Monday, June 5, 2017

Lost and Found

Lost and Found from the June 3 WESO Tournament:

Wide black or charcoal wrap/scarf
Girls size M 7/8 Purple hoodie with silver hearts
Girls size 7/8 pink-ish sweatpants
Girls size 10 top "Heart Dance Heart"
Purple plastic pencil box with giant eraser and mechanical pencil.

Write to claim.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Friday Water Rocket Build

Q:  Will there be a hole punch? Used for cutting holes in parachute?

A:  Yes. There will hole punches and plastic stick-on eyelets for parachute holes.

Q:  Can the kids bring a list of dimensions with them Friday night? Or are they required to memorize the size dimensions of each piece of the rocket?
-          Fin length
-          Parachute diameter
-          Line lengths

A:  No materials, notes, or reference sheets may be brought into the event.

Q:  The study guide gives Mach 1 as being 660 mph, but this is only at 35,000ft above sea level. Do the kids have to know that the speed of sound varies by pressure/altitude?
(for example, at sea level, it is ~760mph)

A:  It is not necessary to get that detailed.

Water Rockets3/4 awards Ceremony

Water Rockets results and medals for the 3/4 team will be announced at the 4th grade award ceremony.  The ceremony begins at 5:00 pm.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Further Clarification, Testing situation, No Bones

Questioning further:
Regarding the test instructions, it states to move on the next question/station if you do not know the answer - does that mean that students may move to the next station prior to the bell ringing?  Likewise, can they move onto the stations prior to the 10 minutes of the written portion?  Also, if they revisit a station, how much time will they have at that station?  The instructions state that the exam can be separated and worked on in sections, can the teams divide and have each person go to a different station?

Regarding the sample questions:

Arrow D in question 1 looks like it could be pointing to the metatarsals instead of the phalanges.  I can see how that might cause some confusion for 2nd and 3rd graders since metatarsal is not an answer choice.  Will the pictures on the exam be clear for the young children to discern to where the arrows are pointing? 

Question 3 has the statement "The clavicle is also known as the collar bone"  Based on the coaches meeting and various blog answers, it seemed that the students need to know the scientific names of all of the bones.  This statement requires them to also know the common names of the bones as well.  Do they need to know common names?  If so, what common names are they expected to know?

Question 4 states, "Phalanges are the bones that make up"  The answer listed is hands and feet.  I can see the kids answering fingers and toes since the metacarpals, metatarsals, carpals, and tarsals also make up the hands and feet.  Will it be clear on the exam for the second and third graders to determine what answer is being sought?

Question 5 states, " Name the 5 parts of the axial skeleton"  The answer listed is skull, hyoid bone, vertebrae, sternum, ribs.  The answer is missing the ear ossicles, I can imagine that the kids would likely answer, skull, rib cage (which includes sternum and ribs), vertebral column, hyoid, and ossicles.  Will it be clear on the exam what answer is being sought?

Question 7 states, "Which bone protects the brain?"  While the answer is cranium, I can see how this question might confuse the kids since the cranium is several cranial bones not a single bone.  Therefore, they might think that there is one specific bone that protects the brain and pick a different answer thinking that they haven't learned the specific name of the specific bone that protects the brain.  Similarly, one of the potential answers to name a flat bone is "skull."  The skull consists of cranial and facial bones, some of which are flat and some of which are irregular.  Will it be clear on the exam, when the question is looking for a specific bone or looking for a group of bones as an answer?

In regard to the slide on the study guide referring to commonly broken bones, the slide primarily refers to body parts (arm) or joint names (hip, wrist, ankle).  Usually, broken hip refers to femur, wrist to radius and ulna, and ankle to tibia and fibula.  Will the students be expected to answer the common names as on the slide or the scientific names?

In regard to a previous blog answer that students may need to know parts of a long bone, will they need to know the terms diaphysis, epiphysis and metaphysis?


The supervisors will direct the movement of teams to and between stations. Each team will be allotted the same time at each station. Teams that interfere with or attempt to distract another team will be penalized and may be disqualified.

Teams should select the best answer from the possible options for multiple choice, true/false, and matching questions. They should provide full and complete answers to fill-in-the-blank questions being careful not to add incorrect information to an otherwise correct answer. Any arrows will be pointed specifically to the bones we want identified.

Students are responsible for knowing only the bones in the Study Guide. As a reminder, they are expected to know the scientific names of the bones and to be familiar with the common names. In addition, as noted in previous blog answers, the students may need to be familiar with the different parts of long bones.

The No Bones About It Supervisors

Saturday, May 27, 2017

WESO 2017 General Information (repeat)

This is a repeat posting from a few weeks ago. It is important that every parent and coach read this and understand what will happen next week at Pioneer High School, especially for those joining the tournament for the first time.

Head Coaches have also received information about name tags, food donations, raffle baskets, and other event-day happenings.

A link to the website with this content is here. You can download a PDF of this information here.

The entire content of the web page is copied below for your convenience.

2017 Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad Tournament
Guide for Parents and Coaches


Pioneer High School
601 W. Stadium Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI

June 3, 2017
8:00 am - 9:00 pm

Pioneer High School is located at 601 W Stadium Blvd in Ann Arbor. Click here for a map. There is construction on Main St. and Stadium Blvd, so plan your drive accordingly.

Doors open at 7:15 a.m. 

The primary parking lot is next to S. Main Street. Please do not park in “drop off” areas or circular drives, as this will block fire lanes.  Respect handicap spaces. Parking can be challenging with such a large group gathering. Plan extra time and come with patience and courtesy in mind.

School Tables
Each school will have a designated table in the main cafeteria.  This should be the first place families go when they arrive at Pioneer. The cafeteria is not large enough to provide seating for everyone. Additional seating is available outside the main gym and there are a few picnic tables in the courtyard adjacent to the cafeteria. 

T-shirts and Identification

All team members should wear their school’s t-shirt and have a name tag that identifies them by first name, grade level, and the names and start/end times for each event they are participating in. A template of this name tag has been sent to Head Coaches via the Google Group.

Name tags for students who do not wish to be photographed should have a red dot on them that will be visible to photographers.

WESO Board Members
All Board members will be wearing multi-colored tie-dye t-shirts and lanyards with nametags. There is usually a Board member in the gym area, another in the cafeteria, and one in the academic hallway. If you can’t find one of us, visit the Volunteer Check-in table outside the cafeteria, and they will help you locate someone.

Supervisors and Key Volunteers
Supervisors of events and key areas of the tournament will be wearing two-tone purple tie-dye t-shirts. These volunteers have undergone training, and some have multiple years’ of experience, so they are ready to assist you and help the tournament run efficiently.


We are anticipating thousands of students, parents, and coaches, and need everyone's cooperation to maintain safety and security throughout the building.

Many areas of Pioneer are off limits to WESO participants and guests. Please stay out of any areas that have “Caution” tape or are marked “Do Not Enter.” Do not open any locked exterior doors, and do not go beneath the bleachers in the large gym.

Parents and coaches may not accompany students into the academic hallways, that is, the hallways past the Academic check-in table.

Running and rough play in the building is prohibited. Pioneer’s campus is vast – burn off that extra energy outside!

Call 911 in case of a life-threatening medical emergency.

First Aid kits are available at the Volunteer Check-in table and the Academic Check-in table. AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are available at various locations in the school. Check the maps in the hallways for locations, or ask a Supervisor or Board member.


Volunteers should check in at the Volunteer Check-in Table (located outside the cafeteria) 10 minutes before their assigned time. You will need to wear a special nametag if you are working at an academic event or in the academic wing; for safety reasons, only adult volunteers are allowed in the academic event hallways.

Email reminders with information about volunteer shifts will be sent to Head Coaches. Some reminders may also be sent directly to volunteers, for example, volunteers who will be asked to work outdoors, so they can prepare accordingly.

Supervisors and Key Volunteers: Supervisors and Key Volunteers have been recruited from WESO schools and given special training to help run certain areas of the tournament. They can be found at several areas of the building, including Open Events, Volunteer Check-in, and Academic Check-in. They will be wearing purple tie-dye t-shirts and will have a nametag that says “Supervisor”. Feel free to ask them for help and advice as you navigate the building and the tournament schedule. Please respect their requests for avoiding restricted areas of the building or resolving issues that may occur.


Food & Drinks: Sale of food is the primary fundraiser for WESO. Please purchase items that are available if possible, and refrain from bringing in your own food. Pizza, beverages, and baked goods will be available for purchase. Food and beverage items will cost $1.00 or $2.00.

Each school is asked to bring two dozen baked treats, individually wrapped. All items must be nut free. Don’t bring fruit – WESO will provide fruit. Beverages and pizza will be available as well.

Consumption of all food and drinks will be limited to the cafeteria or outdoors. This rule will be strictly enforced.

Schools should drop off donated baked goods or food at the cafeteria early Saturday morning.
Raffle: There will be a variety of gift baskets for raffle during the tournament. Please participate and purchase some tickets! WESO relies on raffle ticket sales to support the tournament.

Donated raffle baskets should be dropped off in the cafeteria on Friday evening. Please be sure to submit a list of items in the basket along with the name of the school.

Open Events: Located in the Cafeteria Annex, near the clock tower (Stadium Blvd) entrance. We will have exploratory stations in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math, Technology and more, as well as representatives from a variety of local groups.

All children (WESO participants, siblings, friends, etc.) are welcome to participate in Open Events. We hope the students find the events fun and informative.

Academic Event Check-in
For the majority of events, the check-in will be on the first floor, in the classroom section of the building. Ask your Head Coach or consult a map for directions. Exceptions are Water Rockets and On Target (see below for check-in locations for these).
Student teams should arrive at Academic Check-in 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled event start time.
Check in your whole team at once if possible. In order to avoid a large crowd at the check-in station, please designate one adult to escort your team to the area. Once the students have been dropped off, this person should leave the area.

A sign near the check-in table will tell you where your Olympians will return when finished with their event. Students may check themselves in without an adult if they wish.

For safety reasons, we cannot allow anyone who is not participating in an academic event, or actively volunteering, to enter the Academic hallways. This means that parents and coaches will not accompany students to their events. There are many adult volunteers and trained Supervisors to help your students get where they are going. There will be signs and volunteers to help you identify public and off-limits areas of the school. Your cooperation is expected and appreciated.

Back-to-Back Events
Students who have back-to-back events in the academic area should identify themselves at check-in. They will be given a sticker that indicates they have a back-to-back event. Volunteers in the hallways will ensure they get where they are going.

Students with events that are back-to-back with On Target or Water Rockets will need to plan for extra travel time. Volunteers will NOT escort students to or from On Target or Water Rockets – a parent or coach will need to escort the student. Ask for help at the Academic Check-in table if you are not sure how to proceed, or how to get from one location to another.

On Target Check-in
On Target takes place in the small gym, and that’s where you’ll check in. Spectators are welcome.

Water Rockets Check-in
Check in directly at the practice lacrosse field, located far behind the tennis courts and softball diamond. This is a long walk from the building so allow yourself plenty of time!  The most direct path is to exit the school at the rear of the cafeteria. Signs will guide you from there to the Water Rockets location.

Awards Ceremonies

Award ceremonies will be held in the large gym. The times are
11:00 a.m. (2nd grade)
2:00 p.m. (3rd grade)
5:00 p.m. (4th grade)
8 p.m. (5th grade)

Banner Parade
Awards ceremonies begin with a banner parade. Please assign only two Olympians to carry your school banner. Have those students at the large gym 15 minutes before the start of the award ceremony so we can order them alphabetically by school.

Medals will be presented to 1st – 5th place finishers for each event in each grade, plus 4 honorable mentions. Each participating student will receive a medal if his/her team places.

Teams to receive medals for an event will be called to the stage, and medal placements will be announced starting with honorable mentions, then places 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.

Students and parents are expected to exhibit outstanding sportsmanship during awards ceremonies, including listening to speakers, being respectful of each other, and celebrating the accomplishments of all schools, not just their own. Medals are an important part of WESO, but our ceremonies are designed primarily to celebrate science education and the progress all of our students have made in learning new and exciting STEM topics.

It can get very loud in the gym at times, which makes it difficult to hear the speakers. You and your students can help this by listening quietly when someone is speaking and keeping noise to a minimum. Coaches and parents, it is up to you to monitor your students.

Miscellaneous Topics

WESO is supported by numerous local sponsors, without whom the tournament would not be possible. Sponsors have given grants, provided volunteers, prepared and taught workshops, or made other contributions of their time and talent. Take a moment to check out the “Thank you!” posters in the hallways and thank our sponsors if you get a chance.  Where possible, please support the local businesses that support WESO.

Representatives of sponsor companies will help distribute medals at the ceremonies.

Concerns or questions about an event
Any concerns or questions regarding a specific event should be brought to your head coaches first. Head coaches may then submit concerns at the Volunteer Check-in desk and an appropriate WESO Board member will be contacted. Please remember that supervisors have authority over scoring their events, including resolving ties. They will answer questions from student participants before the event begins. If you (parent or coach) have a concern, do not disrupt an event. Take your concern to your head coach who should direct it to a WESO Board member.

All other concerns may be brought directly to any of the Board members or to the Volunteer Check-in table.

Building Security
WESO employs security guards to monitor the building during the tournament. If you have a security concern, please contact a Board member or a security guard.  Board members have walkie-talkies and cell phone numbers for the security guards.

There is a public WiFi connection in the school, but due to the large number of people who will be there during the day, do not expect fast connections. WESO is not responsible for the WiFi, and cannot help with connection or device problems.

Final Thoughts

As you and your Olympian participate at WESO, don’t forget that everyone who is working hard to make this possible is a volunteer, including you.

Thank you for all you’ve done to put STEM education front and center in Washtenaw County!

Best wishes to all the teams!

Thursday, May 25, 2017


In the event description, it was stated "Teams will have approximately 90 seconds (1 1/2 minutes) for each question. They will be asked to move to another station after 90 seconds." and "Teams can move to another station if they are done with their question and if the station they want to move to does not already have a team located there."

Does this mean not all teams "switch station" at the same time? Do the students just look for an empty station that they have yet to visit (or want to re-visit) when they are done with the current station? Is it possible some teams will not get a chance to visit all stations?

Students can move to another empty station once they are done with the current station. We will make sure that all teams get to every station at least once.

Further Clarification:
Students have about 90 second  to answer each question. For very few questions they may need the entire 90 seconds. They are allowed to move on to another station if they are done with one.  We will make sure that every team gets to go to all stations at least once.

The answer for the 10th question  will be based on clues in one previous question. It is true that they can only answer the 10th question after they see all other 9 questions.  We will either include all questions on the answer sheet provided or have all previous 9  questions printed  on a sheet in the 10th station.

Gravity Racer CORRECTION


1.  The Gravity Racer ramps supplied to schools were not marked.  To answer the question, yes, the competition ramps are marked in 10 cm increments.

2.  Yes, please bring your kits to the competition.  We do have a kit available to borrow if your team forgets their kit.   Please do not bring your ramp.  All teams will use the competition ramps for the event.