2023 Event Descriptions


Currently, there are three Science Olympiad divisions: Division A (grades 3-6); Division B (grades 6-9); and Division C (grades 9-12). The following events are for divisions B and C only. The letter in parenthesis after the subject denotes the division level. Division A competitions are held within individual schools and their districts.


Event resources can be found on the national website: www.soinc.org AND www.scioly.org


Eye Protection - make sure all teams know the categories A, B, C. https://www.soinc.org/eye_protection

  • Events in RED are new for 2023. 

  • Events in YELLOW are not MSO events, but WILL be held at Nationals.

  • Events in GREEN are MSO trial events only.  They will be replaced with other TBA events at Nationals.

Anatomy & Physiology (B/C) - This event encompasses the anatomy and physiology of selected body systems, this year is limited to the respiratory, digestive, and immune.

Astronomy (C) - Teams will demonstrate an understanding of stellar evolution in normal and stardust galaxies.


Bio Process Lab (B) - This event is a lab-oriented competition involving the fundamental science processes

​of a middle school life science/biology lab program. 

Bridges (B/C) - Teams will design and build a Bridge (Structure) meeting requirements specified in these rules to achieve the highest structural efficiency. 

Can't Judge a Powder (B) -  Students will test and characterize one pure substance and then, based only on data they collect, answer a series of questions about that substance. Students will not be asked to identify the substance. The emphasis of this event is on the quality of data collected, answering questions about the substance and providing data to support their answers.

Cell Biology (C) -  This event integrates content knowledge and process skills in the areas of cell biology and cellular biochemistry. 

Chemistry Lab (C) - Teams will demonstrate chemistry laboratory skills and answer questions related to redox reactions and periodicity.

Codebusters (B/C) - Teams will cryptanalze (decode) encrypted messages using cryptanalysis techniques and show skill with advanced ciphers by encrypting or decrypting a message.

Crave the Wave (B) - In this event competitors must demonstrate knowledge and process skills needed to solve problems and answer questions regarding all types of waves and wave motion. 


Crime Busters (B) - Teams will identify the perpetrators of a crime or crimes by using paper chromatography and analysis of unknown solids, liquids, and plastics found at the scene of a crime. 

Detector Building (C) - Students will build a durable temperature sensing device that will accurately measure and display temperatures between zero degrees Celsius to 75 degrees Celsius to determine the temperature of four different water samples.

Disease Detectives (B/C) - Students will use investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health and disability in populations or groups of people.

Dynamic Planet (B/C) - Students will use process skills to complete tasks related to freshwater systems.

Environmental Chemistry (C) - This event will focus on fresh water (e.g., residential, industrial or natural), The Clean Water Act (1972 & 1977 - certain pages specified at the end), wastewater operator's certification manual (Indiana March 2018 revision) and its applications, and various testing of particular analytes using standardized curves (either interpreted or created). 


Experimental Design (B/C) - Given a set of unknown objects, teams will design, conduct, analyze and write-up an experiment.

Forensics (C) - Students will identify polymers, solids, fibers, and other materials in a crime scenario. 

Fast Facts (B) - Teams will fill in a grid of terms that begin with a given letter to match given science categories.


Fermi Questions (C) - Teams provide answers to a series of “Fermi Questions”; science related questions that seek fast, rough estimates of a quantity, which is either difficult or impossible to measure directly.


Flight (B/C) - Prior to the tournament, teams will design, construct and test free flight rubber-powered aircraft to achieve maximum time aloft.


Forestry (B/C) - Participants will be assessed on their knowledge of trees found in the United States that are on the 2023 Official Science Olympiad National Tree List.​

Green Generation (B/C) - Students will demonstrate and understanding of general ecological principles, the history and consequences of human impact on our environment, solutions to reversing trends and sustainability concepts. 


It's About Time (C) - Teams will answer questions related to time and they may construct and bring one non-electrical device to measure time intervals between 10 and 300 seconds. 


Meteorology (B) - This event emphasizes understanding of basic meteorological principles associated with severe weather with emphasis on analysis and interpretation of meteorological data, graphs, charts and images.

Remote Sensing (C) - Participants will use remote sensing imagery, data, and computational process skills to complete tasks related to climate change processes in the Earth system.

Road Scholar (B) - Participants will answer interpretive questions that may use one or more state highway maps, USGS topographic maps, Internet-generated maps, a road atlas, or satellite/aerial images.


Rocks and Minerals (B/C) - Participants will demonstrate their knowledge of rocks and minerals.

Roller Coaster (B) - Prior to the competition, teams design, build, and test a Roller Coaster track to guide a ball/sphere that uses gravitational potential energy as its sole means of propulsion to travel as close as possible to a Target Time.


Scrambler (C) - Teams design, build, and test a mechanical device, which uses the energy from a falling mass to transport an egg along a straight track as quickly as possible and stop as close to the center of a Terminal Barrier (TB) without breaking the egg.


Solar System (B) - Students will demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of planet formation and structure in our solar system and how it relates to that observed in extrasolar systems.

Sounds of Music (B) - Teams must construct and tune one device prior to the tournament based on a 12-tone equal tempered scale and complete a written test on the physics of sound. 

Storm the Castle (B) - Prior to the competition, teams will design, construct, and calibrate a single device capable of launching projectiles onto a target and collect data regarding device parameters and performance.


Trajectory (C) - Prior to the competition, teams will design, construct, and calibrate a single device capable of launching projectiles onto a target and collect data regarding device parameters and performance

Wheeled Vehicle (B) - Teams must design, build, and test one Vehicle that uses non-metallic, elastic material as its sole means of propulsion to travel a distance as quickly and accurately as possible.


WiFi Lab (C) - Teams must construct an antenna device prior to the tournament that is designed to transmit a signal at 2.4 GHz and complete a written test on the principles of electromagnetic wave propagation.


Write It/Do It (B/C) - One participant will write a description of an object and how to build it. The other participant will attempt to construct the object from this description. 

Trial Events at MSO only:

Botany (B/C) - Participants will demonstrate their knowledge of plant life and general botany principles.


Solar Power (B/C) -  Teams must construct a collecting device prior to the tournament that is designed to collect heat and complete a written test on alternative energy concepts.