Welcome to our Second Annual Bay Area Regional Elementary Science Olympiad!

We have the pleasure of hosting the second annual BARESO here in Castro Valley.  All the fun events will be supervised by our very own award-winning SciOly students from Castro Valley High School.  Join us!  Registration is now open! https://scilympiad.com/bayarea-elementary

 If you’re new to Elementary Science Olympiad, take a look at the FAQs below.  

Science Olympiad Mailing List


The Team

  • What if I don’t have 6 students to form a team?  There is no rule that governs the minimum number of students on a team, but 6 is the maximum number.  A team could be formed with 4 or 5 students, but then some events will not have the full set of 2 students and the team will be at a competitive disadvantage.  
  • Can a team have alternate team members?  There are no alternates at the elementary level, so if a child is ill or otherwise not able to attend on the day of the competition, the team will either have to reshuffle students or drop events.  
  • My child only wants to do one or two subjects.  Can she/he still join the team?  This is variable and up to agreement between the other families on the team.
  • My child is in 3rd grade (or lower) — can they compete?  Although there is no true lower age limit, younger students (3rd grade or below) will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage when competing with 4th and 5th graders, and would likely struggle to do well in the written test events.  We hope to see your student participate in a few years!
  • Will my child be guaranteed his/her choice of subjects/events?  It is up to the head coach to work with the students to decide which students will do what events.  There are many ways of doing this, for example an “NFL draft,” where students draw priority numbers out of a hat and then have the students take turns #1-6 choosing one event at a time and looping back to the next “draft round” until all events are filled.  The coach will do their best to assign subjects from their top choices but there is no guarantee that they will get to do every event they wish.

Registration and Costs

  • How long does Science Olympiad last?  Teams should be formed immediately.  Teams will receive their rules shortly after registration. Weekly meetings will begin immediately until competition day which is on March 16th.  
  • When is the actual competition day?  Is this an all-day event?  The Elementary SciOly competition is scheduled on Saturday, March  16, 2023 at Canyon Middle  School.   Individual subject tests will begin at 8 :30am.  Students should arrive an hour before their first scheduled test time.  All tests will be done by 12:30. There will be a short break before the Award Ceremony.  Award Ceremony concludes around 2 pm.
  • How much is registration? Is it refundable?  The registration fee is $120 per team, to be divided between the 6 members of the team.  The fee is due two weeks after registration and not refundable after March 1st.  If one of the team members has financial hardship paying the fee, email sciencecastrovalley@gmail.com and a waiver can be granted.  The fee covers costs of entering the competition but not learning or building materials — that is to be split among the team members.
  • Where do I send the registration fee and the signed forms?  Head coaches, __________________________.  Please make checks payable to “Castro Valley Science”.  Signed Megan’s Law forms are required for all event coaches from CVUSD schools; turn these into the school office.
  • What other costs are there?  Some other costs that teams may incur include costs of team T-shirts, materials for build/lab events, and pizza for the day of the competition.  
  • Can non-Castro Valley schools participate?  Yes!  This competition is regional so any school from the Bay Area can enter.  Teams must adhere to the participant rules (max 6 students, 5th grade is the upper grade level, all kids must attend the same school).  Homeschooled kids can also participate, they should be up to 5th-grade equivalent, but the restriction of being from the same school is obviously lifted.


  • I’ve been asked to be a Head Coach.  What do I need to do?  The head coach is primarily responsible for the following things:
    • Collect money from the other members to pay for the $120 registration fee.  It might be good to create an overall team budget and collect one sum from each parent to cover team registration, t-shirt, and pizza on day of the event…. about $50 per child should do it.
    • Register your team here:  https://scilympiad.com/bayarea-elementary
    • Decide which kids will do which events.  This can be done in a variety of ways, see the last point on “The Team” section.
    • Submit any rules clarifications via email to cvhsscioly@gmail.com
    • Decide whether or not to do team T-shirts and getting the kids to submit designs for it and ordering them (or delegating this) for delivery before the competition.
    • Making sure everybody knows what to do and where to be on the day of the competition, organizing lunch and snacks. 
    • Be the main contact for RESO and communicate all information to the team members/families.
  • I’ve been asked to be an Event Coach.  What do I need to do?  Event coaches will meet regularly with the 2 students assigned to that event (once per week is suggested, but this is subject to your personal schedule).  Read the rules, and help the kids build, practice, and study the things the rules expect the kids to do in the competition.  In build events, try to guide the kids and spur them to ask questions rather than doing the work for them.  See the “Preparing for Events” section below. (Megan’s Law Form required.)

Preparing for Events

  • When and where do meetings take place?  Meetings will take place at the convenience of the event coaches, either after school, in the evenings or on the weekends.  Event coaches are mostly parents who have regular day jobs and will not be able to coach during the weekdays.  Some meetings could be held at school, at the Castro Valley library, or at the coach’s house.  
  • How long is each meeting?  Meetings typically last one hour per subject each week.  If you join 3 events, you will spend roughly 3 hours a week studying, experimenting, building, etc.  Build events might use more time, depending on what’s going on.
  • What days are the meetings?  Can you choose the days and times?  The meeting time will be set by the event coach.  Meetings could be held weekdays after school, evenings or weekends.  Please be sure to let your coach know what times you are available.  Coaches are volunteering their personal time to coach the kids.  Please be flexible and work with your coach to find a time that will work out for everyone.
  • What if my child can’t make the meeting time for his/her assigned subject?  Because the teams are small, meetings will usually consist of your child plus one other student; chances are you will be able to find a mutually agreeable time to meet.  However, if your child absolutely can’t make the weekly meeting time, let your head coach know ASAP.   They could try to switch your child to another subject that will work out better with your schedule.
  • I have questions about what the rules mean.  Submit your questions and rule clarifications to cvhsscioly@gmail.com.   Answers will be posted on the website within 2 weeks of submission.  All clarifications must be submitted by the Head Coach only.

The Competition 

What are the events for 2024?  

  1. Bones: students will take a written test on the skeletal system
  2. Crime Busters: Students use forensic principles to identify a crime suspect
  3. Earthquake!: students will take a written test on earthquakes and plate tectonics
  4. Mars: students will take a written test on the subject of Mars
  5. Mystery Architecture: Students build a structure with an unknown set of materials
  6. Naked Egg Drop: Students build a device to prevent a dropped egg from breaking
  7. Teamwork: The whole team participates in a team science activity
  • What is a study/lab/build event?  A study event is one where the students study material and then take a test on the day of the competition.  A lab event is one that requires the students to perform a task(s) as part of the competition; a test may be required as well.  A build event is one in which the students design and build a device that is tested during the competition.
  • Where can I find the Rule Book?  The head coach will have access to the event rules immediately after the team has been registered.  Teams who have registered are asked to please not share rules with unregistered teams.
  • What’s my team #?  The head coach will be notified when the team numbers have been assigned.  Be sure the students know their team numbers.  They will have to write them down on their tests and devices.
  • How does team scoring work?  For each event, every team will be force-ranked from 1st place to Nth place (where N is the number of teams).  Each team receives the corresponding number of points depending on how they placed.  Teams not participating in that event receive N+1 points.  At the end of all events, the points are added up and the lowest point total will be declared the winner of the overall competition.
  • How do I prepare the kids for the study tests?  Is it all multiple choice questions?  Our test writers are CVHS high school students who have taken many many Anatomy tests in the past.  They promised to make things fun and age appropriate for our elementary level students.  The tests will consist of multiple choices, some fill-ins and maybe 1-2 long answers to see the full understanding of the subject matter.  Typically they’re 33% easy, 33% medium, 33% hard.  There could be anywhere from 50 – 100 questions. It really depends on the test writer. Because models and live samples are hard to come by for our events, we typically use images and diagrams on the test papers.  If we can get a hold of a model, we might use it.  But students don’t have to finish everything within the 45 minute test period.  They just have to do the best and answer as many questions as possible.  Every team will have the same amount of time and the same test.  The two students on the team are able to talk to each other and collaborate or split the test in half and answer as many questions as possible on their own.  Up to the teams.  They will get one printed test for the team of two.  So, they have to agree on the answers and submit it as one team at the end.

What to Expect on Competition Day

What are the time commitments?  The competition day will being at 8am with team check-ins.  First test will begin at 8:30.  Snacks and lunch can take place anytime when the student has a break.  Designated lunch break is 12:15 pm to 12:45 pm.  The day will conclude with the award ceremony which will be 12:45 – 1:45 pm.  Competition Schedule

  • Can parents drop off the students for the day?  Your teams are welcomed to set up basecamp with canopies/popup tents on the campus grounds in the Quad area.  Parents can hangout at basecamp, mingle with other parents and coaches, and help the students with snacks and materials they will need for the tests.  Some events will allow spectators.  Please go and watch and support your students whenever possible.  Please do not leave any children unsupervised.
  • I’ve never been to CVHS. How do I know where to go?  Here’s the map of the campus with room numbers highlighted.  We will also have lots of staff helping you guide the students to the appropriate test rooms.
  • Is there a specific dress code?  No special requirements.  However, many teams will create team uniform t-shirts with their school colors and mascots.  As for the competition, some events might require lab coats and safety glasses or goggles.  Check the rules for your events.
  • Do parents/coaches have to do anything on the competition day ?  Your job is to bring your children to CVHS campus on time,  feed them a good breakfast, and make sure they have all the necessary materials they will need for testing , like pencils, erasers, rulers, calculators, safety glasses, cheat sheets, etc.  And bring  lunches and snacks for the kids.  The rest of the time, just  chillax and bond with other parents.  Your job is done.  
  • If you have specific questions that were not answered on this page, please email us at cvhsscioly@gmail.com.