I miss them, or is there a change in policy?

Material on the website has been contributed by coaches, event supervisors and workshop presenters from all levels of competition. Any additional material will be posted as it becomes available. If you would like to contribute material (non-copyright) please contact the Science Olympiad National Office.

2008-08-21 12:13 When will the Rules Manual be sent?

Depends on where the order was sent, when it was sent, and if the order was received.

First check with your main/business office to determine if and when the order was sent and to whom it was sent. Do not assume that if you gave your office an order that it was sent. It often takes as much as 6 weeks before orders are approved by the school board.  If it has been more than 7 working days since your order was actually sent, you may want to call  the office that it was sent to, to determine if your order was indeed received.

2008-08-21 12:13 Where can I find answers to questions about the rules?

Answers to all questions about rules can generally be found in the Rules Manual by reading the rules carefully. The Clarifications and individual Event FAQ pages have only selected answers to corrections or common misunderstandings.

2008-08-21 12:14 Where is the best website to obtain info and materials on how to make devices for competion?

Researching information is part of the competition and is the responsibility of the contestants. Some information available from Science Olympiad on the internet can be located on the page for that event. To access event pages, go to Event Info, Division, event name.

2008-08-21 12:17 Why aren't the rules on the web?

The rules are copyrighted and may not be placed on the web without the permission of the Science Olympiad National Executive Board of Directors. They have voted unanimously NOT to post the rules on the website for numerous reasons. Some issues and concerns that had an impact on the decision were; membership timing and delays, graphics and charts, bogus electronic copies, school's inability to download or open documents, downloading platforms and other problems. Other Science Olympiad manuals (but not the Rules Manual) contribute to the revenue which keeps the organization financially sound and able to provide the high-quality educational experience that it does.

Additional copies of the Rules Manual may be purchased from the Science Olympiad store on this website.

2008-08-21 12:17 How far in advance of the regional and state tournaments are the schedules sent out so coaches can figure out student placement in events?

This depends on each tournament Director's timeline. You may need to inquire about the schedule directly with each of your directors. The very tentative national schedule is generally posted in the Coaches Manuals.

2008-08-21 12:19 If our school has two teams, are students allowed to participate with both teams?

No, students may not compete on 2 teams in the same tournament.

2008-08-21 12:20 May a 9th grader compete in both the B division and C division, since B is 6-9 and C is 9-12?

No, you must choose one or the other at a tournament.  You may not be on two rosters at the same tournament.

2008-08-21 12:21 What is the policy of using resources during competition this year?

Allowed resources are different for each event. Please read each Event Rule and the General Rules in the Rules Manual for information on using resources.

2008-08-21 12:23 May a team member participate in the state competition if they cannot participate in the regional competition?

Each tournament is independently organized. Your team may be composed of any students who meet the requirements. They do not have to be the same as those who competed in previous tournaments.

2008-08-21 12:24 I was looking for FAQs for an event, but there aren't any questions or answers for that event.

You are correct.  There are very few questions and answers posted this year because the rules have been generally well written and we have received few questions that are worthy of posting.  We are responding to all questions that come in but be aware that responses may take up to a week.    Please be sure to read the parameters that we use to decide what questions we will or will not answer. These parameters may be found at Event Info/FAQs...

2008-08-21 12:26 On what dates are the regional, state, and national tournaments, or where might I find them?

Contact your Regional and State Director for information about those tournaments. All known future National Tournament dates can be found on the "Tournaments" page on this website and in the current Rules Manual.

2008-08-21 12:49 Where are the event rules on this website? I would like to be able to print the rules instead of copying from someone else's manual.

The rules are copyrighted and may not be placed on any website. Copies of the Rules Manual containing the rules for all events are generally sent to the coach when a team is registered.  Additional copies  may be purchased from the Science Olympiad Store on this website.

2008-11-26 13:15 Why aren't the schedules for nationals, state and regionals all the same? It is very difficult to reorganize the teams at every level of competition because of time conflicts with the studied events. Why aren't all competitions required to be con...

There are 500 different tournaments with 500 different sets of unique limitations. The national schedule is posted in September. You might ask your local tournament director but keep in mind that they must build their schedules around limitations such as availability of space, event supervisors, equipment, etc.

2012-10-26 13:31 How much is the initial registration fee?

The National registration fee is $60 per team and is included in the state registration fee. Please check with your State Director to register. State websites can be accessed through the www.soinc.org

Coaching/Team Requirements

Questions on coaching a team, study resources and membership requirements.

2008-08-11 15:25 If a student no longer attends the school but is at another school that does not have a team, may she compete on our team?

No, but they are welcome to form a new team even if it is with only a few students at first. Remember that a parent, a community member or any educator, etc. may be a coach, but be sure to notify the principal and follow all of the school rules.

2008-08-11 15:27 If we qualifiy for nationals, but are short team members, may we use alternate team members to fill in?

Each tournament is independently organized. Your team may be composed of any students who meet the requirements on page 2 of the Coaches Manual and Rules. They do not have to be the same as those who competed in previous tournaments.

2008-08-11 15:46 What is the official rule on alternate team members?

There is no "official" rule on "alternate" members.  Alternates may participate only if one of the 15 regular team members can't make it the day of the competition or if a team member becomes ill or injured. Alternates may not fill in if there is a schedule conflict or if the schedule changes on the day of the competition.

Some tournaments restrict the number (if any) per team and sometimes allow them to participate in trials events and drop off impound items. Many tournaments issue and require "regular" team members to wear "hospital style" wrist bands so alternates do not "accidentally" cover for a late member.

2008-08-11 15:47 Where can I find information/help on coaching a team?

The informal Science Olympiad Coaches Discussion Group has many experienced coaches that can can offer assistance. To join go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/science-olympiad-coaches/

2008-08-11 15:49 Do you have to be certified to coach a team?

Science Olympiad does not certify coaches. We accept any adult that the school accepts as a coach. It does not have to be a teacher or an administrator of the school. It could be a parent or a community member. Each school may have different requirements for coaches.

2008-08-11 15:49 Are there any other places where we can get practice tests for the events?

Yes, dozens of them, but the best sources are the Test Packets from each National Tournament that can be ordered from the Science Olympiad Store. Many others are listed under event info on the National Science Olympiad website.

2008-08-11 15:51 If a school has grade levels below those designated for their division (A3-6/B6-9/C9-12), may students from the lower grades participate on a team in a higher division?

With the concurrence of your tournaments organizers, to encourage and support the inclusion of all children who wish to participate in Science Olympiad, schools with grade levels lower than those designated in a division (e.g., K-8, 3-7, 7-12) are permitted to invite members below the Division grade level designations if no other outlet (such as a division-specific team) is available. We prefer and encourage students to participate in the division that matches current Science Olympiad grade level designations. Participation is limited to age-appropriate events (as determined by a coach, principal or tournament director) and prohibited where safety is a concern (such as the use of chemicals).

2008-08-11 15:53 Where can I find answers to questions about the rules?

Answers to all questions can be found in this knowledge base. The Clarifications  and individual Event FAQ pages have been merged into this Knowledge base.

2008-08-11 15:54 May we put a team together & register outside the school, having the team made up of students from the school? May the coach be a parent or does it have to be a teacher from that school?

Any adult can be a coach (teacher, parent, administrator, previous competitor, counselor, engineer, local businessman, dentist, shop owner, rock hound, etc,). The only requirement is students must be from the same school and the principal must verify that the competitors are members of that school.

2008-11-10 15:11 Please tell me how to find and print the event rules. We are having trouble navigating the website.

The rules are copyrighted and are not placed on any website. Copies of the Rules Manual containing the rules for all events may be purchased from the Science Olympiad Store.

2008-08-11 15:21 Trial/Pilot Events

For general information and pdfs regarding trial events, please visit the Trial Events information page.

To ask questions about a Trial Event or to find out which events will be held, contact your Regional or State Director.