Science Olympiad, a national non-profit, tax-exempt organization, was created in 1983 by Dr. Gerard J. Putz and Jack Cairns to increase interest in science and as an alternative to traditional science fairs and single-discipline tournaments. After a series of trials, Olympiads were held in the states of Michigan and Delaware. The Science Olympiad began to grow and now the Olympiad has members in all 50 states, totaling more than 13,500 actively participating K-12 schools.
WESO is an affiliate of the national Science Olympiad organization, and held its first tournament in 2002.
The WESO Tournament
Each school team will participate in various events at WESO. Students prepare for these events throughout the school year. Events have been designed to recognize a wide variety of student skills. While some events require knowledge of scientific facts and concepts, others rely on scientific processes, skills, or applications. This ensures that everyone can participate.
Most of the events involve teamwork, group planning, and cooperation. That is the real essence of the Science Olympiad. The main goal is to learn about science through active, hands-on, group participation. The Olympiad brings students, teachers, coaches, principals, business leaders, and parents together as they work towards this common goal and provides an alternative to the “isolated scientist” stereotype. Students will see that science can be fun, exciting, and challenging and the team spirit and good sportsmanship they develop will be beneficial throughout their lives.
The Science Olympiad and WESO are devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. These goals are achieved through participation in Science Olympiad tournaments and in-school and after-school activities. It is also hoped that these efforts can bring academic competition to the same level of recognition and praise that is normally reserved for athletic competitions.
Why is Science Olympiad Effective?
Research has shown that cooperation and teamwork, practice toward an objective, and learning made exciting through motivational activities are essential ingredients in attaining academic excellence. Science Olympiad is built upon cooperative learning. Science Olympiad events require the transfer of conceptual understanding to novel situations. Thus, the events exercise critical thinking skills. Science Olympiad events are designed to foster the growth of students’ knowledge and understanding of science and technology.
Benefits of Science Olympiad
The Science Olympiad provides an opportunity for students and other participants to meet and interact with peers and adults of similar interests and talents. Research conducted by Calvin W. Taylor of the University of Utah has concluded that extra-curricular training and accomplishments do show noticeable predictive power of later adult performance, achievement, and accomplishments. The Science Olympiad helps develop productive, high performing adults.
How Can You Help?
We hope you will consider being involved in this outstanding activity. The students will really enjoy it! You will find that it energizes you and them.