Rubber Band Catapult

Q: Do teams need to bring their catapult device to the competition, or are catapults provided for them? (section: 1 Students are to design, construct and bring to the tournament a catapult device similar to the sample below / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: The catapult is designed, constructed, tested, and improved by the students and then brought to the Science Olympiad for use in the event.

Team Problem Solving

Q: How large is the area/perimeter of the reflection relay?

A: The Reflection Relay task is presented in the context of a Team Problem Solving event. As such, the conditions of the task may be part of the problem solving challenge and will not be revealed in advance.

The spirit of the event is for teams of students to collaborate in response to a challenge presented live at the Science Olympiad.

Q: Can the students use any other aids besides the provided mirrors to calculate the angle off the mirrors? (section: Description / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1-2)

A: The rules for Team Problem Solving: Reflection Relay indicate "... Teams will be provided all materials necessary to complete the task, no outside materials will be allowed (emphasis added) during the competition."

Deadline Extension: Food Webs ... Owl Pellets

We are mindful that many schools that have been closed due to challenges associated with the fires in the greater Los Angeles area. We hope that you are all well and safe and that you will soon be able to return to a greater sense of normalcy.

In consideration of schools that have been closed, the first online submission deadline for the Food Webs...Owl Pellets event is Friday, December 15, 2017.

Data Submission Link for Food Webs … Owl Pellets

Q:  I click on the link for the 1st owl pellet submission but it keeps going back to the home page.  I am in the coaches section and when I scroll to the bottom for owl pellets, it returns me back to the same page.  Am I doing something wrong?   It says that it has been activated but there is no place to put the data.

A: The link appears to be working as expected. The link works with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox web browsers. The navigation from the LA County Science Olympiad website is: Online Events > Food Webs ... Owl Pellets > (Red Box w/ white text) "Click here to ..."

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If that link still doesn't work try refreshing your web browser or clearing out old, cached web pages.

Can Race

Q: Does the can have to be a metal coffee can? Can the can be plastic? (section: 3- The competition / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1-2)

A: Yes, the can may be plastic. The intent of the Can Race event is to construct the racer out of a commercially prepared "can." The exemplar used to describe the challenge is a coffee can. The can used for the construction should be similar to a commercially prepared coffee can.

Official Description: Earth Processes

An official event description for Earth Processes is not published in the Coaches Manual. Earth Processesdeveloped by the Los Angeles County Science Olympiad, is on the schedule of events this year.

A presentation on Science Processes formatted as a portable document format (PDF) contains description of all 8 science process skills and includes sample questions that emphasize a particular science process. 

Description

The 2018 Earth Processes event uses weather maps and weather events to emphasize scientific thinking processes.

Students should have a general knowledge of common Earth science process skills. They will be asked to apply those common skills in responding to specific tasks. While it may be helpful to know detailed information about weather and weather events, the emphasis in this event will be on science process skills to solve particular problems. Students will be asked to make detailed and specific observations, compare features, infer, and read weather maps of several kinds. In short, this is about doing science, not memorizing and repeating factoids.

Number of students

A team of 2 students

Approximate time

30 minutes

Materials

Students will be given a set of weather maps, rulers, and an answer sheet.

Preparing for competition

The weekly map sets come with a technical description of the maps that follow. It is NOT necessary to “teach” the content contained in the technical description. For this competition focus on the maps themselves and the weather patterns the maps show over time.

  • What do the maps contain in general?
  • Compare the weather maps for several days. How have they changed? What patterns do you notice?
  • How does wind direction change as a front passes by? (See Station Weather Model).
  • What happens to local temperature when a front passes by?
  • Students should focus on the science process listed below. What does the map indicate (observing)? How have successive maps changed (comparing)? What will happen to the temperature the following day for a particular location (predicting)?

Students should be familiar with the types of weather fronts and how those affect local weather. The Oklahoma Mesonet, a statewide netwok of real-time weather monitoring stations, has developed excellent teaching resources related to this competition.

This competition will emphasize air masses, weather fronts, and high an low pressure systems, and the effect on local weather. These teaching materials are available at no cost from Mesonet.

Also available is a discussion of content knowledge required to earn the Scouting Merit Badge in Weather. The sections for emphasis include Pressure Systems and Fronts, Observing the Weather, and Winds and Storms.

Lastly, have students keep track of the weather at their school over time. Measure air temperature, construct a simple weather vane to determine wind direction, observe clouds and cloud types, and, if available (or borrow one from the local high school) use a barometer to measure local air pressure. Be sure to record the observations. Have students examine their data for changes in patterns over time. How does it compare to the weather maps on television or in the local newspaper (or online at Weather.com, for example)?

Remember, this is about observations, patterns, changes, and interpreting data. It is not a measure of a students’ technical knowledge of the weather.

Science processes emphasized in this competition

There are about 8 science process skills: observing, communicating, comparing, ordering, categorizing, relating, inferring, and applying. Additional, detailed information about science processes can be found in the “Science Processes” chapter in the 1990 California Science Framework for K-12 Schools (see Resources section below). However, of the 8 science process skills, only a subset (P) of the processes will be emphasized in this competition:

P Observing - The scientific thinking process from which fundamental patterns of the world are constructed. (Statements and questions that facilitate the process of observing: Tell us what you see. What does this feel like? Give us information about its shape and size. Point out the properties that you observe. What characteristics seem to be predominant? What properties can you find?)

√ Communicating - The scientific thinking process that conveys ideas through social interchanges. (Statements and questions that facilitate the process of communicating: What do you see? Draw a picture of what you see with a hand lens. Plot the data you gathered on a graph. Summarize your findings and present them to the class.)

√ Comparing – The scientific thinking process that deals with concepts of similarities and differences. (Statements and questions that facilitate the process of comparing: How are these alike? How are these different? Compare these on the basis of similarities and differences.)

√ Ordering – The scientific thinking process that deals with patterns of sequence and seriation.

√ Categorizing – The scientific thinking process that deals with patterns of groups and classes. (Statements and questions that facilitate the process of classifying: On what basis would you group these objects? Put together all those that you think belong together. Identify several characteristics you used to classify these rocks.)

Relating – The scientific thinking process that deals with principles concerning interactions.

√ Inferring – The scientific thinking process that deals with ideas that are remote in time and space.

Applying - The scientific thinking process by which we use knowledge.

The Competition

1.     Each student team will be given several weather maps that cover about one week. Students may be to identify common weather map symbols, weather phenomena in an area, compare weather in two or more locations, and make simple predictions about future weather for a region.

Scoring

  1. One point will be given for each question answered correctly on the weather map exercise.
  2. Winners will be determined by the greatest number of total points earned.

Resources

 

Food Webs ... Owl Pellets Link is Now Active

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The link to submit the first round of student data for the Food Webs ... Owl Pellet online event has been activated. You can submit the first round of student data by clicking the link in the Online Events section of this Web site. Alternatively you can click on the link below:

Official Description: Pill Bugs (or Mealworms)

Description

The 2018 Pill Bugs (or Mealworms) event will follow the rules for the standard Pill Bugs event listed in the official Elementary Science Olympiad Competitive Tournament Rules Manual from the National Science Olympiad, with the variation that all responses will be submitted online.

Number of Students

Up to 15

Insuring Student Work

Any members of the Elementary Science Olympiad team from the school may participate in this event. Participation is not limited to three students. You may list up to three students if desired. The coach is responsible to ensure and validate that the work done is the work of the students on the team.

Materials

All necessary materials are provided by the school/team.

Clarification: Mealworms Permitted

Students may experiment with either pill bugs or mealworms. In order to facilitate obtaining specimens for observation, mealworms are added as an option. Mealworms are commonly available at bait and pet stores.

Organism Clarification

Pill Bugs, in this case refers to terrestrial isopods that may also be referred to as “sow bugs,” or “roly polies.” They are available from science supply houses, such as Ward’s Science or Carolina Biological.

Mealworms, refers to the Tenebrio larvae and may also be known by a variety of names. They are available from science supply houses, such as Ward’s Science or Carolina Biological. They are also available from pet stores, which may facilitate obtaining specimens for observation.

Safe and Humane Use of Animals in the Science Classroom

In keeping with common laboratory animal protocols, animals used in experimentation must be treated humanely. Coaches should be familiar with state and district guidelines concerning animals in the classroom. Links to the California Science Safety Handbook and the National Science Teachers Association position on animals in science education are provided below. Coaches are expected to review and supervise student work with the pill bugs or mealworms. As part of the online submission of student work for this event, teachers may be required to certify that students have followed appropriate protocols.

Here are links to helpful resources:

NSTA: Safety in the Science Classroom

NSTA: Responsible use of live animals

California Science Safety Handbook, 2014

Ward's® Live Terrestrial Isopods (Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs)

Ward's® Live Mealworm Larvae, Pupae and Beetles (Tenebrio)

Carolina Biological Mealworm (Tenebrio) Assortment, Living

Carolina Biological Terrestrial Isopods (Pill Bugs/Sow Bugs)

Note: have your students collect pill bugs or sow bugs. They can be found in moist, dark, garden spots or under logs. Mealworms can be purchased at local stores where fishing supplies or bait is sold.

Online Submission Link

A link will be posted on the website http://www.lacountyscienceolympiad.org/ prior to the due date. Check the Rules/Updates tab.

Online Submission

Students will submit evidence of their work online for scoring, including several mandatory deadlines in advance of the Science Olympiad tournament date. This is a significant variation from the rules described in the manual. Note that the due dates are well in advance of the date of the Science Olympiad tournament dates.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On or before this date, students will submit the name of their project, the question they have determined to investigate, a description of how they will house and care for the pill bugs or mealworms, and the procedure they plan to follow.=

Friday, January 12, 2018

On or before this date, students will submit a summary of their observations, along with any changes to the procedure or protocols that may be required by their initial observations. A photo of the students and the experimental set-up may be required.

Friday, February 2, 2018

On or before this date, students will submit their data, observations and conclusions.

Scoring priorities include

  • Appropriate and reasonable experimental design protocols.
  • Collection and communication of observations, including multiple observations when appropriate.
  • Observations and data are clearly and carefully recorded.
  • Ideas, explanations, conclusions, new questions, etc. are clearly communicated, reasonable, and based on observations made.

Download 

Download a printed copy of the official description of Pill Bugs.

Official Description Food Webs … Owl Pellets

Description

The 2018 Food Webs… Owl Pellets event will include online submission of observations, explanations, and conclusions.

The event will follow the rules for the standard Food Webs…Owl Pellets event listed in the official Elementary Science Olympiad Competitive Tournament Rules Manual from the National Science Olympiad, with the variation that responses will be submitted online. The written test described in the rules manual may not be included or may be a part of the online submissions.

2018 Event Details

Teams are expected to obtain at least five (5) owl pellets from a commercial source.

Each owl pellet should be dissected individually and the results of the observations kept independent from other pellets. That is, each pellet should provide independent conclusions regarding the feeding habits of the owls.

Observations and conclusions reported online may include:

  • Description of the owl pellet(s) prior to dissection
  • Identification of bones found in the owl pellet
  • Submission of a photos of bones, individual
  • Number of prey species found in each pellet
  • Identification of prey species found in each pellet
  • Conclusions regarding the food web and habitat of the owl that produced the pellets.
  • Student ideas regarding ecological considerations related to owl habitats.

Number of Students

Up to 15

Materials

All necessary materials are provided by the school/team.

Online Submission Link

A link will be posted on the website http://www.lacountyscienceolympiad.org/ prior to the due date. Check the Online Events tab.

Online Submission

Students will submit evidence of their work online for scoring, including two mandatory deadlines in advance of the Science Olympiad tournament date. This is a significant variation from the rules described in the manual. Note that the due dates are well in advance of the date of the Science Olympiad tournament.

First Deadline: Friday, December 7, 2017

On or before this date, a team of students will submit observations, identifications, and conclusions about the owl pellet activity. Only one submission may be made per team.

Second Deadline: Friday, January 11, 2018

On or before this date, students will respond to additional questions regarding owl habitats, owl food webs and ecological considerations related to owl habitats.

Scoring priorities include

  • Careful observation and dissection of the owl pellets
  • Identification of bones and owl prey species
  • Reasonable conclusions regarding owl feeding habits and ecological habitat implications.

Download

Download a printed copy of the official description of Food Web … Owl Pellets.

 

Official Description: Team Problem Solving—Reflection Relay

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Description

Team Problem Solving requires students to respond to a problem or challenge that is presented live during the competition at the Science Olympiad. Collaboration and teamwork are emphasized. The challenge may allow for multiple successful solutions.

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

2018 Challenge: Reflection Relay

The problem-solving challenge for the 2018 Elementary Science Olympiad will include a Reflection Relay challenge as described in the event “Reflection Relay” on page 97 of the Elementary Science Olympiad Competitive Tournament Rules Manual. Details of the challenge and implementation of the event may vary from the rules listed in the manual.  Teams will be provided all materials necessary to complete the task, no outside materials will be allowed during the competition.

Number of Students

Up to 3

Preparation

The Team Problem Solving challenge is designed to require students to work together to solve a challenge. Students’ preparation should include developing general collaboration, 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 modify an idea based on results of their test?
  • 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 or manipulate 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?

Scoring

Scoring is based on the ability of the team to work together on the problem as well as the lowest elapsed time seconds to complete the reflection relay.

Download

Download a printed copy of the official description of Team Problem Solving–Reflection Relay.

Official Description: Watch It/Write It Event Description

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Description

Watch It/Write It requires a team of students to observe some phenomena presented by the event supervisor and then describe the phenomena and their ideas about the phenomena using words, drawings, diagrams, labels, etc. Watch It/Write It emphasizes observation, communication and developing and using models.

Students should be prepared to observe carefully and develop a written model to represent their observations.

Number of Students

Up to 2 Approximate Time: 30 minutes

Materials:

Paper will be provided.
Students must bring sharpened pencils or pens and may bring colored pencils or pens.

Preparation

The Watch It/Write It challenge is designed to require students to observe carefully and describe their observations in words, pictures, diagrams, etc. The written description presents a model of the phenomena as well as the students’ ideas about what is going on and why. Students’ preparation might include making a variety of observations of natural or man-made phenomena and describing the ideas in writing.

Examples of phenomena might include:

  • Observe the operation of toys or simple science experiments.
  • Observe phenomena multiple times to check for missed observations.
  • Practice describing the steps of a process in words, diagrams, pictures, etc.
  • Practice ways to represent forces or unseen parts of a phenomena with words, symbols, etc.
  • Practice explaining ideas about observations and why some phenomena is happening.

Scoring

Scoring is based on the ability of the students to observe carefully and represent their observations in a written model that describes their observations clearly and describes their ideas about the phenomena. 

Download

Download a printed copy of the official description of Watch It/Write It.

Official Description: Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile Event Description

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Description

The 2018 Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile will include the challenge to design a cart that can carry a ping pong ball.

The event will follow the rules for the standard Pastamobile event listed in the official Elementary Science Olympiad Competitive Tournament Rules Manual from the National Science Olympiad, with the exception that size of the cart may be increased in order to accommodate the ping pong ball load. The maximum size listed in Procedure 2 from the rules is increased to 30cm x 15cm x 30cm.

Number of Students

Up to 3

Materials

Ping pong balls will be provided by the event supervisor.

Clarifications

  • The ping pong ball will be a standard size and weight, competition grade, ping pong ball, supplied by the event supervisor.
  • The ping pong ball must be carried by the cart without the use of any adhesive.
  • The ping ball will be loaded at the top of the ramp while the cart is in a vertical position and should remain on the cart as it travels.
  • Scoring will be the same as the criteria listed in the official rules, with additional points for Pasta (& Meatball) Mobiles that successfully carry the ping pong ball the entire length of the run with the ball still in place when the cart stops moving.

Scoring priorities include:

  1. Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile that meets the specifications as outlined above.
  2. Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile is able to complete the run essentially intact.
  3. Distance traveled by the Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile within the 1.5m lane.
  4. Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile successfully carries the “meatball” the entire length of the run (until it comes to a stop).

Download

Download a printed copy of the official description of Pasta (& Meatball) Mobile.