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Division B Rules Clarifications


All Rulings on this page are BINDING in NJ. This page closed March 3, 2015
Any rulings from nationals published after March 3, 2015 will be respected at the discretion of the event supervisor

Unpublished Judgements are NOT binding at New Jersey Tournaments and are at the event officials discretion.

Event rules for ALL Science Olympiad events printed in the 2015 Official Rules Manuals supersede any and all materials found at the "Science Olympiad Student Center Wiki" or anywhere else online. The "Science Olympiad Student Center Wiki" is not maintained by National Science Olympiad. National Science Olympiad does not publish any event rules online or any location other than the Official Paper Based Rules Manual or Event Rules Mobile Apps.

Jump to:
Air Trajectory - Bridge Building - Can't Judge a Power - Crime Buster

Dynamic Planet - Elastic Launched Glider - Entomology - Fossils - Green Generation

Picture This - Robo-Cross - Simple Machines - Wheeled Vehicle - Write It/Do It

Air Trajectory

The Dimensions of the MCC Gym are 225' x 143' x 28', however the Gym will be shared with three event (Air Trajectory, Elastic Launched Glider & Wright Stuff) (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 3 / paragraph: a. / line: 1)
Are teams of the same school able to share their falling masses.
This is up to local event supervisors. (04-Feb-2015)

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1-2)
Can teams impound multiple masses and use different masses for each launch given the masses are less than the maximum mass allowed?
Per 3.a. more than one mass may be impounded, but the total sum of all masses must be less than 3.5kg (Div C), 5.0kg (Div B) (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)
Does the gravitational potential energy need to convert directly into air pressure or can it go through multiple conversions to get to the air pressure force.
It can go through multiple conversions, but 100% of the energy must initially be gravitational potential energy. (2014-Nov-25)

(section: 3 / paragraph: b,c, / line: 1)
Does the air pressure/movement generated by by the falling mass have to be immediatley applied (either directly or indirectly) to the projectile or can it be stored and then released?
It can be stored and released, but 100% of the initial energy must come from the falling mass and event supervisors must be able to verify this. Also, all chambers must automatically return to ambient air pressure. (2014-Nov-25)

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1)
During competition, can a team use a different air chamber for each launch?
Yes, as long as the device remains safe and within other specs. (2014-Nov-25)

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)
Is a Foose ball legal to use as a projectile?
No, only the listed items in rule 3.f. are allowed as projectiles. (2014-10-30)

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)
Can multiple triggers be used (ie one to release the falling mass and then one to release stored pressure)?
Yes, if the system is designed in such a way that were the second trigger not activated, other relevant rules are still met, such as rule 3.c regarding automatically returning to ambient air pressure and 4.c automatically returning to the launch area. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 3f / paragraph: a / line: 3,4)
Polyurethane foam practice golf balls almost never use the word "plastic" in their advertising, although polyurethane is clearly a plastic. If the package says "PU foam practice golf balls" is it OK?
All the words "plastic", "practice", "golf", and "ball" must appear somewhere on the packaging or advertising description of the product, but not necessarily all in the same spot. (2014-Nov-25)

(section: 3f / paragraph: a / line: 3/4)
Please define "plastic practice golf balls". Are high density polyurethane foam practice golf balls allowed?
The most common type of plastic golf balls are plastic dimpled and plastic with holes and HDPE foam types are legal. As long as they are commercially marketed as "plastic practice golf balls", they may be used. It is recommended that students bring the packaging if there is a question. (2014-Oct-25)

(section: 3 / paragraph: h / line: 1)
Is a laser permitted for use as solely as an aiming device?
Yes, as long as it is a removable tool that is not part of the device and removed prior to launch. The official SO laser policy must also be followed: http://soinc.org/lasers (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / line: 2)
It's stated that the launch area is "1.00 m x 1.50 m (parallel to the launch direction)," does this mean that launch area is 1.50 m in length along the launch access and 1 m wide?
Yes, the 1.5 m side of the launch area is the side that is parallel to the launch direction and the front of the launch area is 1 m wide. (2014-Oct-25)

(section: 4 / paragraph: e / line: 1)
The height of the target is not specified in the rules. What are the limits on how high or how low the targets can be compared to the launching area?
Rule 4.d. explicitly says that the target is either tape on the floor or panels lying on the floor. There should not be any significant difference between the floor height in the launch area and the targets. (2014-Oct-25)

(section: 4 / paragraph: g / line: 1)
Can a team take one shot each for both targets and then decide which target it takes a second shot and/or take a bucket shot (if allowed by 4.i)?
Competitors may choose either target for their first shot. They may then choose to take their second shot at the same target or their first shot at the other target. If they qualify to take a bucket shot after their first shot at a particular target, they must ask for the bucket when they wish to take the second shot at that target. (2014-Oct-25)

(setion: 4 / paragraph: h / line: 2)
How can the competitors make measurements after the launch without touching the target?
Competitors will be told the distance of the targets from the launch area and can measure their impact locations from the launch area if outside of the target. (2014-Oct-25)

(section: 4 / paragraph: i / line: 1)
Will these bucket distances be subject to the interval limitations stated in section 4e (e.g. 1.00 m increments for regionals)? Or could the bucket distance be at arbitrary distances (e.g. "4.6 m from the launch line and 1.35 m to the right.")...
Bucket distances can be arbitrary intervals. (04-Feb-2015)

section: 4 / paragraph: i / line: 7)
If the projectile bounces off the bottom of the bucket and then out of the bucket would the bonus count?
Rule 4.i states that "making contact with the inside bottom surface is worth an additional 100 points." It does not state that after making contact the projectile must remain in the bucket, so the bonus is given even if the projectile subsequently bounces out of the bucket. (2014-Oct-25)

Bridge Buliding

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)
Must the outside width of the Bridge be at least 5.0 cm for the entire span? What does "at any height along its span" mean?
Yes, the outside width of the Bridge must be at least 5.0 cm for the entire span (Div. B - 35 cm and Div. C - 45 cm). "At any height along its span" means that the 5.0 cm width for the entire span can be at any height on the bridge as long as it is not below the top surface of the Test Supports. (27-Oct-2014)

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)
If the outside width of the bridge at the bottom chord is 5cm out to out, can the top chords be less than 5cm out to out in order to better support the loading block?

Yes, as long as the width of the Bridge is at least 5.0 cm for the entire span it doesn't matter at what height the 5.0 cm minimum width is located. (27-Oct-2014)

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)
Can the bridge be say 1cm wide with a thin outrigger along it's length to meet the 5 cm wide requirement?
Yes, that is one way to meet the requirements of rule 3.e. (27-Oct-2014)

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)
May the loading block be placed at any height of the Bridge as long as it is in the center of the span?
Yes, the loading block may be placed at any height of the Bridge as long as it is in the center of the span and not below the top surface of the Test Supports prior to testing. (27-Oct-2014)

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)
It states, "Two identical test supports at least 3cm x 3cm x 15 cm. Can you clarify which dimensions are the height, width, and length?
The Test Supports are at least 3.0 cm high, 3.0 cm wide and 15.0 cm long (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 5 / paragraph: e / line: 1)
Are the Test Supports screwed into the Test Base so that it does not move, or can the students move the Test Supports, as is stated in section e, "Test Supports that are set by the students."
No, the Test Supports are not attached to the Test Base. Students may move them anywhere within the Bearing Zones on the Test Base. (21-Feb-2015)

Can't Judge a Powder

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: i / line: -)
Are graduated cylinders "similar small containers for mixing", or are they a piece of equipment that event supervisors are supposed to bring (per section 2.b.vi.) that could incur the penalty noted in section 2 line 3?
Small graduated cylinders are permissible in the students kits. Event supervisors should not confiscate them. (21-Feb-2015)

Crime Busters

Silver Nitrate test solution will be provided (01-Mar-2015)

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: xv / line: 1)
May students bring one or two individual resource pages (not in a binder), as in past years? Are students allowed to remove resource pages from the binder to use while working during the competition?
Most event supervisors are going to go by the book, which means the two pages would need to be in a binder. There are no rules on the removal of the pages, but it might be best to ask the event supervisor if removal of the pages would be allowed. (27-Oct-2014)

(section: 2 / paragraph c / line i)
Will microscopes be provided?
No (24-Feb-2014)

(section: 4 / paragraph: a-c / line: 1-3)
Are points deducted from scoring for misspelling? Are students expected to know Lewis structures?
Division B students are not responsible for Lewis structures in this event. It depends on how bad the misspelling is as to whether or not points are deducted. The team members must be able to spell and write clearly enough to be able to communicate their ideas to the event supervisor. If the spelling or writing is so bad that there can be no meeting of the minds, points will be lost. Event supervisors are supposed to grade what is written, not what they think the students meant. (21-Feb-2015)

Microscopes will not be provided. (28-Feb-2014)

Dynamic Planet
4.e. should read "Calculate the buoyancy of a given watercraft in water samples of varying density." (29-Dec-2014)

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 8)
Do we need to know specific ocean ridges, currents, trenches, fault lines, boundaries, etc. for the competition?
No. The competition will emphasize the processes that create these and other phenomena. (01-Dec-2014)

Elastic Launched Glider

The Dimensions of the MCC Gym are 225' x 143' x 28', however the Gym will be shared with three event (Air Trajectory, Elastic Launched Glider & Wright Stuff) (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 4 / paragraph: G / line: 1)
Can the other team member help load the glider in the launcher as long as only one member actually launches the glider?
Yes. (27-Oct-2014)

Entomology (section: ? / paragraph: ? / sub-paragraph: ? / line: ?)
The Official Insect List has a glaring error. The family listed for "scale insects-twig or leaf" is wrong. It should be Coccidae, not Dactylopiidae which is cochineal insects.
From the rules... "The taxonomic scheme is based upon the Audubon Insect and Spider Field Guide. Any arbitrations questions will defer to this resource as the correct answer. " and on p 512 cochineal bugs are labeled as Family Dactylopiidae. its not a perfect system, and no book I am aware of will resolve every issue that can arise with the fluidity of insect taxonomy. (26-Oct-2014)

Are students allowed to use tabs in their Audubon books this year? Last year they were not allowed.
Yes, students are allowed to bring one commercially published resource that may be annotated and tabbed (limit 3 words on tab). (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 2 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 3)
Can annotations include pictures; as in, can I tape pictures to the inside of the field guide?
No. Pictures cannot be taped into the field guide but they can be included in the allowable notes. Written notes would be considered annotations in the field guide. (21-Feb-2015)

Green Generation

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)
Does the limitation to Div C apply to both Legislation and Economic Opportunity or just Economic Opportunity?
Both topics of Legislation and Economic Opportunity in Solving Problems will apply to only Division C. Division B will not have any questions related to Legislation and Economic Opportunity in Solving Problems. (27-Oct-2014)

(section: 3. / paragraph: a. / sub-paragraph: i. / line: 2)
3.a.i. lists "....... nutrient cycling, community interactions, population dynamics, species diversity and indicator species (2015 and 2016.)" Is population DYNAMICS in 2015 but NOT population GROWTH?
The basic ecological principle of how populations grow/dynamics will be covered in 2015 and 2016. (For eg- J curve, S curve, predator-prey interactions). Population growth human caused issues will be covered in 2016 ( For example- habitat loss, deforestation, desertification). (25-Nov-2014)


(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: i / line: 3)
Teams are allowed "one 3-ring binder.....The materials must be punched and inserted into the rings." During the competition, can materials be removed from the rings and the binder for easier access?
No- The last sentence states 'The materials must be punched and inserted (emphasis) into the rings (sheet protectors are allowed). (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 3 / paragraph: First / sub-paragraph: N/A / line: 4)
Can students be asked to identify a species that is on the official list using a fossil that only represents a portion of the body of the species?
Yes, students could be asked to identify incomplete specimens. Samples requiring identification should show specific features making identification reasonable. A bone fragment would usually not be enough to make a solid identification, but a tooth or claw might be. (21-Feb-2015)

Picture This
A TEAM OF: 3. should read A TEAM OF UP TO: 3. (29-Oct-2014)

(paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: none / line: 2)
After reading, it was my understanding that the team members will rotate when a correct term is given. Is that correct?
No, the team members will rotate drawing when a correct term is given or a word is passed. (13-Nov-2014)


(section: 12 / line: na)
Will LEGO Mindstorms (TM) EV3 robo-brick be allowed for the Robo-Cross?
There are no restrictions on which brand kit you use for robo-cross as long as all the rule requirements are met, particularly section 2 Construction Requirements. We cannot rule ahead of time whether your implementation of a particular kit or brand meets the requirements. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 2 / line: 1)
Must the robot always be in contact with the course (i.e. the robot has the capability to fly) at all times during the run?
No it doesn't have to stay in contact with the course, but if it flies it must do so in a safe manner (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 4 / paragraph: H / line: 3)
The diagram shows that there will be stacks of pennies. Will the pennies be glued together, rolled up with paper or separate?
The pennies will be loosely stacked and separate. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 6 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: all / line: all)
What is the maximum object score possible?
456, no time points, no robot points, no penalties. All objects (pennies, legos, ping pong balls, tennis ball) in their maximum scoring position. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 6 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 1,2)
Could you please give a scoring example of Robo-Cross with an example from Section 6 Paragraph b Sub-paragraph v.
The 2X bonus applies to ALL items of a given type if at least one item of that type is in each jug. Example, one ping pong ball in jug 1, one in jug 2 and two on the playfield in any zone. All four get the 2X bonus. Note, if a ball is in zone A or B two times zero is still zero of course. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 6 / paragraph: c / line: 1)
Is it within the spirit of the event to just grab one object, move it to zone C and call 'science' quickly (say 5 seconds) to maximize the time score?
Yes, if a team moves one object and calls a stop by saying "science", based upon rule 6.c., it is not a violation of the rules nor is it a Spirit of the Rules violation. (21-Feb-2015)

Simple Machines

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)
For the first class lever component, does the total length of the bar have to be less than 80 cm or the individual sides from the fulcrum?
For the class 1 lever the load point to effort point measurements must be less than or equal to 80.0 cm. The size of the the fulcrum is irrelevant to this measurement. (2014-10-27)

(section: 2 / paragraph: e / line: 6)
How many significant figures or decimal spots should the ratios be rounded to?
Mass ratio answers should be entered to the number of significant digits allowed by the Event Supervisor. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: vii / line: 1-2)
Does the ratio have to be simplified to a decimal value or are you allowed to leave it as a fractional value?
The ratio should be presented as a decimal value, unless otherwise authorized by the Event Supervisor. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 5 / paragraph: C / line: 1)
For simple machine, device portion of competition, when asking for the ratio, what format do the judges want the answer in, decimal, or fraction? I.e. "1:3" or "0.33" ?
The way the ratio is recorded will be up to the local event supervisor. (21-Feb-2015)

Wheeled Vehicle

(section: 1 / paragraph: 1 / line: 2)
Does the vehicle have to go AROUND the can or can it go over the can if it is tall enough as there is no height limit?
It must go around the can, vehicles are not permitted to pass over the can. (21-Feb-2015)

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1)
Can other parts of the vehicle (not the wheels) extend beyond the 25cm by 60cm rectangle in a ready to run configuration?
Yes, rule 3.c. applies only to the wheels. (22-Oct-2015)

Write It Do It (section: Compet / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: b / line: 1)
While writing can words be crossed off or erased if a mistake is made?
Yes, strikethroughs may be used to identify text that is not part of the completed instructions. Even though technically not acceptable since it cannot be made on a standard typewriter, students are not expected to perfectly write instructions and if mistakes are made, strikethroughs would identify that the text is NOT part of the written instructions ...therefore wouldn't be docked in scoring. (25-Nov-2014)

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 6)
Are underlines allowed to put emphasis on a word or phrase?
No, underlining is not something that can be done on a PC standard 101 key keyboard by pressing a single key or a single key in combination with the shift key. (21-Feb-2015)