Tuesday, February 28, 2017

EEE Day Winter 2017

 Wonderful Opportunities for Olympians:

 M Engineering and Society of Women Engineers present


Elementary Engineering  Exploration

Includes hands-on engineering activities, student panels, guest speakers for parents to advise them on how to encourage the love for science & other resources (& lunch of course). A lot of fun!

Theme Superheroes

March 18th


EECS Building, North Campus

1st-5th graders, parents welcome

$5/person, includes lunch

Check this out

Monday, February 27, 2017

No Bones About It

Q: Can you tell us the approximate height of the skeleton that will be used for the bones identification section of the No Bones Test on June 3?

A: Students should be prepared to identify bones from a small 3 ft. skeleton, a full size skeleton, separate full size bones, and pictures and/or xrays of bones and/or fractures.

Barge Building

Q: The coach of the Barge Building Team is asking if the barge is limited to a certain amount 
of clay or can they use it all?

A: Each team will be given 50 grams of unused and unworked clay.  
Teams may use any amount of their 50 grams of clay to build their barge.

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah: Number of participants

Q: Can you clarify how many participants per grade for Zip-a-dee-doo-dah?  On the detailed description it lists 1-2 per grade but on the events page it lists 1-3 per grade.

A: Since there was a discrepancy between the event description and the events page, we will be allowing up to 3 participants per grade. The detailed description on the website will be updated soon to reflect this. 

Circuit Wizardry: Logic Gate Symbols and Q&A


There is a new document covering Logic Gate symbols on the WESO website. Click here to to go the Circuit Wizardry page and download this document.


Q.  Can WESO sell multimeters that are considered to be good standard ones for the event?

A.  No.  We recommend you check reviews before purchasing a multimeter.  

We have purchased the following multimeter to have a couple available during workshops and the event and have been happy with it.

We have heard mixed reviews on inexpensive multimeters from Harbor Freight.  We have one of these in our event supplies and it has held up so far. 

Sometimes a Craftsman multimeter goes on sale at Sears or Kmart, for less than $15, and seems to be a good deal, with many good reviews.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Photon Phun: Additional workshop details


Could you please clarify whether the Photon Phun Saturday workshops in March are designed to be attended by the coaches or are they geared towards the participants? Is the Photon Phun reflections relay practice room already set up with targets and lights (simulating competition) or just 'spaces' for the coaches and teams to practice in (maybe with a little help from some assistants)? 


The Photon Phun workshops are intended for students and coaches. Students need to be accompanied by an adult. 

The Photon Phun reflections relay room will be set up with a light source and targets. The configuration of the room should not be assumed to be the exact configuration of the reflection relay room on the day of the competition. The setup of the reflections relay room is specified in the detailed event descriptions for Photon Phun.  

Each workshop will cover different material so you may attend all four. The material presented during the 2nd and 3rd workshops is for the 4th and 5th graders and not the 2nd and 3rd grade teams.
 However, schools may only sign up once for the reflection relay room. The Photon Phun Relay practices do overlap partially with workshops.  Those would be good times for 2nd and 3rd grade teams to sign up, as they do not need to know the material presented during the 2nd and 3rd workshops.  Teams that do not need to attend the workshops, would also be able to participate then.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Write It/Build It

 I'd like to know the dimension for the paper size(for items to build on top of it) for 4th grade, can you please let us know?

The size of the paper for both grades is 12x18. 

 I was unable to attend the meeting at the library for Write It, Build It on Saturday. I wanted to know if there was information made available for the coaches. In past years, the supervisor has shown a model of the past year’s pictures. This has been helpful in coaching. Can the supervisor provide photos that can be posted of these?

All of the information presented at the meeting is on the event description sheet found on the WESO website.  There were no additional handouts.  We cannot provide photos of past pictures, but examples we had shown at the meeting are the same ones we showed before, if you have been to previous meetings. 

We mentioned at the meeting that we would post the construction paper size used for the picture. The size is 12x18.  Michael's, Joann's, or office supply stores sells this size paper.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Workshops for Coaches and students:

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Workshops for Coaches and students:

A lecture-demo and practice session will be conducted on March 11 and 25, 2017 at Scarlett Middle School by HKN, a chapter of the Mechanical Engineering Honor Society at UM. Schools are requested to sign up for one session (same material will be presented on both days) only.  A link to a Signup Genius is below.

1:15 - 2:45pm: Lecture-demo session students of HKN will discuss/explain some of the physics concepts behind a zip line and perform demos on the zip line illustrating those concepts.

2:45 - 4:15pm: Practice session on the test rig - All teams are requested to bring their own materials and tools to build their cable car.   Teams will be able to make multiple (at least 2) runs on the zipline, to see how adjustments to the cable car affect run times.  Number of runs will depend on the number of teams present, but is likely to be on the order of 2-5 per grade per school.

Other test sessions, with just access to the zipline, will be announced for April.
 Sign up for March 11 workshop
Sign up for March 25 workshop

Monday, February 20, 2017

Zip-a-Dee-doo-dah Q and A

1.    Can the teams put the ping pong ball in their car as they build or does it have to be put in the car just before they put the car on the harness.

The teams will have access to a ping pong ball as they are building their car. When the teams are ready to run their car, they will need to demonstrate that the ping pong ball is not taped or glued in, so they will be asked to remove the ping pong ball and then put it back in.

2.    Will any coaches notes/practice tips be added to the event description page?

We will not be adding anything to the event description at this time.

3.    Will the written portion of the event cover only the terms listed in the description (gravity, air resistance, average velocity, and friction) or any concept/term related to the physics of a zip line?

The written portion of the event will cover any concept/term related to the physics of a zip line. The primary focus will be on the terms listed in the event description.

4.    Can the teams bring in a notebook with their plans the day of the event?

The teams may not bring in anything with them to the day of the event.

5.    Can you clarify - some but not all of the materials listed in the event description will be available to the team the day of the event?

We have updated the event description to clarify this point. That is correct, we will provide only some of the materials listed in the event description to the team on the day of the event.

6.    Have the dates for the practices in March and April, as mentioned at the coaches meeting,  been set yet?

The dates for the practices have not yet been set. We hope that they will be set soon!

7.    Have the brands of the materials been determined yet?

We apologize for the ambiguity in the description of some of our materials. By "small paper cups", we are referring to the 3oz Dixie Bath Cups. Regarding the rest of the materials, we will hold off on specifying their exact brands, since we would like to encourage coaches to train their students to apply their knowledge to any set of materials, and learn how to adapt their cable car designs based on the materials available.

8. Can you say what units will the zip line competition use. Typically SO has used metric, but the description uses English.
We will be using metric units, and specifically, SI units, for the velocity calculation. We have updated the event description to clarify this.

9. Also is there any way of saying how much tension will be on the line?
The tension on the line will be 5 lbs.

10.  Will the teams have scissors to use the day of the event to build and then to modify their cars?

The teams will have scissors to use on the day of the event. The event description has been modified to reflect this.

11.  Will coaches and parents be allowed in the rooms when the teams are building, then running their cars?

Coaches and parents will not be allowed in the competition room at any time.

12. Can you post the necessary information, (dimensions, materials etc.)  about the frame the zip line will be on so that we can construct one for practice?

We will not be releasing the exact dimensions of the frame at this time; however, we will have two practice sessions in March and April so that teams can gain a better understanding of how the event will run on the day of the competition.

****We've added an  updated event description to be posted on the website. The changes are highlighted.


Q: What consumables were replenished in 2017 and where do I get them?
A: Consumables were distributed to head coaches at the 2/7 meeting. The list is available on the WESO website.

Q: Are the list of elements they need to know just a sample or a complete list?
A: They only need to know about the characteristics of those 12 elements (H, O, N, C, Al, Na, Cu, Cl, P, S, He, Ar).

Q: Are they given instructions for the experimental portion of the event?
A: Teams are given instructions for the experimental portion of the event but are expected to use basic problem solving skills to approach the experimental question.

Q: What type of scale would be used during the event?
A: If a scale is used during the event, it would be: EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale
But any standard digital kitchen scale is sufficient to practice with. 
Make sure they know how to zero it and that all measurements need to be done in metric.

Photon Phun Reflection relay sign practice up

Signups for Photon Phun reflection relay practice.

March 4
March 11
March 18
March 25

Friday, February 17, 2017

Event locations at Pioneer High School

Subject: Event locations at Pioneer High School
Q: I'm putting together my teams, and I am concerned about scheduling events back-to-back. Will students have time to make it from one event to another if the ending time of the first event is the same as the beginning time for the next? How long does it take to get from one event to another? Where in the school do the events happen?

A: Most events take place in the classrooms in the C and D wings of Pioneer. We use all three floors to some extent.

For most events, students should be able to get from one event to another in fewer than 5 minutes. The exceptions are On Target and Water Rockets.

On Target takes place in the Small Gym. We recommend budgeting 10 minutes to get from the Small Gym to the Academic check-in area, and on to your classroom.

Water Rockets takes place outside on the south end of the high school campus. You will have the opportunity to choose your team's time later in the spring, but please be aware that it takes 5-10 minutes each way to get out and back. Keep this in mind as you schedule students who will do an event in addition to Water Rockets.

We try to discourage scheduling back-to-back events for students, but understand that it is sometimes necessary to maximize participation. Students who have back-to-back events will be escorted from one event to another by volunteers. More information about this will come at a later time.

Thursday, February 16, 2017



Question: Can you post the necessary information, (dimensions, materials etc.)  about the frame the zip line will be on so that we can construct one for practice?

Answer: The frame details have not been finalized.  What is important is the dimensions of the zip line, which have been given in the event description.  The frame will have a vertical rail upstream of the first photogate.  The slider can be held against this rail to give a consistent release point.  Distance between the rail and the first photogate have not been finalized yet.  We will announce a range when it has been finalized.


We have one student on our team who can only attend the 4/22 workshop and another student who can only attend the 4/29 workshop due to scheduling conflicts – would it be okay to sign up the students on different days (with adult supervision of course).  They would each only attend one workshop.  Also, when will the sign-up for the workshops be released?

Yes, you can split the team so that they attend on 2 different days as long as you do not go over the total number of students allowed per school (6) for both days.  The sign-up should be posted in the next week.

Debra Meyer

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Feathered Friends workshops


1) Do you just register for ONE of the workshops?

2) Does the head coach need to register for both teams of 2 students, or can the individual event coaches register for their team?

3) Is the workshop for students and coaches, or students only?

4) Are parents of the students allowed to attend or is space limited to just students and possibly coaches?

The workshops are all the same so, yes, choose one. The Feathered Friends coach(s) can register their team or both teams if they are all together. Coaches may come, but parents are encourage to drop off and pick up their kids because of space limitations.
When you want to register just send an e-mail to me at this address with school name, date and number of students coming.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Barge Building

-Can students use tools to work with the clay?
 Answer: No.

-Can teams build more than one barge with their clay?
Answer: No.  Teams may only build and load one barge with their clay.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gravity Racer

A Newly revised Gravity Racer Detailed event description has been published.

Also a complete/correct list of the parts in the Gravity Racer Kit


1.  It was stated that  more details will be provided on exact brands of materials?  When will a more detailed description of the materials be available?

Yes - we apologize for the ambiguity in the description of some of our materials. By "small paper cups", we are referring to the 3oz Dixie Bath Cups. Regarding the rest of the materials, we will hold off on specifying their exact brands, since we would like to encourage coaches to train their students to apply their knowledge to any set of materials, and learn how to adapt their cable car designs based on the materials available.

2.  Will the teams get some, but not all, of the materials listed on the day of the event?

That is correct - we will provide some of the materials listed on the day of the event.

3.  Can the teams bring anything with them on the day of the event?  Materials?  Notes from practice? 

The teams may not bring anything with them on the day of the event. Everything that they will need will be provided.

4.  When will the practice Saturdays in March and April be posted?  Where will the dates be posted?

We hope that the practice dates will be posted soon! Once they are decided, they will be posted on the WESO website as well as emailed out to the head coaches.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Gene-ius Event Workshops:

Gene-ius Event Workshops:
Venue: Scarlett Middle School
Time: 3 – 4:30pm

Mar 18: Coaches only
This workshop will be a detailed overview of the curriculum for the event and will be geared towards coaches who have little/no experience in Genetics.

Apr 22 & 29: Coaches and students.
The same workshop will be held on two days (Apr 22 & 29). We will setup a Sign-up genius for this workshop and it will be limited to a coach and three students per grade per school. This workshop will be a problem solving practice session.

Raffle Fundraiser



Raffle Event:  Each year the WESO organization conducts a raffle fundraiser on the day of Science Olympiad.  Raffle proceeds are used to fund workshops, open events, learning tools allocated to schools, and to fund general WESO expenses. 

Your School’s Raffle Basket Contribution:  Each participating school is required to participate in the raffle by contributing a themed basket with a fair market value of $100 or more.  This minimum threshold allows us to keep the ticket prices consistent with previous years (1 ticket - $5; 3 tickets - $10 and 7 tickets - $20). Themes can be anything you wish such as: family game night; movie night, Go Blue! gourmet, gardening, etc…

This is an important fundraiser and your school’s participation is critical to its success.

If I have inadvertently missed your school, please contact me ASAP!

Action Items for Each Team

Head Coaches may choose to identify a raffle coordinator.
 Please visit the following link on Sign Up Genius to share your raffle basket theme. 
We want to have a variety of themes to appeal to many people, kids, adults, boys, girls, etc and different interests. We can have similar items in very popular categories (i.e. lego, Minecraft, family fun, etc.) but if there are too many duplications you may be asked to switch themes.
You may obtain your raffle donations by soliciting area businesses on behalf of your school or PTO  or asking each parent to donate a small amount ($5) and shopping for your school.  If your population cannot support parental donations, start early with soliciting businesses or ask your PTO for support.  Every school should contribute a raffle item that is valued at $100 or more
No alcohol, tobacco, or firearms may be included.
Your team is responsible to bring your basket to Pioneer on Friday, June 3 in the late afternoon/early evening for set up (4;30 -7:00). It should be wrapped and ready to display.  More details as the day gets closer. A list itemizing items in baskets with many items is helpful.
Because the raffles are drawn at the end of the event, head coaches should check with the raffle coordinator at the end of the final award ceremony to see if your school has any uncollected prizes. Please transport these back to your school.
Thanks in advance for making this fundraiser a success!

Renee McKeone
WESO Raffle Coordinator

Thursday, February 9, 2017

MAP Reading Coaches Workshop

MAP Reading
Coaches Workshops:
Tappan media center , 7 to 8pm.
 Mar 09 and Mar 16 : two sessions, same workshop.
Coaches ONLY - please sign up for only one session
Non coaches and Kids not allowed .
Please sign up ( RSVP) wesoscience@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

In Bloom Workshop

In Bloom Workshop 

for Coaches and Students 


Thursday March 9

 from 4:30-5:30

Tour the greenhouse and take home seeds and/or seedlings, pots and dirt

Please RSVP to register your team


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Gravity Racer Kits


I'm coaching Gravity Racers .  I heard there may be a change to the Lego parts list.  Was it changed from last year?   Can you send me the parts list for the Lego kit? 

Thank you.

There is no change in the parts list from last year.

Back to Nature Bees

I have a question about the list of insects for Back to Nature. I noticed "Bees" was on the list, but there are thousands of different species of bees worldwide and many different species present in Michigan. Are the students responsible for knowing only the bees found in Michigan? Would it be possible to get a list of the different species they will need to know?

Thank you!

These are the Michigan “bees” that you will want to look at:
Honey Bees
Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Eastern Carpenter Bees

iCompute Coaches Workshop February 22

All iCompute coaches are invited to attend a workshop where the event supervisor will introduce the Scratch language and provide guidance and resources for you to take back to your teams. 

This workshop is for coaches only.

iCompute Workshop
February 22, 2017
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Pioneer High School, room C231

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Head Coaches/Parents


One of our parents recently found the Google Student Sign-Up Template under the Documents and Forms section of the WESO webpage and mistakenly thought that was our school’s sign-up sheet. He thought it looked strange and emailed us about it, but it appears that many families across the county may have done the same thing, at least one other from our school alone. Wanted to let you know in cases other head coaches are not aware. If the template could also be moved somewhere where it is less likely to be discovered and mistaken as an actual sign-up, that would be great too.

Do not try to sign your Olympian up for a team using this template!

Estimania description modified

·         The detailed description document has been modified and posted online.
·         Please refer to the changes made in following sections:
Table with measurement, Materials and Event Room Procedures.
o   Perimeter is added to the Table
o   Each team will be provided with an answer sheet, one pencil and scrap paper. After completing the event, they have to return the completed answer sheet, pencil and the scrap sheet back to the room supervisor.
·         All language used will be grade level appropriate. 2nd and 3rd grade students are encouraged to clarify with the room supervisor if they do not understand a question or a word.

Question: Will there be more than one set-up for each question?
Answer: Due to logistic reasons, there will be only one physical station for each question.   Students will be asked to move to whichever station that is free. See event description for all rules.
Please note: The answers to questions 1 through 9 do not need any information from other questions.

Updated Water Rockets 3rd/4th Event Details

 The WESO 2017 Water Rockets 3rd 4th Grade Detailed Description has been updated and is now posted on the website to reflect the changes for 2017. Do not use the version posted before February 6th, 2017.

For 2017, there is one combined, competitive team for 3rd and 4th grade.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

GENE-ius questions and PowerPoint

Question: Do the teams need to bring the DNA model provided to all schools to the event?
Answer: No. If the DNA model is used during the event, it will be provided.

Question:  Can teams bring anything with them to the event like notes or study guides?
Answer: No.

Question:  How should coaches prepare the teams to work with the model?
Answer:  The model represents the DNA molecule at a level of detail that is expected for this event.  Teams should be familiar with what each component of the model represents.  If the model is used during the event, teams will not be expected to fully assemble it due to limited time. 

Questions:  Workshops?  Number and organization?
Answer:  There were many questions and comments about the workshops.  The event supervisor and WESO board are currently taking this information into account.  Please stay tuned for more information on the GENE-ius workshops.

Slides from the coaches meeting, along with a study guide and detailed event description, are available on the WESO website here

Rescheduled presentations and schedule updates

Here are several reminders and updates of interest to all schools.

The Write It, Build It coaches presentation is today, February 5 from 12:15 – 12:45 at the AADL Downtown Freespace (3rd floor).

The Potions coaches presentation will be held Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 pm.
North Campus Research Complex (NCRC)
Bldg 10, Research Auditorium
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Several schools have swapped event times in the past week. Schedules have been updated here. If you have worked out your teams for this year, please remember to enter the events you do not believe you’ll be participating in, and enter any swap requests on our Event Swap and Participation Form.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

No Bones About it Links

Most of the links in the "Useful resources" are not functional... I could not get them to open or when I clicked on them I was sent to an error page or pages that no longer existed. Couls you please look into this? Thank you.

Answer to Question:
Thank you for your inquiry. These websites are not intended as hyperlinks but rather are references. We have double checked the listed references on the study guide and, if you copy and paste the sites into your browser, all of the sites should take you to active webpages with the exception of 2 sites that were found to have minor typographic errors in the listings and one that was a repeat.

The correct listings for each of these sites are:

(This site was listed twice by mistake. The first listing was correctly typed. The repeat listing is now deleted.)




We have reposted the revised study guide, so all of the listings should now work if they are copied and pasted into your browser.

Thank you,