Tri-County Science Events

Tri-County Science and Technology Fair

Students who are in grades 5th-12th in Hillsdale, Lenawee, or Monroe County are eligible to participate in this project-based learning science competition. Using the scientific method to form a hypothesis and answer a question, students will report data and explain their project on a tri-fold display board.

The 2019 Tri-County Science and Technology Fair will take place Tuesday-Thursday, February 12-14, 2019 at Adrian College.

For more information, read the 2019 Tri-County Science and Technology Fair manual.

Registration

2019 Science Fair Registration Form

Additional Science Fair Resources

Five Easy Steps

  1. Ask a question with a Subject, an Independent Variable, and a Dependent Variable.
    1. Example: What is the effect of the amount of sunlight (IV) on the height (DV) of a sunflower (S)?
  2. Conduct background research to formulate a hypothesis.
    1. Research information about the subject of your questions.
    2. Establish "what is normal" for the dependent variable.
  3. Design and conduct an experiment, recording all data in your handwritten journal.
  4. Analyze data and make conclusions.
  5. Communicate your findings through a display board and research paper.

Creating a Winning Project

Judges look for these characteristics in a winning project:

  • All required parts of a Science Fair project are included
  • Complete data reported in clear graphs, tables, or charts
  • Analysis of data to reach conclusion
  • Correct spelling on the display and in the research paper
  • Project data journal – handwritten, contains all mistakes, spelling not judged
  • Project shows creativity and presents a new concept or a new angle on a problem.  Using a commonly researched topic, one that the judges have seen year after year, is not a good way to win awards.

Tri-County Elementary Science Olympiad

Student teams in 3rd-5th grades in Hillsdale, Lenawee, or Monroe County are eligible to participate in this science competition. The Elementary Science Olympiad encourages group learning by participation in team events, where students are challenged to think creatively to solve problems and answer questions.

The 2019 Tri-County Science Olympiad is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Siena Heights University.

Coaches meetings are scheduled for November 29, 2018 and December 4, 2018 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the William J. Ross Education Service Center, 4107 N. Adrian Hwy., Adrian, MI  49221.

Registration

2019 Science Olympiad Registration Form

2018 Science Olympiad Event Overviews

What Went By? - 3rd Grade

Description: Teams will be asked to identify and provide information about various items that might be left behind by something else in nature.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Teams will travel through stations where questions will be answered or objects identified. An example question might be, “Is this a right or left footprint placed by an animal track?”
  2. There may be animal track samples at stations.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on the total number of correct answers.

Write It, Do It - 3rd-5th Grade

Description: This event tests students’ ability to clearly communicate through writing and following written directions.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 55 minutes total

The Competition:

  1. Student 1 will be shown a creation made from an assortment of materials. The student will have 25 minutes to write a description of the creation and how to duplicate it.
  2. Student 2 will then take the written description and attempt to recreate the original creation in 20 minutes.
  3. No diagrams are allowed and no verbal or other communication allowed in passing.

Scoring: The 1st place team will be the one in which Student 2 duplicates the creation nearest to the original. A point will be given for each piece of material that is placed in the proper location. No penalty will be assessed for parts that were not assembled. Time may be used as a tiebreaker.

Michigan Birds - 3rd Grade

Description: In this event students will demonstrate their understanding of basic ecological concepts and ability to identify various birds found in Michigan.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Each team will travel from station to station where they will be required to complete the questions presented to them.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on the total number of correct answers.

Tower Trial - 3rd-5th Grade

Description: Teams will be given materials to build a tower as tall as they can. The tower must be free-standing and it must be taller than it is wide.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Each team will be given identical building materials. The materials may be drinking straws, paper clips, newspaper, spaghetti, aluminum foil, pipe cleaners, or something else. Teams will find out the materials at the start of the competition.
  2. Teams will have 15 minutes to construct the tallest tower possible. The tower may need to support an object at its highest point.
  3. Teams will inform the event coordinator when they complete their structure, who will then measure the height.
  4. The team will then place the object provided by the event coordinator on top of their tower, if required. Competition may just be the height of a tower or it may include supporting an object.
  5. The tower must be completely free standing, not attached to anything. Also, it must remain standing long enough for the height and base to be measured.

Scoring: Towers will then be ranked according to their measured height. (Tallest is first, shortest is last.) For object holding events, towers that support the object will be ranked above those that do not.

Chopper Challenge - 3rd Grade

Description: In this event teams will build 3 choppers (rotary flying devices) using only the materials provided.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Teams will release their choppers, one at a time, from the height specified by the event coordinators.
  2. Coordinators will measure and record the time required for each chopper to reach the floor. Time will continue if the chopper bounces off an object but will stop if the chopper gets stuck and stops.
  3. A chopper’s flight time will be divided by 2 if it does not rotate in the direction labeled.

Scoring: The team’s score will be the sum of the flight times for all 3 choppers. Longest total time wins. Ties will be broken by comparing each team’s single longest flight times.

Construction

  1. Teams will be provided with pencils, a ruler, and scissors.
  2. Each team will be given one sheet of 8 ½ x 11 inch construction paper and 3 large paper clips.
  3. Each chopper must be made using a single piece cut from the sheet of construction paper provided and one large paper clip. The pieces for the 3 choppers need not be the same size and shape.
  4. Each chopper must rotate in a different direction and must be labeled with the direction they are intended to rotate. The choppers may be of any design. Rotation must occur with one each doing the following: Clockwise Rotation, Counter-Clockwise Rotation, and Vertical Rotation.
  5. Teams may test their devices in the building area but may not test them from the official drop location.

STEM Challenge - 3rd-5th Grade

Description: Each team will be given a bag of mystery supplies. Teams will also receive a description of what the team is to build using the materials found in their bag.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Teams will have 16 minutes to strategize and build their device/structure.
  2. The completed device may be a freestanding structure or a device which will be used to launch something.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on how well the completed device performs a given task. The construction time may be used as a tiebreaker.

Barge Building - 3rd Grade

Description: Teams will construct a barge from a 15x15 cm piece of aluminum foil. Students will then float their barge in a tub of water. Objects (to be determined) will be loaded into the hull of the barge one at a time until the boat sinks.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. The team must predict the number of pieces of cargo that the barge will hold and record their prediction.
  2. Each team will have 10 minutes to construct their barge from the materials provided.
  3. Participants may not practice loading the barge during the building period.
  4. Under the supervision of the event coordinator, teams will load the barge with the pieces of cargo until it sinks. Loading will be done one piece at a time while the barge is floating in a pan of water. (Sinking occurs when water enters the boat.)
  5. Teams will record the actual number of pieces of cargo used on their sheet.
  6. The piece that caused the boat to sink will not count in the total cargo count.

Scoring: Total Points = (# of pieces of cargo held x 10) -- difference between predicted amount and actual amount.

Adaptation Pentathlon - 3rd-5th Grade

Description: Adaption questions will be interspersed with an obstacle course that will be run in a relay race format. The team is to be balanced with 2 or 3 boys and 2 or 3 girls. Contact me if this team configuration is a problem for your team.

Number of Participants: 4-5

Approximate Time: 5 minutes per team

The Competition:

  1. There will be one physical activity that all team members will be asked to do individually.
  2. One team member will be placed at positions Start-D. The last student completes stations E and runs to finish line.
  3. A question will be asked at each table and is be answered as rapidly as possible.
  4. Each physical activity and academic question must be completed within a minute before team members proceed to the next station.

Scoring: Total correct answers and time to complete the event will be recorded by the event coordinators. The criteria for team placement will be the total correct answers and the time to complete the pentathlon event.

Weather or Not - 4th Grade

Description: Students will test their knowledge of meteorological terms, techniques, and events.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Teams will travel through stations focused on basic weather terms and techniques. Material may include cloud charts, simple weather instruments, weather patterns, severe weather photos, etc.
  2. Questions may include states of water, water cycle, weather terminology, seasonal changes in weather, and types of severe weather watches/warnings.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on the total number of correct answers. Ties will be broken by pre-selected questions.

To Infinity & Back - 4th Grade

Description: Students will test their knowledge of facts and concepts relating to the earth, sun, moon, solar system, and constellations.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Teams will rotate through stations viewing pictures, diagrams, and other materials.
  2. Questions may focus on the planets of the solar system, how they relate to each other in size, distance from the sun, and what is unique about each one.
  3. Other topics may be the sun and the phases of the moon.
  4. Students may be asked to distinguish between the motions of rotation and revolution.
  5. Be able to identify some of the following constellations: Canis Major, Cassiopia, Gemini, Orion, Scorpius, Ursa Major, Taurus.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on the total number of correct answers. Ties will be broken by pre-selected questions.

Simple Machines - 4th Grade

Description: Teams will identify and answer questions about simple machines.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Each team will travel from station to station where they will be required to complete the questions presented to them.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on the total number of correct answers.

Lunar Landing - 4th Grade

Description: Students will create a Lunar Lander, a shock-absorbing system, to protect two “astronauts” when they land.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 40 minutes

The Competition:

  1. The challenge is to place the “astronauts” (large marshmallows) in the “cabin” and drop it from a pre-determined height without losing the 2 of them.
  2. Teams will construct a simple Lunar Lander with given materials.
  3. The cabin may not have any type of lid, covering, or roof that intersects the vertical plane of the cup rim.
  4. Teams will use the other provided supplies to cushion the astronauts’ landing and cause the astronauts to remain in their cabin.
  5. No other items may be inside the cabin with the astronaut.
  6. The astronauts may not be stuck together or stuck to the cabin.
  7. Drop heights will be increased until there is only one Lunar Lander left.

Scoring: The best design in which both “astronauts” stay in the cup at the highest drop will be the first place winner for this challenge. The drop height will be increased after each round until there is only one Lunar Lander remaining.

Super Sleuths - 5th Grade

Description: Teams will work together to solve a series of logic problems.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Students will be challenged to utilize deduction, reasoning, and problem-solving skills to solve a series of logic-type puzzles.
  2. Puzzles may require basic math skills.
  3. Puzzles may require recognition of special and time relationships (who did it, when, where).
  4. All puzzles will be distributed as a packet at the start of the event.

Scoring: Criteria for team placement will be based on the total points value of correct answers. Ties will be broken using pre-determined questions.

Ping Pong Propulsion - 5th Grade

Description: Prior to the competition, teams will design and construct a launching device according to the parameters set forth in the rules to propel ping pong balls at a target that is placed within a certain range. Adult guidance may be given but the structure should be constructed by the learners.

Number of Participants: 1-2

Approximate Time: 40 minutes

The Competition:

Launcher Instructions

  • Teams are to design, construct, and bring to the tournament a launching device. This device should be capable of accurately and consistently shooting a ping pong ball a range of distances. Launchers must be marked with the school name. THE LAUNCHER WILL BE IMPOUNDED PRIOR TO THE START OF THE TOURNAMENT.
  • The balls must be launched individually by releasing the stored energy of the elastomeric material. There are no material restrictions as to the size, weight, or restraints for the launcher. It doesn’t need to sit on the ground. Rubber bands, bungee cords, workout bands, or inner tubes are permissible. Launchers incorporating any electrical components, compressed gas, liquid, or metal springs are forbidden.
  • Teams will be given ten (10) regulation ping pong balls. Each ball will be clearly marked with their team number (assigned after registration) in two places on opposite sides using a black permanent marker. (Teams #6 and #9 will have underlined numbers.) Seven (7) balls will be white, three (3) balls will be orange. One (1) of the orange balls will have a black band drawn completely around the circumference.

Target Information

  • The target consists of a 5 gallon plastic pail with the handle removed (approx. 12 in. dia. X 14.5 in. high) placed at the center of a wading pool.
  • Launch lines will be marked on the floor at 4 to 8 meters from the center of the target. A starting line will be marked approx. 2 meters back from each launch line.
  • The distance to the target will be given to the teams before the competition begins.

Launch Instructions

  • Teams will wait with their launcher behind their assigned starting line. When they hear the Event Coordinator’s signal, all teams advance to their launch line, set up their launcher, and “commence firing at will”. No part of the launcher may extend beyond the back edge of the launching line. Back edge is defined as the edge furthest from the target.
  • A total of 5 minutes are allowed to set up and launch all 10 balls. The team decides what order in which to launch their different colored balls. The Coordinator will announce when there is one minute remaining and signal the end of 5 minutes when all launches must cease.
  • The target will be surrounded by several launch lines. The chaos of multiple simultaneous launches is part of this event. Expect to see midair collisions, unfortunate bounces, and unbelievable lucky shots.
  • Once launched, balls cannot be retrieved and shot a second time. A team begins with ten balls, and is allowed 10 shots. Misfires which release the ball count as a shot. Practice shots at the tournament are not allowed.
  • The Event Coordinator will immediately intervene if a team’s device or behavior appears unsafe for any reason.
  • No one except contestants and judges are allowed in the competition area. Eye protection is required for all team members for the entire time they are in the competition area. SAFETY GLASSES will be provided.

Scoring:

  • When the final signal sounds, the Event Coordinators will count the balls by color contained inside the target. Any ball that is outside the target at the final signal will have no value, even if it was in earlier and was somehow ejected.
  • Balls inside the pail at the target center are worth 25 points. Inside the pool but outside the pail are worth 10 points.
  • A point multiplier is applied for colored balls. Orange balls count 3 times and the orange ball with a black band counts 5 times. White balls have no multiplier.
  • The final score will be equal to the sum of the numerical scores for all shots taken within the time limit.
  • Point totals determine team placement.
  • Teams that impound their device after the deadline will be penalized 20 points. Devices which violate construction parameters will be scored in a tier below legal devices.
  • Devices judged to be unsafe by the Event Coordinators will not be allowed to launch.
  • Ties will be broken in favor of the team that scores the most points in these categories:
    • Points in the bucket
    • Points scored by colored balls
    • Total number of balls in the bucket
    • Total number of balls in the pool

No Bones About It - 5th Grade

Description: Teams will demonstrate their ability to identify bones and pictures of bones at stations. They may also be required to identify the location of the bones on the human body. Questions may also include bone function, type of joint, number of bones in human body, etc.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

The Competition:

  1. Teams will travel through stations, where questions will be answered and/or objects identified.
  2. Team members may consult with each other quietly.
  3. Only the SCIENTIFIC NAMES of the bones will be accepted as correct unless directed otherwise.

Scoring: The criteria for team placement will be based on the total number of correct answers.

Name That MI Scientist - 5th Grade

Description: Teams will take a written assessment on scientists and inventors who are/were connected to Michigan and have made contributions to science. For example: Name the automaker who founded the Ford Motor Company.

Number of Participants: 2

Approximate Time: 25 minutes

ScoringEach correct answer will be worth two points. The team with the highest score will be the 1st place team.

Sample List of Michigan Scientists and/or Inventors:

  • William Boeing
  • Robert Brainwood
  • Daniel Gerber
  • Alfred Hershey
  • Robert Jarvik
  • Sebastian Kresge
  • David Dunbar Buick
  • Paul Buza
  • Jack Lousma
  • William Hewlett
  • Forest Ray Moulton
  • Glenn T. Seaborg
  • Roger Chaffee
  • James McDivitt
  • Alfred Chase
  • Will Keith Kellogg
  • Marie Thorp
  • Charles Cooley
  • John DeLorean
  • Claude Shannon
  • John Sheehan
  • Elijah McCoy
  • Donald Keck
  • James Vernor
  • Charles Lindbergh
  • Thomas Edison
  • Henry Ford
  • David Fairchild
  • Harriett Quimby