Greene SciOly Club
Greene SciOly (Science Olympiad) is a competition-based STEM club run at Greene Middle School by members of Paly’s award-winning SciOly Club. In 2022-23, we had 3 teams of 15 students preparing for competitions across 23 events in the Santa Clara Regional Science Olympiad in March. Another 3 teams of 5 prepared for competition in the California South/West Bay Area Regional Middle School Science Bowl in February. In April 2023, Greene came in 5th at the Northern California State Finals for Science Olympiad.
Who Should Join?
Self-motivated students who love science, work well with others, and are willing to put in extra time to learn and work with team members after school. Best suited for students who thrive on competition.
Is there a Placement Test/Tryouts?
Yes, prospective and returning club members will be tested in September for current science and engineering skills as well as potential to learn. Test results will be used for event and team placement. Please refer to the tryouts tab for more information.
What's Science Olympiad?
Science Olympiad (aka SciOly) is a team-based STEM competition where teams of 15 students compete with other teams across 23 events listed below. There are usually 2 students per event, and each student participates in 3-4 events.
Science Olympiad 2024 Events
Air Trajectory - Teams design and build device that converts the gravitational energy of the mass to air pressure or movement, which is used to launch a projectile.
Anatomy and Physiology – Teams will be assessed on their understanding of the anatomy and physiology of cardiovascular, lymphatic and excretory systems.
Can't Judge A Powder – Teams perform a series of tests on an unknown powder in this chemistry lab event to collect as many observations about it as possible.
Codebusters – Teams work together to decode a series of encrypted messages which are encoded in ciphers such as aristocrat, caesar, and hill.
Crime Busters – Given a scenario, a collection of evidence, and possible suspects, teams will perform a series of tests. The test results along with other evidence will be used to solve a crime.
Disease Detectives - Teams will use their investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health, and disability in populations or groups of people.
Dynamic Planet - Teams will use process skills to complete tasks related to Earth's fresh water sources and long-term climate change.
Ecology – Teams are tested on how living things (biotic factors) interact with their non-living environment (abiotic factors).
Experimental Design – This event will determine a team’s ability to design, conduct, and report the findings of an experiment actually conducted on site.
Fast Facts - Teams will answer questions on different science topics in fast paced rounds with parameters on the answers.
Flight - Teams build a plane powered by a twisted rubber band to stay in the air for as long as possible.
Forestry – Teams demonstrate their knowledge of trees and forests by answering general questions about the trees on a given list of species.
Fossils - Teams identify various fossilized animals and plants, provide details about these organisms such as environment, mode of life, etc., and answer questions on general paleontology.
Meteorology – This event emphasizes understanding of basic meteorological principles with emphasis on analysis and interpretation of meteorological data, graphs, charts, and images related to Everyday Weather.
Microbe Mission – Teams will answer questions, solve problems, and analyze data pertaining to microbes and microscopes.
Optics – Teams are tested on their knowledge of geometric and physical optics.
Reach for the Stars – Teams will demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of stars, constellations, and deep sky objects.
Road Scholar – Teams 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.
Roller Coaster – Prior to the competition, teams design, build, and test a roller coaster track to guide a vehicle that uses gravitational potential energy as its sole means of propulsion to travel as close as possible to a target time, while minimizing the height of the vehicle with bonuses for gaps.
Tower – Teams must design and build an efficient lightweight tower that fits within the construction parameters to hold a designated amount of weight.
Wheeled Vehicle - Participants build a vehicle that is powered by an elastic solid device to travel a given distance around an obstacle as quickly as possible.
Wind Power - Teams design and build a device that can turn wind into energy and answer questions relating to alternative energy.
Write It/Do It – One student will write a description of an object and how to build it, and then the other student will attempt to construct the object from this description.
How are SciOly Tournaments scored?
Event scores are ranked by team, then scores from each event are added to get the team score, less is better. Usually top five event teams are given medals and top 3 teams are awarded trophies. Top 4 schools in the Santa Clara Regional Science Olympiad get to compete in the Northern California State Science Olympiad in mid-April.
Scores for the 2023 Santa Clara Regional Science Olympiad can be found here.
In-person tournaments are full day events where all 15 team members attend but compete at different times, capped by an awards ceremony. Virtual tournaments, introduced during COVID, vary from a single day to several afternoons over a week.
Paly student-mentors are great because many have been through the middle school experience. However, they're also get busy preparing for their own events before tournaments. Parent volunteers help pick up the slack when Paly students aren't available. Help is needed in the following areas:
Coaching: Parents with subject matter expertise or project management experience are welcome. It can be convenient to coach your own child, but sometimes more effective and educational to coach others. Expect 1-2 hours a week time commitment.
Logistics: Many engineering events require space for building and testing, which need advance reservations. Full day tournaments require transportation, food and photography.
What's Science Bowl?
Science Bowl is a fast-paced competition where 5-person teams face-off against each other answering short questions in physical science, life science, math, energy, and earth and space science.
A full description and history can be found here, and an example competition can be seen below:
What was the Club Time Commitment in 2021-2022?
Club meetings every Friday from 2:15-3:15pm throughout the school year
Self-arranged partner study/work meetings (1-2 hours/week/event) which increase in frequency before competitions.
Nine Science Olympiad Tournaments on 11/6/21, 12/11/21, 1/8/22, 1/15/22, 1/30/22, 2/12/22, 3/5/22, 4/2/22, 4/15/22
Club meetings every Friday from 4-5pm September through February.
One Science Bowl Tournament on 2/26/22