Updated: Nov 07, 2020

So, you want to be a facilitator?

First, some questions you probably have.

1) What is Science Olympiad?

Science Olympiad is a nationwide competition for junior and senior high students. These students compete in a series of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) events to test their competency in the sciences. Teams are comprised of 15 students, with Division B teams having students in grades 6-9 and Division C teams having students in grades 9-12.

The teams coming to the state competition have qualified for the event by being in the top 4 or 5 at a regional competition. The top ranked team in Division B and Division C will represent North Dakota at the national competition held May 21, 2021, by Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

2) What do you need me to do?

We have a number of different volunteer opportunities. The most important is that of a lead facilitator, but we also need help with co-facilitating, running, and other miscellaneous tasks.

3) What's a lead facilitator?

First of all, being a lead facilitator is a non-trivial amount of work. We don't want to scare you off, but we want to make sure you understand that it can require quite a bit of effort on your part.

As lead facilitator, you'll:

  • Read the event description carefully. You'll end up becoming an expert in the event's rules (not necessarily in the field associated with the event) so that you're able to answer questions during the event.
    • Note: For some events, it is very helpful for the lead facilitator to have a working knowledge of the science behind the event (e.g. Chemistry Lab & Forensics).
  • If the event calls for it, you'll need to create a test based on the event description. You can get copies done by either e-mailing a copy of your test to us at or bringing it to .
  • If the event calls for it, gather supplies that you'll need to complete the event. For example, some events require that you need to build a model beforehand or create a track using tape or get sand to use to break boomilevers with. We have a *lot* of supplies on hand so email and see if we have it before you go buy it. If you do need to buy something, we can reimburse you. Just ask first and keep your receipts.
  • Be the primary contact for your event. If we have questions or concerns about your event, we'll try to e-mail or call you to figure out what's going on. You'll also lead any co-facilitators you have to help you create and run the event.

4) That sounds like too much, what is a co-facilitator? Or a runner?

A co-facilitator is someone who assists the day of the event. This could be grading tests, running stopwatches, measuring/weighing/qualifying objects or anything else. The lead facilitator may ask you to assist in making the test. You'll need to contact him or her. (If you need contact information, let me know, and I'll get it to you ASAP)

We also need people to run breakfast or lunch out to the rooms for the facilitators and to bring supplies from the QBB or Lad to the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse prior to the award ceremony. In that case, sign up for Generic Helper on our volunteer page.

5) So, how does this all work?

I'm going to split this into three sections. What you do before, during, and after the event. This is mostly for lead facilitators, but co-facilitators may want to follow along.

Before the event:

During the event:
  • Get to your room a little early to make sure everything is ready for you (room unlocked, etc)
  • The most important part of the event is grading. We have a powerpoint presentation to show how to grade your event on the score sheets.
    • As students come into your event, you'll have them sign in on the sheet (see slide 2)
    • Make sure they are wearing a wristband or they will not be eligible to participate! Contact us to determine which color they should be wearing.
    • After they finish, you'll put each teams score in the right hand column (see slide 3) There can be no ties, so either add a tie breaker question at the end of your test, or select a couple of questions that will be used as the tiebreaker (make sure you tell the students which questions will be used as tiebreakers) If your event does not involve a test, the rules will stipulate how you should deal with ties.
    • Next, you start scoring. Give 0 points to teams that do not sign in (see slide 4)
    • Give 1 point to those students who only signed in (and did not take your test or participate in the event) (see slide 5)
    • Otherwise, take the team who got the highest score on your exam and give them 24 points, the second highest score gets 23 points, etc. (See slide 6) Again, there can be no ties in rank.
    • After you've completed your score sheet, bring it to the score keeper in the ###INSERT LOCATION HERE### AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. They'll type in your scores for you and check to see if the rankings are OK. Make sure you bring any tests and any materials you had from the event and leave them with the score keeper.
After the event:
  • Make sure you return all supplies you borrowed to ###INSERT LOCATION HERE### right after your event.
  • On the Monday after Olympiad, we may contact you with questions about your event. (Teams are given until Monday at 4:00 pm to appeal the scores we have for them) This doesn't happen very often and usually we can figure it out, but if we have any questions, don't be surprised if we call you.

I gave a letter to all of the Science Olympiad facilitators. It has our phone numbers on it, in case of a problem during the event. Call Joe Latimer (Adjudicator) if you have any questions about rule interpretation. If you need a copy of this letter, e-mail me.

Facilitators are responsible for conducting the event according to the Current Science Olympiad Rules exactly as printed in the current Rules Manual or PDF supplied. Do not assume that they are the same as last year. Please read them carefully. This is your event, you can run it how you see fit, as long as it follows those Rules Manual/PDF. You are not required to let coaches or teachers or parents into the event area. In fact, it would be much easier on you if you did not. It is much easier to run a smooth event and keep things fair without them. If you have problems enforcing any rules or have any questions, just call Guy or Anne the day of the event and we can come over and work things out.

If you haven't already, sign up for one of the events at our volunteer page We'll get you in touch with the lead facilitator (if there is one) and send you information about the event.

Finally, thank you so much for volunteering. It's always amazing how our campus community comes together for events like this. The participants always have a blast and will remember this event and NDSU for years to come. If you have any questions, just let me or Guy know. Our contact information is below.

ND Science Olympiad
NDSU College of Science & Mathematics
Dept 2700
Minard 202 PO Box 6050
Fargo ND 58108-6050

Phone: 231-6357
Science Olympiad: http://www.ndsu.edu/olympiad/

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