CTST Welcomes You

Updated September 28, 2020

The Central Texas Science Team (CTST) is a science team for elementary, middle, and high school age students, both homeschooled and traditionally schooled.

We are passionate about helping our students grow for the long-term, in science knowledge and personal management skills, while having fun and exploring exciting science.

Our team management approach centers on the strength of collective wisdom. Everyone, parents and students alike, are invited to participate in any committee and in all planning.

Offerings

CTST continues to expand our offerings as we follow our mission to inspire and students to have enthusiasm for science.  We have the science experience to help you get through this year of uncertainties, from classes to competitions to field research.  Check us out!

We offer the following (described in detail below this list)

  • Elementary, middle, and high school club based applied science activities
  • Middle and high school competitive science
  • Block study classes and workshops developed from Science Olympiad events
  • Costa Rica field research (10 day summer trip)
  • Guest presentation series
  • Networking with local STEM professionals
  • Entrepreneur and tinkerer/Maker activities
Meetings:

All meetings will be virtual this fall, and we will assess Spring plans later in the fall season.

Eligibility:

All of our offerings, while originally designed for our local homeschooling families, are open to participation by families doing online school.  The only exception is Science Olympiad, for which national rules require that we field only a homeschool team of members in Hays and Travis counties.  For all of our other offerings and presentations, we welcome everyone.

Elementary:

Our elementary club meets weekly for applied science activities based on the Science Olympiad model.  As we accommodate Covid19 limitations we will be meeting via Zoom this fall, with the Spring season to be reassessed.  Please refer to our calendar below for the schedule of monthly topics.  Our elementary club is structured like a parent co-op, and parents take turns leading activities.  Parents have the flexibility of using our lesson plans from Science Olympiad or creating their own activities.

Middle and High School competitive science offerings:
Science Olympiad:  www.soinc.org.  All competitions are virtual for the 2020-2021 season.  Our team, though small, has qualified for the state competition every year since we formed.  More than 200 schools in each division (middle and high school) strive to qualify for state and most are large well-funded teams many times the size of our team.  Despite our small size, we have performed very well at the state competition, ranking in the top 10 as a team, and our students regularly medal in their events.  We are proud to have helped empower dozens of students to become confident as scientists; through Olympiad, which is based on applied science, they do become scientists.
Genius Olympiad:  https://geniusolympiad.org/.  GENIUS Olympiad is an international high school project competition about environmental issues and competitors are not limited to science in their entries. It is founded and organized by Terra Science and Education and hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology. GENIUS Olympiad will host projects in five general disciplines with an environmental focus:  writing, science, robotics, business, art, short film, music.  Genius Olympiad is structured like a science fair, with an application period through winter and one competition submission in the spring.
Other science competitions:  as our students identify and enter individual competitions, we will provide networking and mentoring.  Some of these other competitions include https://www.societyforscience.org/regeneron-sts/https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/google-science-fair/, Biology Olympiad, CodeWars, USA Computing Olympiad.
Middle and High School NON competitive offerings:
  • Middle School science club.  Middle school students can participate in the same activities as our Science Olympiad team, without the additional event and competition preparation.  Please see the calendar below for the monthly topics.
  • Costa Rica Summer Field Research:  https://www.facebook.com/ctstcostarica/.   We are the Texas extension of this program originated by Seeds of Change.  Each summer, we take a group of 16 students to participate in rainforest field research, specifically in leaf cutter ant research and tropical field research.  We do this field research at La Anita Rainforest Ranch (https://www.laanitarainforestranch.com/), guided by scientists who are world leaders in this field of study.  This is the only field research of its kind in the US. This is for high school aged students in school, alternative school, or homeschooled.  The 2021 trip dates are June 20-30.
  • Entrepreneur / Maker / Tinkerer / Innovater:  CTST has always had a goal of offering space / mentoring to DIYers, explorers, tinkerers.  We fulfilled this for several years by having a booth at the Austin Maker Faire.  Specific plans for this branch are evolving but we are moving forward with intent to offer this branch of science exploration this year.
  • Networking and guest speakers:  We have a calendar of speakers, through Zoom in the fall and hopefully in person in the spring.  We particularly want to connect our high school students with STEM professionals in their fields of interest.
Meetings:

All of our teams – elementary, noncompetitive, and competitive, will be following the same monthly topic schedule, below. We are following the MY SO plan that Science Olympiad put together specifically to help teams navigate science during the pandemic.

Calendar:

October: Space
November: Circuits
December: Weather
January: Anatomy & Physiology
February: Structures
March: Forensics
April: Plants
May: Engineering

Each month has lesson plans and video interviews with experts in that field. Middle and high school students have an option to take a Science Olympiad test at the end of the month (on a certain day and time, so that the Olympiad students can test their competitiveness and be ranked on their national leaderboard).