We hope that you are doing well. We know how much our elementary students look forward to the science olympiad each year and so, as a Board, we are committed to ensuring that there will be a WESO 2021. The safety and well-being of all our Olympians, Coaches, and Volunteers is one of our top priorities, and so we have made the decision to hold this year’s Science Olympiad virtually. Below we’ve listed a general overview of this year’s event. As in past years we require that a representative from each school serve as the school’s head coach.
Goal of WESO 2021
As in past years, the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad strives to create an environment which inspires students to learn and explore new scientific concepts in a fun and innovative way. We encourage teamwork and strive to emphasise learning over winning.
Because we are unable to gather in-person, this year’s events will be self-directed by students and will include a combination of hands-on activities, recorded content, and assessment. Each month, January – May will feature a theme compiled from past and current WESO events such as “Health Sciences” and “Back To Nature”. As Head Coach, you will be asked to communicate to students in your school the monthly theme schedule and collect names and contact information for participating students. On the first Saturday of each month, WESO will release a series of informational videos for students to watch and a list of hands-on learning activities. These activities will use common household items and will encourage student investigation and observation. Students will record their work and turn into the school’s head coach for credit. The Head Coach may choose how completed activities will be collected.. Photos showing the finished project will be acceptable. In order to participate, students must have access to a device, internet, and a google email. Content will be shared using the google platform and will include a combination of google slides, links to educational websites, and assessments will be given using Pear Deck. Any student grades 2-5 from a participating school may participate in this year’s WESO events. Content will be grade appropriate and students may participate in 1 or all 5 months.
Assessments will be given on the last Saturday of each month (January 30, February 27, March 27, April 24). Because Memorial Day weekend falls at the end of the month the May assessment will be given either May 22 or June 5. Tests will combine grades 2, 3 and 4, 5. The number of questions on each assessment will vary and tests for grades 2 and 3 will last approximately 20 minutes and tests for grades 4 and 5 will last approximately 30 minutes. We anticipate providing two sessions per grade group, a morning and an afternoon time, to allow students to select the time that best fits their schedule. Assessments will be given using Pear Deck (part of the google platform) and all student identifiers will be removed prior to grading.
Head Coach Responsibilities
The primary responsibility of the Head Coach will be to act as liaison between the WESO Board and students in your school. Due to this year’s virtual format and the absence of event coaches and workshop sessions, the majority of the communication between WESO and students will be sent through the Head Coach. As in past years, student anonymity is important and we will rely on you to keep track of how many students are participating each month and to relay that information to us. Parents will be required to fill out a permission form to acknowledge their child’s participation in WESO. We will collect student names and emails for tracking purposes only, and all identifiers will be removed prior to the grading of the assessment. Email address will not be recorded.
Additionally, WESO participants must comply with any internet and device-use policies determined by their school districts. It is our goal that WESO be accessible to as many students as possible. We ask that if a student needs assistance with activity supplies or forms that they contact you directly. We will work with you to ensure that the student has access to these items. We have also created this Head Coach Information Sheet https://docs.google.com/document/d/1akOZbnM0S1_ORzGTQbMDod-1Kik3ZbKw6QR_-a_wYHk/edit?usp=sharing
All students who participate will receive a WESO lanyard. In addition, upon successful completion of the month’s themed activities and assessment, students will receive a WESO pin. Additionally, individual participation will be counted toward an overall school spirit award.