NC Science Olympiad
2017 Optics
Division: B - Middle School
C - High School
NC Standard Course of Study Alignment  
Scoresheet: 2017 Optics Score Sheet
National Event Page: Optics

Teams should be prepared to complete lab activities in the testing portion of this event. 12/12/16

Description: There are 2 major components to this event, a series of tasks and questions regarding geometric and physical optics, and a laser shoot.   For the question/task portion, teams may be presented with charts/diagrams, materials and testing equipment, models, written descriptions, etc. at stations or as a sit down test.  They will then be asked to answer questions, perform tasks, draw diagrams, demonstrate a concept, and otherwise interpret the information they are given. For the laser shoot, teams will have 4 minutes to view and measure a laser field (provided by event leader) and reflect a laser beam with mirrors to hit a target.

Materials: Teams MUST bring a writing instrument. Teams may also bring 2 calculators of any sort, tape measures, templates, rulers, and/or protractors. Teams may also bring one 3-ring binder (any size) of any information they choose. Information in the binder MUST be attached to the rings or it will not be allowed.

Event Leaders will provide all testing equipment and materials required to complete the test, the Laser Shoot Surface, laser, and mirrors/barricade, the official test and answer sheet.

High score wins. Points are given for the accuracy and quality of answers.  Predetermined questions will be used to break ties.

Common Mistakes:

  • Many teams attempt to enter the competition every year with notes that do not meet the requirements. Make sure binder is 3-ring, and make sure all notes are attached to all 3 rings.


  • For note pages that are too small to fit on all 3 rings, copy to enlarge or use a sheet protector.

Event Resources:
2016 Coaches Institute Presentation (2017 rules)
Powerpoint from Coaches Institute (2011 rules)
Optics Lesson 0 - Getting Started

Optics Lesson 1 - Reflection
Optics Lesson 2 - Refraction
Lens optics
Lenses Descriptions

Physics Virtual Lab - Optics
Optical Illusions
Optical Illusions 2
Optical Illusions 3
Fresnel Lens and Polarization Film Sheets
Gel Film Color Sheets

Gel Film Color Sheets 2
Source for Lenses, Prisms, Gratings, Polarizing Film, Educational Optics
Source for Supplemental Material
Make Your Own Spectroscope - From NASA

Photo and Video:

Video Optics B Laser Shoot Setup
Optics B clip from actual competition showing timed measurement and placement of mirror for LSS part of score. Note: These boxes are missing a laser wall. The boxes used in NC will have 4 walls.
Optics C Laser Shoot Setup
A simple spectroscope, light enters through the slit (diffraction grating) in the end of the tube and separates the light into its visible spectrum. Placing colored filters over the end changes the spectrum that is able to enter the tube.
Bill Nye: The Eyeball
Bill Nye: An Introduction to optics
The material on this website is property of North Carolina Science Olympiad.