Official Description: Team Problem Solving—Reflection Relay

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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


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