Texas Science Olympiad
State-wide tournament featuring a series of individual and team events for students grades 6-12
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22, 2017
1:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 7, 2016
10 a.m., Thursday, January 05, 2017
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Teams & Coaches
(read this stuff first)
(compete here to qualify for state)
(practice here before regional competitions)
State Tournament Information:
(Texas A&M University, College Station)
- State Tournament Events
- Eligible Teams for State Tournament
- Forms & Deadlines for State Tournament
- Clarifications for State Tournament Events
- State Schedule - Division B (Middle School)
- State Schedule - Division C (High School)
- State Event Time-Slot Sign Up System
- State Travel and Accommodations
- State Tournament General Information
- State Tournament Frequently Asked Questions
If paying by check, payments submitted without documentation will be RETURNED to sender. Documentation (invoice, registration confirmation, etc.) MUST accompany payment if by mail/check.
A link will be provided on the generated reciept of your registration to pay by credit card.
Purchase Orders (PO's) are NOT accepted!
*A $30 fee will be charged for all returned checks and credit cards.
Absolutely NO REFUNDS!
Clarifications for TSO state tournament
All clarifications for events will be posted here by 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 12, 2017; Roller Coaster (B & C Division) clarification and sample score sheet posted at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, April 13, 2017
2017 Texas Science Olympiad:
- Is limited to 15 team members
- Unless otherwise stated, it is generally understood that if notes, resources, calculators, actions, etc., are not specifically permitted in the rules or clarification, then they are not allowed.
National Clarifications http://www.soinc.org/official_rules_clarif
All LAB Events — "Visor goggles will NOT be allowed in any lab event." Below is a picture of the goggle that will be allowed (pictured below): indirect vent chemical splash goggles.
Anatomy & Physiology (B & C Division) — Any image or other note attached to the allowed notepage must be adhered on all sides. No edge or corner to be able to be lifted off the notepage.
Bottle Rockets (B Division) —
Question: Rule 3h states, "Rockets must not change shape or deploy any type of recovery system during launch or flight." May fins be attached to the bottles with "hinges" allowing the fins to move/change orientation?
Clarification: Refer to lines 3b of the rules handbook. "Only tape may be used to attach the fins and other components to the pressure vessel."
Fast Facts (B Division) —
1. Question: There are several categories that need the category name in the answer to be complete (ex. if the category is Acids, "sulfuric acid" is a complete answer while "sulfuric" alone is not complete). In those cases, can the name of the category be included in the answer?
Rule 3E states that "Names of the categories must not be used in the answer." Our interpretation is that the name cannot be used anywhere in the answer. For instance, if the category were ACIDS, a correct answer would be “Sulfuric”, while an incorrect answer would be “Sulfuric Acid”
2. Question: If a category is general, such as "Tree", could a student answer with parts of a tree, as well as names of tree species?
In this case, parts of a tree would be appropriate. Therefore, if the category was “Tree”, a correct answer would be “Branch”. However, it is unlikely that a category will be that vaguely specified. It is more likely that the category name would be more specific, such “Tree Species”.
3. Question: "Names of the categories must not be used in the answer." There are several categories that need the category name in the answer to be complete (ex. if the category is Tree, can the answer be “Toothache Tree”?). In those cases, can the name of the category be included in the answer?
The rule is pretty clear that names of the categories cannot be used in the answers. If the category is tree then Toothache would be correct and Toothache tree would be incorrect. I realize this may seem silly but the rule is very clear. The students should be coached to not use the category name.
Hovercraft (B & C Division) —
Question: Should the weight of the hovercraft be measured before each run, with the run that is used for scoring also used for selecting the scored weight of the hovercraft? Weighing at impound, or before competitors take off or put on weights to hit the target time, does not seem to be in the spirit of the event. Since the weight is half of the score of the actual run, it's a crucial data point. However, the time at which the weight should be measured is not specified in the rules.
Clarification: We will weigh the device just before the first run and again if the weight is changed during the event.
Mission Possible (B Division) —
Question: If a lever is present but not directly before or after a scoreable transfer, is it scored or not?
Clarification: The lever must be the first machine of the transfer in order to count for points (e.g. Lever 1st class -> Pulley). Devices present in the machine but not used in a scoreable transfer do not count for points.
Rocks & Minerals (B & C Division) — The event parameters specifically state that each team may bring a magnifying glass and one 3-ring binder (any size) containing pages of information in any form from any source. This will be interpreted to mean, NO loose field guides of any type. If a team wishes to copy the field guide (sometimes copyrights prohibit this), and put it in a 3-ring binder, that would fit the rules.
Roller Coaster (B & C Division) —
Question: What happens if the vehicle leaves the track without crossing the finish line? Clarification: The vehicle would receive a time score, but will be placed in Tier 2 because of a competition violation according to 6f-ii. Likewise if the vehicle stops moving for 3 seconds (when timing stops). HOWEVER, though it is a "successful time run" for a timing score that falls into tier 2, they could still make adjustments and make a successful run with a successful time score within the 8 minutes. But if they don't, they will remain in Tier 2.
Question: The rules says that it has to be a spherical vehicle, but it says that no other form of energy may be used or stored, such as elastic, electrical, magnetic, or any other forms of energy including such forms of energy in the vehicle itself (such as elastic). So I'm not entirely sure if a bouncy ball would be allowed as a vehicle? Clarification: In the case of a bouncy ball, keep in mind that no form of elastic energy is permitted. Even glass marbles have elastic energy. They bounce better than bouncy balls on super hard stone or steel surfaces.
Clarification: After retrieving their roller coaster from impound, the 8 minutes begins. (rule 5c & 5h) Then any successful run is an official time. No practice runs allowed. Teams can verify that their track is shimmed correctly for the marble to roll without rolling backward, but cannot practice to meet the target time. And, timing devices are not allowed in the competition area after impound.
5c.”complete up to two runs” (Only up to two successful runs and no more).
In addition, we will not tell any team their run time until after both successful runs. (In other words, calibrate before the event, don’t plan on guessing.)
**** everything below here for Roller Coaster posted 1:30 p.m., April 13, 2017***
Sample Score Sheet
4b. clarification: The tracks must fit within the area defined by vertically extending the boundary of the base and within 100.0 cm above the top of the base. If the base is tilted (in a slope), the height will be measured from the lowest part of the top side of the base to the highest point of the structure.
1) Is Height always rounded up to the nearest cm? i.e. 8.1 cm will be considered 9 cm?
I have always rounded height to the nearest cm up. (6b)
3. The top is the top of any part of the device or supporting structure. As judges we do not know if the “support structure” could be used to make a track adjustment when we give them a target time.
4. After retrieving their roller coaster from impound, the 8 minutes begins. (rule 5c & 5h) Then any successful run is an official time. No practice runs allowed. They should have already practiced and made adjustment marks prior to the competition. No timing devices allowed after impound..
2) Can the base be just the floor? Can the tracks be supported by pillars on one side and floor on the other side?
The floor cannot be the base, because cutting the floor to 80 cm x 80 cm will not be allowed, nor making it less than 6cm thick.
Can you help me further define a "completed" or "successful" run then? The definition of a failed run in competition rule i talks only of the 2nd run not starting within 8 min or starting before time can be measured...rule f talks about if the marble does not move upon activation then it is not a run. I would think by that logic if the marble moves then it is a run no matter if it falls off track or stops or crosses finish line and that you only get 2 attempts not multiple.
I have always had the thinking that crossing the finish line was a completed or successful run. But since you asked, I searched for "finish" and found it in 3a, 4g, 4h, 5d, 5g, and 7.
3a: so that the vehicle chosen by the team for a run will travel from a Starting Point to a Finish Line as close to a Target Time as possible
4g: There must be exactly one clearly labeled Finish Line running perpendicular to the direction of vehicle travel on the track. The Finish Line position may be adjusted between runs.
4h: A mechanism that safely stops the vehicle must be part of the Roller Coaster after the Finish Line.
5d: Teams may make adjustments to their Roller Coaster (e.g. level the Roller Coasters, move the Finish Line, etc.) before each run.
5g: Timing begins on the word "Go" and ends when any of the following happens:
The front of the vehicle crosses the finish line
i. 1 minute has elapsed since the word "Go"
ii. The vehicle travels outside the base perimeter
iii. The vehicle stops moving. A vehicle may pause briefly, but if movement is not begun within 3 seconds, timing is stopped and 3 seconds are subtracted from the run time.
Although 3a describes the vehicle traveling to the finish line, it does not say it HAS TO cross the finish line. The only rule that implies a completed run is 5g, which says that timing ends when the vehicle does one of 3 things: uses more than 1 minute, travels outside the base, or stops moving for 3 seconds. Any of those would create a time score, which would qualify as a “successful run”.
The only other thing to note is that 5i describes a failed run: A Failed Run occurs if the second run does not occur in the 8 minutes or if the time cannot be measured (e.g. it starts before the ES is ready).
Thanks for pushing me to completely research this concept. I was assuming a finish line.
We should post the score sheet on the TAMU website so competitors could use it to determine their potential scores and possible improvements.
The idea is that they should know their device and how to set up start & stop places to meet the target time. If they have to make a practice run to make the adjustments, then they do not know and are trying to meet the target time based on practice trials: 5c. Competition says, "After retrieving their device from the Impound Area, teams must be given 8 minutes to set up their Roller Coaster and complete up to two runs. All runs will be completed with the Roller Coaster resting on the ground and students are responsible for leveling their Roller Coaster to account for the floor. Time used by the ES for measuring must not be included in the 8 minutes. Roller Coasters in the ready-to-run configuration before the end of the 8-minute time period will be allowed to complete a run."
According to 5c, when they retrieve their device from the impound area, the target time is given them, they have 8 minutes to adjust the start/stop places, adjust the track, level it, and anything else to complete “up to”, NOT “at least” 2 successful runs. See 3a, Event Parameters.
I did not state this carefully at the clinic. We were concentrating on whether more than 2 attempts at “successful runs” could be made if some of the attempts were not successful. (Yes, more than 2 attempts can be made to attain successful runs if the attempts are not successful.) (But, any attempt that is successful is a run, not a practice. There are no practices. The 8 minutes starts after retrieving their device from impound.)
(1) If a device is built on a board that is around 80 cm x 80 cm, but that board is placed on supporting legs (not a true base, just legs that provide support beneath the roller coaster) that extend out beyond the 80 cm roller coaster (82.5 cm).is that ok? These legs were used for leveling and had screws in them to adjust the device. I think the rules wording around the “base” can be confusing.
(2) If the wood used for the tracks was a bit thick (say 1”), and as a result, some of the wood that was not part of the actual track, but of the thick wood below the track, stuck out beyond the 80 cm perimeter, would this fit within specifications, or be considered a construction violation?
(3) There was some contention during the event about cases on the “low and slow” roller coaster when the ball falls between tracks. In this model, as you know, the track angles down in one direction, then there is a gap where the marble falls into track angled the other direction. Typically there is a “wall” or some method of backstop to prevent the ball from falling off the device in each of these transitions. There were cases where the marble would fall into the corner, and then bounce up a bit and thus, in a very technical sense, travel over the same part of the track twice. This is not a case where the marble intentionally used the same track more than once, but just that when it unpredictably bounces in the corner, it may bounce up and retrace a small portion as it bounces, like 1 cm or less. My question is in these cases does that violate the “not travel on a track more than once” rule or not?
1) Anything holding up the device is part of the base or part of the track and cannot exceed the 80 cm. It was a violation.
2) Similar comment. Fix it.
3) When a marble turns a corner, it should be like a roller coaster and turning fast with people experiencing heavy G force, but not slamming into a wall and rolling backwards where it came from. So it shouldn’t travel over any part of the track more than once, even if it is “unintentional.”
(1)During the 8 minutes that teams have to complete their two runs, should they be permitted to execute practice runs? Or must they only adjust / balance / calibrate their devices but then complete only the two official runs with no practices?
(2)For the Finish Line, must the finish line be underneath the track, or can it just be above it. For example, can a banner / flag placed above the track and is that OK, or must it be underneath the track so that the vehicle passes over it?
(3)For Gaps: The rule states the following: “Gaps must have a horizontal span of at least 5.0 cm where the vehicle travels completely unsupported and without track underneath to earn bonus points.” I believe that the spirit of this rule is that the track can’t be underneath where the vehicle will fly so that you can measure “to where it lands”. Instead, the measurement is only the actual gap between tracks. However, this rule could possibly be interpreted to mean that there can be no track under the jump, even on a lower level of the roller coaster. For example, imagine a design where there was a jump up high, and then later the vehicle passes under the path of the jump lower down on the roller coaster track. My question is whether this type of design is legal or if it would be penalized or measured only to the track on the lower level?
1. No practice runs.
2. The finish line simply needs to be clearly marked for the timers to see as the marble passes it. Over/under/on it/or sideways of it.
3. One part of the track can be directly underneath another part if there is enough distance between them to retrieve the vehicle perpendicularly (4c) by hand on every point of the track and if the vehicle does not travel on any part of the track more than once. (4f)
Science Word (B Division) —
Question: If a word is said in conjunction with another word, does this count as a correct answer? For example, if the word is "period" and the student guesses "Jurassic Period," would this statement be counted as a correct answer? Or does the clue giver need to try again and get the guesser to say "period" alone?
Clarification: If the science word is "period" and the guesser responds "Jurassic Period", that would be an incorrect answer. The person giving the clue could say something like "less specific" to help his/her partner guess the correct answer.
Scrambler (B Division) —
Question: What happens when a vehicle goes over the side boundary lines?
Clarification: Rule 5.k: ETVs that leave the track boundary (i.e. touch or pass over the Track Width Lines) will incur a competition violation penalty of 1000 points. This penalty only applies to the run in which the violation occurred. E.g. If the ETV passes over the Track Width Lines on Run 1, but not on Run 2, only Run 1 will incur a penalty of 1000 points.
Texas Wildflowers (B Division) — rules update on 11-14-2016 with a new taxa list - download here.
Wright Stuff (B Division) — The ceiling height is 10 feet. The Brazos Center
Question: Rule 3(g) states, "The airplane(s) must be labeled in such a way as to be easily identified by the event supervisor." Should the labeling include the team name, the team number for that tournament, or both? Clarification: For the Wright Stuff we need the team name clearly labeled. The team number is optional.