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The 11th Annual
Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad
Saturday, April 20th, 2013!
Dear Coaches, Supervisors, and Key Volunteers:
By this time next week - the 2013 Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad will be completed, and we will likely be reading emails from parents, volunteers, coaches, supervisors and others with suggestions and ideas for 2014. The Board carefully reviews every email and evaluates the ideas, suggestions, and concerns highlighted by all involved parties. Many of the changes you have seen implemented in 2013 have their origin in the feedback from the 2012 WESO. We heard loud and clear from many, that there is a perceived and perhaps real advantage to participating in a team from a larger, well established WESO School. The advantage comes from having more volunteers, from having established coaching programs, and from the learning curve that comes with participating in WESO time and time again. These advantages will always exist. In 2013 our goal was to make changes and provide programs to "level the playing field" - Most notably:
(1) New Events - By adding new events and retiring old ones - every school starts fresh with at least some events. New Events, of course, create more work for the supervisors and the coaches. We really appreciate everyone's willingness to embrace our new events - we look forward to receiving feedback from the coaches, supervisors and participants.
(2) Modifying Existing Events - The most significant change came with 5th grade Water Rockets with the on-site build. The feasibility of the on-site build was carefully reviewed by several board members with an actual test study. Once we determined that the on-site build could be accomplished - the change was made to eliminate any perceived advantage a "pre-built/home-built" rocket may have.
(3) Access to Coaching Resources/Information: Board Members Jane Levy and Hedieh Briggs spearheaded our hands-on workshops in 2013. We offered workshops for the following events: Feather Friends, In Bloom, Pentathlon, Map Reading, Reflections, Circuit Wizardry, and Water Rockets workshops. All of the workshops were well attended - our plan is to expand workshops in 2014.
(4) Volunteer Advantage: Hedieh Briggs spent considerable time building a program that would help eliminate perceived conflicts of interest among schools who had volunteers in certain academic classrooms. This was raised repeatedly in emails not only in 2012 but in year past. As with anything, in order to minimize conflicts, we need to receive more specific information on each volunteer. The computer program was built to make the process easy and painless as possible. We certainly understand that the requirement for additional volunteer information, adds additional time to the coach's job. We appreciate your comments and the interest in helping us improve the process for volunteers for 2014.
As we enter our last week of planning - we want to thank all of you for your time, effort and support to the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad. We remain the largest Elementary Olympiad in the country only because of your dedication to our children's education - and let's not forget - our primary goal: to offer a fun and hands-on environment for our kids to learn about science. If we accomplished this simple goal, then we can all be sure that we made a difference in the education of our kids.
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday - we can't wait!
Best Regards, Sue Blackburn , President On behalf of the WESO Board.
OPEN EVENTS 2013
Where: Pioneer High School Cafeteria
When: April 20, 2013 from 8:30 to 4pm
•Hands-on stations in Physics, Chemistry, Math and Life Sciences
Electric powered car built by the Innovative Vehicle Design Team, Pioneer High School (in the courtyard behind the cafeteria)
Birds from the Leslie Science and Nature Center
“Exploring the Great Lakes Food Web” with the USGS Great Lakes Science Center
Human organs from the Department of Gross Anatomy, University of Michigan Medical School
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration: Great Lakes Environmental Research laboratory (NOAA GLERL): Great Lakes invasive Species
Animals from the Great Lakes Zoological Society
Fossil dig with the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (in the courtyard behind the cafeteria)
The schedule of events for the day of Olympiad is now posted. Click on the link on the left side of the page to download the xls spreadsheet.
Award Ceremonies: As in past years, there will be medals awarded for 1st through 5th place to each participating event team member.
We will not have Trophies for any overall winners for morning or afternoon. This is a change from the past.
The Awards Ceremonies are scheduled for 12-1 pm for 2nd and 3rd grades and 5-6 pm for 4th and 5th grades.
Water Rockets 5th Grade event
Friday, April 19th Build and Launch Competition
CHECK-IN: There are two build times. Please arrive at the entrance to the Pioneer Cafeteria at the time listed below for your team:
4:30 Angell, Ann Arbor Open, Bach, Burns Park, Dicken, Go Like the Wind, Honey Creek, Lawton, Logan, King, Mitchell, South Arbor Charter, Wines
· The event is scheduled to last until dusk. Please be prepared to stay until your team has completed the launch portion of the event.
· Students are welcome to bring a snack. It should be in a paper sack with the student’s name and school written on it. We will collect them at check-in and re-distribute them between the build and launch.
· Teams have up to 90 minutes to build their rockets
· All materials will be provided at the build event.
· Only student teams, Event Supervisors, and WESO-designated event volunteers are allowed in the build area. The build portion of the event is closed to observers including coaches, parents and other members of the public.
· As teams finish the build portion of the event, they will be escorted in groups to the launch area by an Event Supervisor or a designated WESO volunteer.
· The launch portion of the event is open to the public. Students are not to interact with coaches, parents, or other members of the public until their launches are finished.
· The launches are scheduled to take place on the softball fields directly behind the tennis courts to the south of the school.
· Students are expected to work as a team, without outside assistance, for the entire event. No help from parents, coaches, or other members of the public is allowed. Questions from students are to be fielded by the Event Supervisors or their designee only. Failure to abide by this rule can result in disqualification.
· Review the detailed event description posted on the WESO website for additional details.
The Board of the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad would like to offer help to teams that are new to the event or are experiencing leadership changes or difficulties. We would be pleased to meet with you in person to explain and answer questions, sharing ideas and procedures that have worked in the past. Please contact us to schedule a meeting soon. You can find information right here on the Web site. Check back often as there will be many new postings in the coming months. We can also help you with resources, such as event coaches training, recruiting outside coaches, workshops for student teams with their adult helpers, mentor parent coaches to work with your adult coaches, and materials that are necessary to learn and practice some of the events. The WESO board is interested in providing a wonderful science and team building experience to all the children in Washtenaw County. We encourage you to let us help the parents and students at your school participate fully. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
Some statistics from the 10th annual Science Olympiad:
There were officially 1621 student participants representing 25 schools. They competed in 20 different events in what is the largest Elementary Science Olympiad in the Country. Every School earned at least one Medal.
Adult volunteers that make this happen include: 9 Board Members, 28 Event Supervisors, 43 Head or Co- Head school team coaches, event coaches at each school and volunteers for the day of the Olympiad numbering about 600.
Student participants are expected to compete in tournament events with an honest effort to follow the rules and the spirit of the competition. The goal of the competition is to give one’s best effort while displaying honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. Students, coaches, parents and guests are expected to display courtesy and respect toward Olympiad officials, other teams and guests of the Olympiad. Failure to show honesty and/or courtesy by a participant, coach, parent or guest of the team may result in the disqualification of the team from the event, the entire tournament or future tournaments.
Statement of Non-discrimination
No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any educational program or activity available in any school on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, political belief, age, national origin, linguistic and language differences, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, height, weight, marital or familial status, or disability.
What this means is that you may include any student on your Science Olympiad team as long as they compete at her/his grade level. Each student counts as one team member.