NC Science Olympiad
Backyard Biologist 2017
Division: A - Elementary
NC Essential Standards Alignment: 2.L.1, 3.L.2, 6.L.1
Official Event Rules: Backyard Biologist rules Official Species List *updated 1/10/16 (we fixed some typos)


Description: This event is typically run as stations. It may also be run as a sit-down test with pictures and diagrams. Teams will answer questions and complete tasks related to living organisms that students may encounter in their own backyards such as trees, plants, and insects. Teams will be required to identify organisms from a provided list, know about the habitat and conditions required for growth of the organisms, and which ones are North Carolina State symbols. See the official rules for a complete listing of topics.

Materials: Teams MUST bring a writing instrument. They may also bring up to 2 field guides and/or binders. (This means 2 guides, or 2 binders, or a guide and a binder.) They may also bring 2 hand lenses.

Event leaders will provide a hands-on event with all necessary items, objects, materials, questions, and response sheets for participants to complete stations. Examples include but are not limited to: drawings, scenarios, questions, leaves, photographs, and specimens.

Scoring: Points will be awarded for the accuracy of responses. Ties wll be broken by the accuracy or quality of responses to questions chosen by the event leader.

Common Mistakes:

Recommendations: Students should collect, identify, and press leaves and plant parts for studying purposes since the event stations may contain actual plant parts.

Event Resources:
See Official Event Rules for the Official Specimen List
Backyard Biologist test from 2015 (birds and plants)

FREE, really good, printable tree guide
FREE really good ebook on species of the Southeast
Tree id app - scroll to the bottom of the webpage
NCSU / NC Cooperative Extension Tree Fact Sheets
Plant Information Center: North Carolina Trees
Plants by Janice VanCleave
The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds
The Teachers Guide- Lesson plans on Plants
Learn NC -Lesson plans on Plant Growth
Project Learning Tree
Missouri Botanical Garden         
Carolina Nature: Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of NC        
NC Natural: Wildflowers and Plants of NC
Great series of YouTube videos about leaf identification
LeafSnap - an Apple app that lets you take a picture of a plant and get an identification. Sorry, no Android version yet.

Pictures and Video:

Video: Flower presses can be bought, made cheaply, or made free. They are useful to preserve flowers and leaves for further study. Pressing the flowers dries them without ruining the color or shape, and leaves you with a flat specimen that can be mounted inside a sheet protector or laminated to make your own study guide. Simply stack the flowers and leaves between paper towels, apply pressure, and a few days later you'll have your own collection.


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