Here's a brief overview of the competition:
Science Olympiad is a team-based science competition with events ranging from so-called "study events" to "lab events" to the menacing "build events." Robot Arm was one of these "build events." The event consisted of building a Remote Controlled Robotic Arm to pick up as many objects and place them in containers made out of half gallon milk jugs to score as many points as possible during a 3 minute period of time.
This robot arm is clearly not the most sophisticated or most complicated robot arm ever made, but it gets the job done, while recycling parts, learning about Remote Control systems, and using common (and cheap!) building materials with a few motors to make a functional robot arm to pick up and move things around.
Step 1: Rules of the Competition
Science Olympiad is, as I stated previously, a team-based science competition. Competitions include Invitationals hosted by schools around the state, Regionals, State, and Nationals. According to the Science Olympiad National website, soinc.org, Science Olympiad has been around for 28 years, and "has led a revolution in science education." Teams, for Division C (high school division), are made up of 15 members, who participate in multiple events, usually with different partners for each event. Events range from "lab events", such as Chemistry Lab and Forensics, to "study events", such as Ornithology and Fossils, to "build events", such as Gravity Vehicle and Robot Arm.
For Robot Arm, specifically, the robot has specific construction parameters, required documentation, a specific competition area and competition details, and a unique scoring system, as the two rule sheets outline.