The first ever recorded Science Olympiad competition was held on November 23, 1974 at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Fifteen schools participated in this day-long event. David Wetmore published an article in January 1978 to document the success of the event and recruitment of more students for the competition. After hearing much about this competition, teacher John C. Cairns and a colleague decided to cooperate together to start the first Science Olympiad at Delaware State University. Soon several articles began to describe much about the event, and Dr. Gerand Putz proposed that the competition be spread across the whole country. Creating two successful events at Michigan, Putz and Cairns planned to create a National Tournament. The first National Science Olympiad took place in Michigan State University, which turned out to be an outstanding success. Since then, the Science Olympiad program has greatly expanded to all the states.
In this competition, students compete in 23 events, divided into three categories: Concepts and Knowledge, Processes and Thinking Skills, Application and Technology. Usually each event includes two participants working together as a team to succeed. Science Olympiad has four divisions for grades K-3, 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12. Each team of 15 students is hosted by a school from which the participants attend. During the competition, each team receives a certain amount of points based on their ranking on the scores of their tests/events. The event supervisors add up the points of each event and announce the score for each school. The team with the least amount points wins 1st place. The competition includes regional, state and national competition, each gradually increasing difficulty. The most prestigious team from each state become representatives and competes against other states’ teams.