Science Olympics Northwestern Ontario

What is it?

Fun! Science! Mystery diagnosis! Teamwork! Feats of Engineering!

Science Olympics is a one day event, for grades 9 ,10, 11 & 12 students, made up of a series of problem solving events that require teams to apply their knowledge of science and engineering in creative and fun ways. Compete in a team of four, and win a prize! There's an Olympian in everyone!

  • Inspire and foster inquiry in science, engineering and technology, and mathematics.
  • Hone problem solving skills, and creative and critical thinking processes
  • Promote team work and collaboration
  • Provide interactive and hands-on learning experience

Northwestern Ontario Science Olympics is a joint venture among Youth Science Ontario, the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies, the Faculty of Education, and the Faculty of Engineering at Lakehead University.

When & Where?

Science Olympics will take place on November 22, 2019 at the Lakehead University Bora Laskin Building 955 Oliver Road, in Thunder Bay.  Registration begins at 8:30am in the lobby of the Bora Laskin Building.  At 9:00am, the teams will meet in the Auditorium. The first event takes place at 9:15am.  Lunch will be provided from 12:15pm to 12:55pm.  The presentation of awards will take place from 1:45pm to 2:30pm.

November 2019 – Descriptions for the Events

JUNIOR (Grades 9 & 10)

Event #1 - Long Distance Runner

Teams construct a balloon-powered vehicle using the materials supplied. The goal is to make the vehicle that travels the greatest distance on the gym floor. Teams will make two judged attempts. The team with the best attempt gains the highest score.

Event #2 – XTreme Chemistry

This chemistry crossword puzzle race will test what you know about the periodic table. Complete as much of it as possible in the time available. The team with the most correct responses gains the highest score.

Event #3 – Needling (Fruit and Vegetables)

We shall provide you with a selection of fruit and vegetables (fresh or dried) in sealed boxes. Each box will have a series of pre-drilled holes through which you will put a knitting needle. Probe using the knitting needle to explore and describe the structure of the fruit or vegetable with the greatest possible detail, and identify of the contents of the box.

Common Event #4 Engineering Challenge

This culminating challenge sees teams building a device to perform a specific task using only the materials provided in exactly 50 minutes.

SENIOR (GRADES (11 & 12)

Event #1 – Dante’s Peek

Your research team has been conducting an aerial survey of an active volcano and has crashed into the side of the mountain. You must reconstruct your aircraft from the parts in the crash (which, although completely dismantled, have miraculously not broken). The mountain is expected to erupt in 40 minutes.

Event #2 – Cell Multiplication

We shall provide you with a series of photographs or slides of cells. You will make calculations of growth based on mitotic or meiotic division. This will be done without the aid of any calculating devices.

Event #3 – Chemistry Compound Boggle

Teams receive randomly created 4 x 4 arrays of element symbols. They have 10 minutes to locate and write the formulae of as many compounds as they can, supplying brackets and subscripts where appropriate, using any sequence of horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent elements. A chemical name must be given to each compound using the I.U.P.A.C. system for inorganic nomenclature. We use three different arrays, with the highest scoring group gaining the most points for the event. To see examples look at:

Common Event #4 Engineering Challenge

This culminating challenge sees teams building a device to perform a specific task using only the materials provided in exactly 50 minutes. 


Get your school involved! Only $10 per student (includes lunch, snacks, and t-shirt). Each school is permitted to submit entries for two junior (grades 9 & 10) and for two senior (grades 11 & 12) teams. Each team will consist of 4 students.


Thanks to our sponsors!

Lakehead University wordmark

Youth Science Ontario logo



If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Science Olympics in Thunder Bay please contact us!

Contact Us

For more information please contact Dr. Todd Randall,  Dean of Science and Environmental Studies by email: or by telephone: 343-8711.

A big thanks to all our committee members:

  • Dr. Todd Randall  (Dean of Science and Environmental Studies)
  • Dr. Wayne Melville ( Dean of Education)
  • Dr. Hassan Naser (Acting Dean of Engineering)

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Fermi questions are well-defined problems that can be solved through estimation and approximation. Teams will solve 25 problems in 40 minutes. The event will take place in the gym. Calculators, computers, cell phones, or any other device, including crib sheets, lists of constants, formulae, etc., are not permitted. Pencils and scratch paper will be provided. There will be a local focus to some of the questions.