Like most other extracurriculars at Diamond Bar High School, Science Olympiad has begun competing online this year. In addition to the usual method of competing in teams, online competition has brought with it a new section of competition in which participants can compete individually.
The DBHS SciOly team, which is advised by Kenneth Carlson, recently competed in the MIT Invitational, where they placed 37th out of 150 schools, with their highest placement being 22nd in circuit lab. Team captain junior Eileen Zu stated that she felt the team could have done better in terms of overall performance, but that the team’s performance was hindered by connection issues and lack of motivation among members.
“Since everyone’s been stuck at home for so long it’s easy to burn out [or] become [unmotivated] to study,” Zu said. “Some things we’ve been trying is to encourage our members more and that they keep putting forth the effort to study and get better at each competition.”
In addition to the group performance, Zu and sophomore Marcus Hsieh ranked in the top 25 nation-wide for their individual performance on monthly quizzes distributed by MySO.
Many events in the competition have changed in order to run smoothly online. For example, boomilever, which has now been renamed to digital structures, was altered so that teams use an online program to build a boomilever rather than with actual materials. Another event called detector building, which used to require building a temperature sensing device and testing water samples, changed to an online test.
In order to practice for online competition, members use a website called My Science Olympiad to take individual quizzes based on different themes, such as anatomy or weather, rather than the traditional events used in competition. The DBHS Science Olympiad members said that they have been preparing for competitions in mostly the same ways as they normally would, the only difference being that students meet online.
Zu said that the weekly practice sessions are held every Saturday, giving members time to gather and study for competition together. Their practice includes reviewing content from tests they’ve taken in the past, taking new tests and notetaking based on general research.
The team is currently preparing for the Golden Gate Invitationals, in addition to competing at the regionals on Saturday. Zu also states that she hopes the team will be able to compete at the next California State Tournament on April 3.