Division A is the Science Olympiad program for Elementary aged students. Each school participating in Elementary Science Olympiad Competitive Tournaments or Fun Day/Fun Night events must make a one-time purchase of an Elementary Science Olympiad Manual. There is no national tournament or national membership fee for Division A elementary schools. Once an Elementary Science Olympiad manual is purchased, educators may initiate local, school district or regional competitions.
The 4th Annual Putnam City Schools Division A Science Olympiad Tournament was held April 9th in Oklahoma City at Putnam City High School. The tournament is the culminating activity of a year-long investigation of STEM subjects on the part of 4th and 5th grade students in the districts Gifted and Talented program. Earlier in the academic year, the district’s 18 Division A coaches met with the district’s Fine Arts and Gifted Education Coordinator Jason Memoli, Technology Integration Specialist Jeni James, and district STEM Facilitator Bob Melton to select events and guidelines from the catalog of events found in Science Olympiad’s Elementary Manual. Other events, modified from Division B guidelines were added to make this year’s offering of 17 competitive events.
The real key to the success of the tournament is the involvement of the district’s three Division C (High School) teams and their Coaches.
The Event Supervisors for each event are members of the Science Olympiad teams from Putnam City High School, Putnam City North High School, and Putnam City West High School. An adult volunteer is assigned to each venue to assist, but the high school students plan, operate, and score each event. Other high school students, most notably National Honor Society members, assist with any of the logistical aspects of the tournament, and there are many. This year’s tournament involved 375 competitors. The tournament itself attracts over 1200 spectators who spend the day watching the many events held in the gym (MagLev Cars, Straw Airplanes, Aerodynamics, and Bridge Testing), the Bottle Rocket launching outdoors, and the Egg Drop in the school’s two-story atrium.
Interested is starting a Division A program? You really should. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to get elementary-aged students involved with STEM. It can be a part of the instructional day, part of a Gifted and Talented program, a focus in an after school program, there are all kinds of options for bringing the program to fruition in your school. Tournaments can be held within the school, within the district (Putnam City’s model), or within a region.
This is great way to build excitement and awareness for your Division B and Division C teams! Not only do elementary students get to experience the excitement and challenge of Science Olympiad, but their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, (these youngsters do tend to bring a lot of interested adults with them) get exposed to Science Olympiad as well. Elementary students are in awe of the high school students and look to them as role models. The leadership exhibited by the high school Science Olympiad team members is tremendous and makes this whole arrangements win-win and very worthwhile.
Starting a Division A team is easy, just go to the Science Olympiads store at soinc.org and purchase the Division A Competition manual. One purchase, a lifetime of excited learning.