Official Event Description: Bottle Biology

Bottle Biology

An Online Submission Event


Students will construct a device that will house decomposing leaf litter ora living plant terrarium from 2-liter soda bottles.  Once started, the bottle is left alone and the students’ record their observations, and draw conclusions.  Scoring is based on students’ research, observations, data collection and conclusions.


Two different Bottle Experiments

A team may select one type of experiment:

  1. The Soda Bottle Decomposition Column is a miniature compost pile, or as leaf litter on a forest floor. Through the sides of the bottle you can observe different substances decompose and explore how moisture, air, temperature and light affect the process.

  2. The Soda Bottle Terrarium is an experiment to observe plants in a closed environment; and while it is growing you can observe the life cycle of plants.

Number of Students

Minimum two but the whole team may participate.


The teams will construct a Soda Bottle Decomposition Column or a Soda Bottle Terrarium with help from adults.

 On-Line Resources

Teams will submit one entry only

Students will submit their research and observations on-line.   Photographs are required at each deadline. Late submissions are allowed but 5 points will be deducted from the score.


  • Research: 5 points

  • Pictures:  5 points

  • Construction of the device: 10 points

  • Organized presentation of the observations and data: 20 points

  • Conclusion with evidence and reasons: 30 points

Submission Dates

 October 17, 2018
A link will be provided to a Google Form that includes:

  • Intent to participate

  • Which one of the two experiments the team is going to observe 

  • Why the team selected the type of experiment (decomposition or terrarium)

  • Identify the start date of the project.

  • Photo of the team starting the project.

November 2, 2018 
A link will be provided to a Google Form that includes:

  • Research

  • Pictures of the device

  • First week observations.

December 3, 2018
A link will be provided to a Google Form that includes:

  • Observations made during the period from the start of the experiment to Dec. 3rd.

  • Organized data collection 

  • Pictures of the soda bottle.

January 11, 2019
 A link will be provided to a Google Form that includes:

  • Any additional data collected and  final observations

  • Conclusion

  • Pictures

  • Suggested improvement to your experiment

Bottle Biology email address:
NOTE: This email address is for sending photos and videos only.  Do not submit questions to this address.

If you have questions please contact the LA County Science Olympiad at this email

 Click here to download a printed copy of the Bottle Biology Event Description.