Event Description for Team Problem Solving

Team Problem Solving

Number of Students: Up to 3

Event Description:

Team Problem Solving requires students to respond to a problem or challenge that is presented live during the competition at the Science Olympiad.

The challenge may include construction of a device from materials provided, a written solution or description of an approach to solving a problem, or an annotated drawing of model that describes a solution to the problem. The problem may involve a combination of tasks. Specific details and a description of the challenge will not be provided in advance.

Collaboration and teamwork are emphasized. The challenge may allow for multiple successful solutions. There may be multiple solutions to the challenge.

The Team Problem Solving challenge is designed to require students to work together to solve a challenge. We might refer to this as the “event you can prepare for but not plan for,” meaning that students cannot specifically study or plan for a specific challenge, but they can prepare by developing general inquiry and problem solving strategies. For example:  

  • Can the students communicate effectively as they consider and evaluate ways to respond to the problem?
  • Are the students able to take turns, listen, consider each other’s ideas?
  • Can they test and revise an idea based on trial and error?
  • Do they have the ability to remain calm when faced with uncertainty?
  • Are the students able to see innovative uses for common materials?
  • Can they construct a device using simple materials, including tying knots, using tape and glue, and simple tools?
  • Can they use science process skills to develop a strategy to solve a problem?
  • Can the students clearly describe in writing the steps used to complete a procedure or test to gather data.
  • Can the students discuss, analyze and draw conclusions about data they generate or that is provided to them?

Please refer also to the document Preparing for the Elementary Science Olympiad, posted on this website.