Division B Rules Manual 

Division B (Gr. 6-9) 



This Rules Manual will help you prepare to compete in Invitational, Regional, State and National Tournaments  held across the United States annually. Each Science Olympiad event has a corresponding page on the Science  Olympiad national website complete with free resources, training handouts and useful links. All users of this  manual are subject to the Terms of Use Agreement. To compete, users must first join the Science Olympiad  program in their home state and become registered members. 

See our website for info on Membership, Policies and Terms of Use at 

Division C (Grades 9-12) Membership Rules 

A team may have up to fifteen (15) members. A maximum of seven (7) 12th grade students is permitted on a  Division C team. 

Division B (Grades 6-9) Membership Rules 

A team may have up to fifteen (15) members. A maximum of five (5) 9th grade students is permitted on a  Division B team. Because middle schools that do not have grades 7, 8 or 9 are at a slight disadvantage, they  may invite any combination of up to five (5) of their last year’s 6th, 7th or 8th grade students to be part of the  team. Possible examples can be found on the Science Olympiad website. 

Students Below Grade Level Designations 

Science Olympiad encourages students to participate in the Division that matches current Science Olympiad  grade level designations. However, to support the inclusion of students who wish to participate in Science  Olympiad, schools with grade levels lower than those stated in a Division are permitted to invite members  below the grade level designations. Participation is limited to age-appropriate events (as determined by a coach,  principal or tournament director) and prohibited where safety is a concern (such as the use of chemicals). See  Team Qualifications for more information. 

Science Olympiad Team Membership 

Science Olympiad requires that all teams (up to 15 members) competing in any Science Olympiad Tournament  (Invitational, Regional, State or National) must be a member of Science Olympiad and pay the national fee  (currently $60, paid as part of the state membership). There is no exception to this requirement, regardless  of what teams from the same school are called (Varsity, JV, Alternate Team, Extra Team, Team Two, Team  B). No school, region or state Science Olympiad organization is allowed to alter or amend these national  membership requirements. Please see the Science Olympiad Copyrights and Use Statement outlining use of  Science Olympiad Rules and procedures at sanctioned tournaments.  

Find more Science Olympiad team information under the Policies section of the national website: Code of  Ethics & Rules, Scoring Guidelines, Home & Virtual Schools, Small Schools, All Stars, Copyrights and Use,  Lasers, Building Policy, Eye Protection, Significant Figures and Wristband Procedures.


Please visit to purchase 2021 print manuals, video downloads, test packets and other  event resources for Division B, Division C and Elementary Science Olympiad. Order officially licensed  Science Olympiad Kits, supplies and parts for a variety of 2021 Science Olympiad events with your  Fall Early Bird Savings: Save 12% on your Ward’s Science Olympiad Kit order at 

scienceolympiad with promo code SOVIP2020. Don’t wait! This limited-time offer ends 12/31/20.  


See General Rules, Eye Protection & other Policies on as they apply to every event. 

While the COVID-19 situation still changes daily, Science Olympiad has developed a series of models  for tournaments which will allow State Chapters to start the season with enough options and flexibility to  provide registered Science Olympiad teams with a safe and positive experience, no matter how students are  learning or how local situations evolve. These models are the result of thoughtful conversations that spanned  the entire Science Olympiad community. We would like to thank everyone for their candor, thoughtfulness,  and creativity. In the end, we feel we were able to create options that acknowledge that circumstances vary  across the US while maintaining the spirit and goals of the organization. 

In-Person, Single-Location Tournaments – The Gold Standard 

The expectation for the 2021 season is that if health conditions in your region/state allow for traditional  in-person, single-location tournaments, your State Chapter will provide that experience for teams,  qualifying them all the way through to our 2021 Science Olympiad National Tournament at Arizona State  University on May 21-22, 2021. In order to achieve this expectation, our State Chapters are ready to provide  accommodations due to local public health regulations. Additionally, participants will be asked to sign a  COVID-19 release. 

Satellite SO 

This is a new model that accounts for situations where students are physically attending school, but large  public gatherings in a single location are prohibited. A Satellite SO Tournament will take place over the  course of a few days after school with each team competing from their own school. This format requires  that Tournaments use tech tools that schools and teachers have been using these last few months like Zoom,  Google Classroom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Live that have opened up new ways to  communicate, learn and gather for events. This model presents shortfalls when compared to a traditional  tournament, especially with regard to the scope of hands-on activity, but it capitalizes on the amount of time  Science Olympiad teams are encouraged to spend in months-long preparation for competition – building,  breaking, studying, making binders, taking quizzes, and prepping log books. Teams will need to accept these  limitations willingly, understand the academic honor code will be in full force, and that they will need to  abide by a safety agreement provided by Science Olympiad, Inc. 

Mini SO 

This model accounts for situations where students are unable to physically attend school and are distance  learning from their homes by allowing some events to be run at home. Since students will be at home  without faculty supervision, no hands-on events will be allowed to run. A chart showing acceptable events  can be found online at As with Satellite SO, this model presents shortfalls when compared to a  traditional tournament, especially with regard to the scope of hands-on activity. Teams will need to accept  these limitations willingly and understand the academic honor code will be in full force. This model can be  delivered through a variety of tech platforms, via email, or even postal mail if needed.  



See General Rules, Eye Protection & other Policies on as they apply to every event. 

A Science Olympiad tournament typically consists of 23 different events, and those 23 events can be  classified into one of four event types. This information is being provided so that Science Olympiad  participants can more easily identify events that they may enjoy competing in, regardless of the event  content. Coaches can approach coaching from the perspective of event type as opposed to event content, and  teams can be aware of how the format of the tournament might affect available events. The symbol to the left  of each description has been added to the upper right-hand corner of each Event Rule to identify the event  type. 

Core Knowledge Event: An event where participants are given a set of topics  

that they are expected to research and master the factual content. Mastery  

is demonstrated at a tournament by taking a paper-pencil, station, and/or  

computer test. 

Core Knowledge Events can be run regardless of the tournament format that  

has been chosen by the State Chapter and the Tournament Director. 

Build Event: An event where participants are given some specifications about  

a device or object they are expected to design, create, and test in advance of  

the tournament. The devices or objects are often modified on site to account  

for an unknown parameter prior to testing or evaluation. 

In some cases, Build Events may or may not be run depending upon the  

format of Science Olympiad tournament being conducted. The Tournament  

Director will make these decisions to ensure safety and fairness for all teams.  

If a Build Event is not to be run at a tournament, the Tournament Director will  

notify all teams in advance of the given tournament.  

Laboratory/Hands-On Event: An event where participants are given  

a general topic in which they will be expected to deepen their content  

knowledge of the topic and associated research techniques prior to the  

tournament. At the tournament they will be assessed by the completion of a  

hands-on task, which may or may not require a written report, within a defined  


Depending upon the format of Science Olympiad Tournament being held,  

there may be some alterations to or cancellation of Lab Events. To the  

greatest extent possible, Tournament Directors will work to ensure Lab  

Events are conducted, though that may mean hands-on activities are omitted  

and participants will work with previously collected data. The Tournament  

Director will make these decisions to ensure safety and fairness for all teams.  

If a Lab Event is altered or not to be run at a tournament, the Tournament  

Director will notify all teams in advance of the given tournament.  

Hybrid Event: An event which combines elements from two or more of the  

above event types. The most common combination mixes elements of a Core  

Knowledge Event with elements of a Build or Lab Event. 

As with the previous events, Hybrid Events may be altered to fit the format of the  

Science Olympiad Tournament being held. This may mean that Lab or Build elements  of the event are modified or not conducted. The Tournament Director will make these  decisions to ensure safety and fairness for all teams. If a Hybrid Event is altered or not  to be run at a tournament, the Tournament Director will notify all teams in advance of  the given tournament. 



See General Rules, Eye Protection & other Policies on as they apply to every event. 


The goal of competition is to give one’s best effort while displaying honesty, integrity, and good sportsmanship.  Everyone is expected to display courtesy and respect – see Science Olympiad Pledges. Teams are expected to  make an honest effort to follow the rules and the spirit of the problem (not interpret the rules so they have an  unfair advantage). Failure by a participant, coach, or guest to abide by these codes, accepted safety procedures,  or rules below, may result in an assessment of penalty points or, in rare cases, disqualification by the tournament  director from the event, the tournament, or future tournaments. 

1. Actions and items (e.g., tools, notes, resources, supplies, electronics, etc.) are permitted, unless they are  explicitly excluded in the rules, are unsafe, or violate the spirit of the problem. 

2. While competing in an event, participants may not leave without the event supervisor’s approval and  must not receive any external assistance. All electronic devices capable of external communication as well  as calculator applications on multipurpose devices (e.g., laptop, phone, tablet) are not permitted unless  expressly permitted in the event rule or by an event supervisor. Cell phones, if not permitted, must be  turned off. At the discretion of the event supervisor, participants may be required to place their cell phones  in a designated location.  

3. Participants, coaches and other adults are responsible for ensuring that any applicable school or Science  Olympiad policy, law, or regulation is not broken. All Science Olympiad content such as policies,  requirements, clarifications/changes and FAQs on must be treated as if it were included in  the printed rules.  

4. All pre-built devices presented for judging must be constructed, impounded, and operated by one or more  of the 15 current team members unless stated otherwise in the rules. If a device has been removed from the  event area, appeals related to that device will not be considered. 

5. Officials are encouraged to apply the least restrictive penalty for rules infractions – see examples in the  Scoring Guidelines. Event supervisors must provide prompt notification of any penalty, disqualification or  tier ranking. 

6. State and regional tournament directors must notify teams of any site-dependent rule or other rule  modification with as much notice as possible, ideally at least 30 days prior to the tournament. 


The COVID-19 pandemic requires that some general modifications be made to the Event Rules listed  in this manual in order to permit Science Olympiad competitions to continue in a way that reflects  best public health, disease prevention, and personal safety practices. The modifications listed here  will be in effect for all Science Olympiad competitions, regardless of level (e.g., Invitational, Regional,  State, National), or type (e.g., In-Person, Satellite SO, mini SO). As the pandemic is evolves, these  modifications may be amended or rescinded according to local conditions. If changes are made, the  Tournament Director for the affected tournament will make an announcement to all participating  teams as soon as possible. 

1. If not already allowed, each individual participant can have a personal set of reference materials  (e.g., binders, single sheets of paper), calculator, or other academic resource as specified in the  specific event rule for use during the competition to facilitate social distancing, isolation, and to  prevent resource sharing. Personal sets of resource materials must meet all the criteria established  in the specific event rule. This does not apply to Recommended Lab Equipment for Division B or  Division C Chemistry Events or tool kits for Build Events. 

2. Given local conditions, participants may not be able to be in the same location as their partner  during competition. Tournaments will allow designated partners to compete from separate  locations and competing teams will only need one device for Build or Hybrid with Build Events. 

3. At the discretion of the Tournament Director, portions of Hybrid Events containing hands-on  activities as well as Build and Lab Events may be dropped from the tournament or be conducted as  trial events. 

4. At the discretion of the Tournament Director and Event Supervisors, completion time may be used  as a tiebreaker for Core Knowledge and other events where a written or online test is used.