Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

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Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby sciolyatmit » June 18th, 2018, 7:12 pm

We are pleased to announce that the fifth annual MIT Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2019, on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Registration will open in mid-September. You can visit us at scioly.mit.edu to get up to date information on our tournament and sign up for our mailing list to get more information.
All of the team-friendly and coach-friendly features of the 2018 tournament will be back in full force. We'll run all 23 Division C national events, including lab and engineering events, with a schedule mirroring the National Tournament schedule as closely as possible. All events will be written, reviewed, and run by Science Olympiad alumni currently at MIT, national tournament event supervisors, and/or former Science Olympiad competitors from the highest levels of competition. This means that coaches will not be required to write tests or otherwise volunteer at the invitational, leaving them free to focus solely on coaching their own teams. And, of course, competitors will experience the beauty and craziness of MIT.
We are incredibly proud that the 2018 MIT Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament attracted teams from across the United States. Seven of the top fifteen teams at this year’s National Tournament attended our invitational. We are also proud to have hosted a bevy of new and up-and-coming teams for whom the MIT invitational was one of their first invitationals, giving them a rare chance to field-test their teamwork and skills in advance of their respective state tournaments. As always, we will strive to make every event challenging yet accessible to all.
Early on, the founders of Science Olympiad at MIT decided that the directorship of the MIT tournament would change each year to encourage fresh thinking and ensure the sustainability of the organization. As we say goodbye and good luck to Katie Shade (class of 2018) in her future endeavors, we are also excited to announce that Alice Lin (2020) will be joining Joshua Segaran (2019) as co-director for this year’s tournament.
The goal of Science Olympiad at MIT remains to enrich the Science Olympiad experience of high school students across the country. To that end, we hope to see you all at the tournament in January!
Happy Summer!
Last edited by pikachu4919 on August 28th, 2018, 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » August 28th, 2018, 5:59 pm

Per the website, the tournament date has been changed to January 12th. (yay for site monitoring tools!)
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » August 28th, 2018, 6:47 pm

Unome wrote:Per the website, the tournament date has been changed to January 12th. (yay for site monitoring tools!)


I can confirm they announced the date change over email as well...
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » August 29th, 2018, 4:29 am

I wonder if Troy will send one team to MIT and one team to Mira Loma - it's not like the competition level at Mira Loma provides a serious challenge to them (having finished 1st and 2nd for the last two years).

The Centerville conflict may or may not draw away Solon and/or Mason - Mason may choose MIT if they think that going there last year had a significant impact on their success (notably, that was the only invitational at which their teams weren't split), and Solon may do so just because they have so many invitationals planned that the loss of Centerville isn't going to matter too much (the original MIT date would have conflicted with Kenston). Either might choose Centerville if they think it might be more beneficial to compete against Centerville and Mentor in preparation for Ohio state.

The conflict with Valley Forge will likely draw away several PA teams. I'm not certain about Harriton though - they usually send an underclassmen team to Valley Forge anyway, and have historically only brought one team to MIT, so they might send teams to both.

I don't think the conflict with Rice is going to have much of an effect on the attendance of the Texas teams - they've skipped in-state invitationals for MIT in the past.

Fairfax obviously isn't going to be there, since their own invitational conflicts.

The date change does remove conflicts with Duke and Brookwood, which would likely bring in Enloe and Chattahoochee, as well as possibly Brookwood.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » August 29th, 2018, 9:45 am

Unome wrote:The Centerville conflict may or may not draw away Solon and/or Mason - Mason may choose MIT if they think that going there last year had a significant impact on their success (notably, that was the only invitational at which their teams weren't split), and Solon may do so just because they have so many invitationals planned that the loss of Centerville isn't going to matter too much (the original MIT date would have conflicted with Kenston). Either might choose Centerville if they think it might be more beneficial to compete against Centerville and Mentor in preparation for Ohio state.


I can tell you that Solon HS is closely examining all of our options and that my personal goal is to ensure we are well prepared for the state tournament. If Mason and/or Mentor opt to stay in Ohio and compete at Centerville, that would be a hard opportunity to pass up. We shall see how things play out...
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » September 1st, 2018, 11:05 am

nicholasmaurer wrote:
Unome wrote:The Centerville conflict may or may not draw away Solon and/or Mason - Mason may choose MIT if they think that going there last year had a significant impact on their success (notably, that was the only invitational at which their teams weren't split), and Solon may do so just because they have so many invitationals planned that the loss of Centerville isn't going to matter too much (the original MIT date would have conflicted with Kenston). Either might choose Centerville if they think it might be more beneficial to compete against Centerville and Mentor in preparation for Ohio state.


I can tell you that Solon HS is closely examining all of our options and that my personal goal is to ensure we are well prepared for the state tournament. If Mason and/or Mentor opt to stay in Ohio and compete at Centerville, that would be a hard opportunity to pass up. We shall see how things play out...


Update: Solon HS will be going to Centerville.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Alex-RCHS » September 3rd, 2018, 9:22 pm

Was there any reason given for the change?

nicholasmaurer wrote:
nicholasmaurer wrote:
Unome wrote:The Centerville conflict may or may not draw away Solon and/or Mason - Mason may choose MIT if they think that going there last year had a significant impact on their success (notably, that was the only invitational at which their teams weren't split), and Solon may do so just because they have so many invitationals planned that the loss of Centerville isn't going to matter too much (the original MIT date would have conflicted with Kenston). Either might choose Centerville if they think it might be more beneficial to compete against Centerville and Mentor in preparation for Ohio state.


I can tell you that Solon HS is closely examining all of our options and that my personal goal is to ensure we are well prepared for the state tournament. If Mason and/or Mentor opt to stay in Ohio and compete at Centerville, that would be a hard opportunity to pass up. We shall see how things play out...


Update: Solon HS will be going to Centerville.

Do you know if Mason and/or Mentor will be competing at Centerville?
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » September 4th, 2018, 5:43 am

Alex-RCHS wrote:Was there any reason given for the change?


There was a conflicting event on campus on 1/19/19.

Alex-RCHS wrote:Do you know if Mason and/or Mentor will be competing at Centerville?


Unofficially: I believe Mason is going to Centerville, and Mentor to MIT. However, I don't want to speak for either team - it's always possible their plans have changed since I last spoke with them.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » September 5th, 2018, 4:25 pm

For those who have not yet heard (probably plenty of people, since the news is about an hour old on FB), MIT has changed their registration acceptance policy:

Science Olympiad at MIT wrote:In light of the rapidly decreasing registration times we have seen in the past few years, we have decided to transition towards a tiered lottery system to allow a diverse pool of competitors while still maintaining the rigor of our tournament. Schools will be lotteried according to the highest ranked tier they are in. If a school is not selected by lottery from the highest tier they are initially placed in, they will be dropped to the next tier that they qualify for and will be lotteried once more. The tiers are listed below:

1. Top 10 teams at the MIT Invitational in the previous year: all ten teams will be automatically accepted if they submit an application
2. Schools qualifying for Nationals in the previous year: out of the teams that submit an application, 15 teams will be chosen by lottery. Teams that qualify for Tier 2 but do not make it as a Tier 2 team are added Tier 4.
3. Massachusetts Schools: 20 teams will be selected from this pool ensuring that at least 20 Massachusetts teams are able to come to our competition. Teams that qualify for Tier 3 but do not make it as a Tier 3 team are added Tier 4.
4. General pool: depending on how many spots are remaining, schools will be selected by a lottery process

Schools that would like to bring two teams can fill out a brief application regarding why they need to bring two teams— the applications will be reviewed to make sure as many people are satisfied as possible. Tier 2, 3, and 4 are randomly selected from the applicants at the end of every week until the all the slots are full. The cutoff for the first selection is 11:59PM Friday, September 21st. If there are any spots still available after the first selection, the next selection will be held approximately one week later. Please apply as early as you can.


As a graduate of last year's 10th place school yet 11th place team (Troy B :cry: ), I'm curious to hear some clarification on the exact definition of tier 1.

Also note, Montgomery, Mentor, and Conestoga (13th, 14th, and 15th place schools) are all tier 4.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » September 5th, 2018, 4:33 pm

That's a very interesting policy. I like the emphasis on Massachusetts teams; I do think they could think about expanding that policy to apply to all of New England, but it's definitely a nice move from such an in-demand tournament.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » September 5th, 2018, 4:56 pm

EastStroudsburg13 wrote:That's a very interesting policy. I like the emphasis on Massachusetts teams; I do think they could think about expanding that policy to apply to all of New England, but it's definitely a nice move from such an in-demand tournament.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that for the majority of local or semi-local teams, going to MIT isn't worth it (especially with Harvard and Brown right there, and Yale somewhat close by). Based on my experience, very few teams finishing in the bottom half overall get anything useful out of most MIT tests.

Interesting thought - Harvard is clearly intending to focus on local teams. If MIT and Harvard were on the same day, that may help alleviate some of the stress on MIT's capacity.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » September 5th, 2018, 5:20 pm

Unome wrote:
EastStroudsburg13 wrote:That's a very interesting policy. I like the emphasis on Massachusetts teams; I do think they could think about expanding that policy to apply to all of New England, but it's definitely a nice move from such an in-demand tournament.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that for the majority of local or semi-local teams, going to MIT isn't worth it (especially with Harvard and Brown right there, and Yale somewhat close by). Based on my experience, very few teams finishing in the bottom half overall get anything useful out of most MIT tests.

Interesting thought - Harvard is clearly intending to focus on local teams. If MIT and Harvard were on the same day, that may help alleviate some of the stress on MIT's capacity.

I brought up the idea last year of Harvard and MIT working in tandem to provide this sort of two-tiered tournament experience. It would be something truly unique and would be fantastic for the Science Olympiad community, in my mind. I am not sure if any discussions happened, though.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » September 6th, 2018, 6:38 pm

After a day to chew on the policy in more depth, I'm beginning to think that increased difficulty in getting a second team combined with a lot of the 11th-20th finishing teams being in tier 4 for the lottery may be a driver in pushing some teams away from MIT. Lack of a good way to handle extremely high demand may be what eventually removes their status as the most competitive invitational (although it's certainly very early to speculate on that, when we haven't even seen how registration is going this year yet).
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » September 6th, 2018, 8:30 pm

Unome wrote:After a day to chew on the policy in more depth, I'm beginning to think that increased difficulty in getting a second team combined with a lot of the 11th-20th finishing teams being in tier 4 for the lottery may be a driver in pushing some teams away from MIT. Lack of a good way to handle extremely high demand may be what eventually removes their status as the most competitive invitational (although it's certainly very early to speculate on that, when we haven't even seen how registration is going this year yet).


Personally, I think we often forget that the very word invitational implies the host has the ability to be selective: teams are invited, not guaranteed a spot. If MIT wanted to simply maintain their status as the most competitive tournament, they could have a merit-based or invitation-only registration system. Either they did not consider that option, or decided it did not fit with their mission/goals.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Alex-RCHS » September 7th, 2018, 8:52 am

Unome wrote:After a day to chew on the policy in more depth, I'm beginning to think that increased difficulty in getting a second team combined with a lot of the 11th-20th finishing teams being in tier 4 for the lottery may be a driver in pushing some teams away from MIT. Lack of a good way to handle extremely high demand may be what eventually removes their status as the most competitive invitational (although it's certainly very early to speculate on that, when we haven't even seen how registration is going this year yet).

One possible way to alleviate the difficulty of returning for teams ranked 11th-20th would be to have some way of weighing Tier 4. Perhaps teams that attended MIT or nationals last year get higher chances of being selected based on their results.

I would also like to see Tier 1 extend to the top 10 at nationals, or schools who placed in the top 10 at nationals and attended MIT. It seems odd to limit it to only the top schools attending MIT in the previous year. I understand the goal of rewarding loyalty/attendance, but there are some teams (Enloe this year, Clements last year) that placed top-10 at nationals but not at MIT and therefore will be in Tier 4.
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