Teams

Science Olympiad is a school-based program for students in third grade through their senior year in high school. It is a wonderful opportunity for students who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to improve their understanding of these subjects and work together in teams to learn new skills. If you are new to Science Olympiad, we recommend that you read this entire section to get an idea how everyone works together to make this program successful.

Students

We welcome you to Science Olympiad and hope you find this program both challenging and rewarding. Students have the fun part; this program is about student learning and growth. There are 23 events for teams that cover life sciences, earth sciences, physical sciences, technology, and the nature of science.

Science Olympiad is a team endeavor – students do not participate individually in Science Olympiad. A student may only join a team sponsored by the school they attend. (See our team composition policy for more detailed information.) Students who wish to get involved in Science Olympiad must contact their school Science Olympiad representatives to let them know of their interest.

If your school does not participate in Science Olympiad, we encourage you to explore starting a team at your school. Talk to your classmates who love science to see if they may be interested. Ask a teacher to serve as your coach. New teams join us each year, and we have resources to help. Your coach is free to contact us for further information about getting a team going.

Parents

Many parents write to VASO asking how to involve their children in Science Olympiad. As indicated in the "Student" section, Science Olympiad teams are school-sponsored groups. Students do not participate individually in the program. To get your student involved in Science Olympiad, help him or her contact the school and determine who the school Science Olympiad representative is. That person is the one to ask questions about how a team determines its members, how events are assigned, etc. VASO does not dictate how individual teams run their programs.

If a school does not participate in Science Olympiad, a parent can certainly be the catalyst to start a team. A parent may be the primary coach for a team, as well, but we require a teacher or staff member as VASO's primary point of contact for a school. To learn more about this requirement, please read our "School-Based Sponsor Policy".

In general, Science Olympiad is "Hands on" for students and "Hands off" for parents. However, head coaches often need extra help – mentors for events, working in fundraising or travel arrangements, etc. There are many things that a parent can do to help. Check out our "Parent Participation Policy" for more information on the "Do's" and "Don'ts" for parents.

Coaches

Welcome to Science Olympiad. Science Olympiad is a team endeavor and is generally run as an after-school activity. Schools may have unlimited participants at the school level, but are limited in the number of teams they may register to participate in VASO tournaments, with each team consisting of a maximum of 15 students. While students are responsible for all the building, learning, and event preparation on a team, a Science Olympiad team cannot function without a coach helping the students organize.

Our "Team Composition Policy" describes the makeup of an SO team. Coaches organize teams in a myriad of ways – using different methods to select team members or to organize students into events. VASO does not dictate how individual teams are run, but does have resources to assist new coaches. All of the information on our website is designed to help you understand the many facets of an SO program.

Science Olympiad consists of 23 events in both Division B (Grades 6 – 8) and Division C (Grades 9 – 12). Science Olympiad events are carefully chosen by the National Science Olympiad organization to reflect national educational standards and are a rigorous, challenging way to enhance STEM education in our schools. The detailed descriptions of each event can be found in the Official Rules Manual updated and published yearly to reflect the current year's events. These manuals will be sent to registered teams when their registration with VASO is complete. Event resources and clarifications can be found in the "Events" portion of this website – these sites should be checked frequently throughout the competition year.

An important coach role is to act as the primary liaison between the VASO organization and the school's SO teams. The VASO board believes strongly that the "School-Based Sponsor/Coach Policy" ensures fairness and efficiency of the communication process. We ask that your encourage your team members and any parent volunteers to come first to you with questions. If you are unable to help them, we are happy to assist you in finding the answers.

Being a Science Olympiad coach can be a very rewarding experience, as you watch your students challenge themselves and grow in their learning and confidence. We look forward to working with you during this competition year.