Nationals Event Discussion

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windu34
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby windu34 » May 21st, 2018, 9:37 pm

Optics (10): 6/10. The laser shoot here was perfectly good. In fact, they carried it out better than almost any other competition I've been to. For once, I have no qualms with the laser shoot. The test was kind of meh. They had put the questions in a blue folder in sheet protectors, with strict instructions not to write on it. This would have been fine, but the sheet protectors were bound in the same order, so it was hard to efficiently split up the test or review your partner's answers. I found the test quite odd compared to last year. It was of course written by different test writers than last year, and you could tell. The first two thirds consisted of a mix of easy multiple choice, weird ray tracing, and an oddly worded question about floor mirrors (if you took it, you know what I mean). The last third consisted of out of place trivia questions and really easy absorption and reflection spectra questions. So essentially, the differentiating factor for top teams was probably the laser shoot and the weird ray tracing.
Now, only read this rant if you actually do optics. Ray tracing is normal. You always expect ray tracing. Maybe even two lens system ray tracing. Maybe even lens and mirror ray tracing (I've only seen it a couple times). But this seemed like poorly designed ray tracing. First of all, there was a disproportionate emphasis on it. About 4 questions required that you do it, and if I'm remembering correctly, 3 were 2-lens systems. Second of all, the answers were weird. According to ray tracing as well as math (unless we were doing both wrong, which is possible), some of the final images ended up inside lenses in the system. A correction had to be made as to the positioning of focal points in a diagram because their positioning was asymmetric. The final image ended up right next the intermediate image of some systems, making ray tracing messy and difficult. Maybe there is another method of two-lens system ray tracing that we don't get, but it felt really weird.
Im glad you enjoyed the laser shoot! I did not build it, but I ran it for you guys and really enjoyed seeing the way you approached it. It was definitely interesting to see how many of the teams in the top 6 used pretty different methods on the laser shoot, but nearly all in the top 6 did 5 mirrors + 1 barrier mirror. I will say the test was written by an ES who was not able to attend Nationals in the end and the ES doing the grading was very fair in how he approached grading the ray tracing and was pretty lenient with it, making sure to take into account the teams' intent and giving partial credit as such. Despite all accounts on here about how the test was not hard enough, it actually did do a pretty good job separating teams and the margins within the top 6 were wide enough IMO.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby CalColin » May 21st, 2018, 10:28 pm

Herpetology (4): The test, while it didn't seem very long, was much harder than I had anticipated. There were questions on stations where I had no clue about (especially the Ensatina and Eumeces stations). While the test did include an audio, it was included in a way such that it was very easy to guess it (they had an image and asked if the audio was from the same family). I feel like we had guessed at least 30% of the test. Overall, I'd give it an 8/10.
Hello! This is your event supervisor - I was the fella with the thick-rimmed glasses and black shirt. Congrats on your superb finish, you guys rocked it!

Glad you enjoyed the event. The other test writer and I agreed that we wanted a broad range of question difficulty. So while we expected almost everyone to know some questions, we also wrote a few "challenge questions" that we expected only a couple teams (at most) would be able to answer. I hope I was able to do that in Stations 11-20, which I wrote. I know which questions you're talking about on the Eumeces station - there were definitely a couple that were designed to be these challenge questions.

Party on!

(EDIT: Just to be totally clear to any onlookers, I ran Herp B. Herp C was an entirely different set of people.)
Last edited by CalColin on May 22nd, 2018, 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MissAmargasaurus
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby MissAmargasaurus » May 21st, 2018, 11:11 pm

Gosh, Saturday was a doozy! It was a lot of fun and congratulations to everyone who was able to participate in it this season.

Herpetology (30th): 4/10. It... was unfortunately definitely way too easy for a national level test. When I first heard 100 second stations I got really worried, but what ended up happening was we'd have questions answered almost immediately and just... wait around. I feel bad, since the ES was obviously very enthusiastic and proud. I do think it was organized very well though. I hope next year there will be more difficulty (more non-multiple choice questions, maybe 3-5 questions instead for 2 for each station, etc) and there will be a deserving herp test. On the other hand I am giving it a 4 for personal reasons of me being absolutely exhausted when doing it (final event of the day for me) and it was kind of nice to relax, and the one 'rest' station was a good idea.

Experimental Design (29th): 8/10. Definitely an improvement from last year. I'm VERY glad that it was made sure every team actually performed an experiment. I do wish the prompt was something harder though, or at least not so close to last year's one. I believe that the simple prompts are so the real competition is which team is best at knowing the rubric well, but something challenging would have been really nice. I think the thing with the goggles was weird though, I really wish it'd actually be required to wear them at all times like we're (I've always thought??) supposed to like the rules say.

Ecology (56th): 5/10. Probably my own fault for not studying the right things somehow, but I found a lot of the material to be too oddly specific and there weren't enough questions on other principles of ecology. Thee stations were weird for an event like this and 3 minutes wasn't enough time for us to complete the one station that required math, which probably caused our placing. It was a good test though, it just really needed a better format in order to shine.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby ScottMaurer19 » May 22nd, 2018, 4:37 am

Herpetology (4): The test, while it didn't seem very long, was much harder than I had anticipated. There were questions on stations where I had no clue about (especially the Ensatina and Eumeces stations). While the test did include an audio, it was included in a way such that it was very easy to guess it (they had an image and asked if the audio was from the same family). I feel like we had guessed at least 30% of the test. Overall, I'd give it an 8/10.
Hello! This is your event supervisor - I was the fella with the thick-rimmed glasses and black shirt. Congrats on your superb finish, you guys rocked it!

Glad you enjoyed the event. The other test writer and I agreed that we wanted a broad range of question difficulty. So while we expected almost everyone to know some questions, we also wrote a few "challenge questions" that we expected only a couple teams (at most) would be able to answer. I hope I was able to do that in Stations 11-20, which I wrote. I know which questions you're talking about on the Eumeces station - there were definitely a couple that were designed to be these challenge questions.

Party on!

(EDIT: Just to be totally clear to any onlookers, I ran Herp B. Herp C was an entirely different set of people.)
I'm pretty sure the Div B students I coach liked the test. If nothing else it was much bet than the state test which was only ~30 some questions and allowed them to show off their knowledge.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby megrimlockawesom » May 22nd, 2018, 8:25 am

Im still salty about Solon and Kennedy beating us in BB, but overall I am happy with my 3rd place in BB
Ok this is epic 8-)
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Kyanite » May 22nd, 2018, 9:34 am

Herpetology (16) 2/10 This test had the right idea but was far too light and far to general in the questions with specific answers. I felt as though the test writer was new to Scioly and didn't understand the level of expertise the competitors brought to the competition. Expecting an intense fast test as I had seen in past years I intentionally made my notes brief when compared to what was possible so that I could answer quickly and efficiently but the low number of questions, long time period to answer them, and the rather specific answers to very general questions made it very easy for all competitors with much larger binders to outpace me in sheer information. I know this experience has made me want to write tests for scioly tournaments and now that I am a grad I want to deliver the tests competitors deserve.

Rocks and Minerals (28) 8/10 I was expecting a more intense test with more overwhelming information and this test got close to delivering. I did enjoy the extra information given such as the hardness and specific gravity of individual specimens in the event but they were often offered on specimens that were already easy IDs. Overall it was an interesting test with great specimens but it could have been harder in order to differentiate the top placers.

Mission Possible (7) 9/10 I luckily did not have the same experience that Solon's mission had to go through and I enjoyed the proctors who occasionally played devil's advocate, as sticking to the rules is what makes events hard like Mission Possible hard and exciting as you never know whether or not to take risks.

Special thanks to all the event supervisors who worked so hard on these events, writing and proctoring events is a trying experience especially when you are under the intense scrutiny of the competitors and the expectations of everyone involved.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby 4Head » May 22nd, 2018, 10:09 am

Im still salty about Solon and Kennedy beating us in BB, but overall I am happy with my 3rd place in BB
heard u got lucky tho :?: :?: :?:
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby sciolyperson1 » May 22nd, 2018, 10:39 am

Im still salty about Solon and Kennedy beating us in BB, but overall I am happy with my 3rd place in BB
heard u got lucky tho :?: :?: :?:
hmmmm we got 5th oof :(
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby wbaker18 » May 22nd, 2018, 11:41 am

Remote Sensing (35): This test was similar to last years, with a lot of good physics questions and an overall understanding of the practical uses of remote sensing. All of the tests I've taken this year were pretty much just easy fill-in-the-blank/multiple choice, and so I definitely enjoyed taking this test more than some earlier ones. I definitely hurt myself by somewhat putting off this event because I decided that I wanted to go all in on Dynamic, but overall it was a good test. My only gripe was no tests I've taken in the past two years have been heavy on image interpretation, which in my opinion is the fundamental aspect of this event. 8/10

Optics (41): Man, I am going to be kicking myself for a long time about that laser shoot. My partner and I used six total reflectors (five mirrors plus the 45 barrier), and the barrier was the fourth reflector in our setup. However, our placement of the third mirror (right before the barrier) was somewhat impeded by another barrier, and I didn't check closely enough to make sure that the mirror was aligned properly with the second mirror (we were a bit time-crunched). Anyhow, the laser ended up clipping the edge of the third mirror and missing the barrier, hitting the wall at a point greater than 150 cm. That's gonna bother me for a long time, but the laser shoot was by far the best run with the best overall box that I've experienced in my one year with this event. The test was pretty standard and nothing special or especially interesting engaging, and the weird ray-tracing bothered me and my partner quite a bit, but overall the event was very well run (the people from UCF always do a fantastic job with regards to SO; see my conclusion for further UCF appreciation). 7/10

Dynamic Planet (5): I spent almost all of my time preparing for this event because historically it's been a) my favorite and b) my most successful, and I decided that as a senior I wanted to go all in on one event. However, the time I spent preparing for this event was pretty much all unnecessary as the test was composed of basically two sections: image identification and brain-dump. The image interpretation was almost all about crustal features and types and was pretty tedious, boring, and all in all, too much of the exam. The brain-dump, while I definitely enjoyed parts C and D (60% of the exam score), it didn't seem to test my knowledge of anything except the breakup of Pangea and the difference between the chemical and physical layers of the Earth. I'm almost certain that there was a new event supervisor, or at least a new test writer, this year, and I definitely enjoyed last year's test more because it was more difficult and involved much more critical interpretation of knowledge. This has been my favorite event in high school, and while I have no business complaining about medaling at my last tournament, I feel that this test could be somewhat improved. 5/10

Science Olympiad National Tournament 2018: Man, Colorado State has a beautiful campus. It was certainly a much nicer environment than the 420 miles of I-70 in Kansas, and I definitely appreciated finally being able to go east-to-west instead of west-to-east and gaining an hour of sleep instead of losing one. The opening ceremonies were a bit boring, and while I appreciated the brevity of the keynote speaker, it still left for something to be desired. However, the only better Opening Ceremonies I can think of was 2014 Orlando (definitely my favorite tournament over the seven years), but overall, this tournament was definitely second place (still a bit mad I had to choose between DP and Rocks). It has been a great seven years, and I think Colorado State was a great place to finally end my Science Olympiad competition career (although I guarantee I will continue to volunteer well into Division D). 9/10
Top-10 Nationals Events
2013: 9th in Forestry
2014: 3rd in Meteorology (Severe Storms)
2016: 4th in Dynamic Planet (Oceanography)
2017: 9th in Dynamic Planet (Tectonics), 9th in Hydrogeology
2018: 5th in Dynamic Planet (Tectonics)

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Anapolis » May 22nd, 2018, 4:45 pm

Crime busters (3): Ok I know people are giving good reviews for crime but personally I really disliked the test. I felt like it was too basic, there wasnt a large variety of powders, many were repeated. I also noticed a mixture of yeast and flour. For those of you who aren’t aware, yeast is not allowed to be in mixtures. The fingerprints were also highly debatable and slightly confusing as my partner and I discovered that two of the fingerprint cards were exactly the same. The analysis was also slightly confusing as it wasnt the usual format, instead there were spots for the competitor to list evidence that matches the suspect. This brings back another issue, as soo many of the powders were repeated, they didnt leave a clear culprit, as many people would then have powders found on them and at the crime scene. For example, while there was alot of evidence for Iris it could’ve all been potentially explained by the fact that she is Barry’s wife. The analysis was also only worth 18 points, with the evidence for each of the 5 suspects and the final statement worth only 3 points each. We ended up accusing Killer Frost due to the fact we found that her pen and fingerprint matched the ones found at the crime scene, hoping that because it was only worth three points it wouldn’t effect our score that much. Other than those things the test was ok, I appreciated that they gave high quality pictures of the hairs. I also liked the fact that they let us test our own fabrics and plastics, providing a candle for a burn test and liquids to identify plastics. 5/10
Fast facts (11): Sighh...just a warning beforehand I am a bit salty about this entire event. This test was kind of disappointing. This year the test was so much easier than last years. Because of the level of last year’s test my partner and I were expecting the es to bring it up a notch. We were preparing for an almost impossible test, trying to memorize the endless possibilities of categories that they could give. So when we were given simple and basic categories such as , “Measurment prefixes” or “Tools Found in a Lab” you could imagine our surprise. All the categories given just seemed too simple to be on a National level test. Even the last test which the es said they thiught was the hardest had pretty simple categories, only “Tectonic Plates” and the letters given were all given so that anyone with Any dp or knowledge about plate tectomics would be able to fill them out. Because of this I feel like there wasn’t much that could differentiate schools from each other. And they threw in the wild card category of “Superheroes that defy the laws of physics” which, in my opinion is definitely Not a category that should be given at this level of competition. :evil: 4/10
Road Scholar (6): I guess this test was ok, also on the easy side. We finished pretty fast. I did the topogtralhic section and I really liked the format similar to the 2015? national test (I’ll have to check) with the question and answer format instead of the story line format. I am kind of proud of my placement (as I took a big oof in 2017 and placed 19th :oops:) It could have more accuracy questions, like latitude/longitude instead of distance questions. Other than that, I think it had a good map drawing and profile, and one utm easting question. 8/10
Rocks and Minerals (6) The test was really good, although it seemed liked it was designed for us not to finish :roll: welp I should’ve gone faster or split up the test between my partner and I. The test had 10 stations with 4 minutes each. Although at first 4 minutes sounds like a Lot of time, it really isn't. Each station had about 10-20 id with follow up questions. I appreciated that they provided real samples that were all nice. They also had a variety of questions and it was a rather high level and well-rounded test. 9/10
Write it do it (6): A very long, complex build, run pretty well. My writer didn’t finish writing, but I finished building what he gave me with about seven minutes left to go. 9/10
(n)
crime 5
road 19 (oof)
(s/n)
fast facts 2/11
 rocks 2/6
 road 7/6
crime 2/3
widi 2/6
wright stuff (lol only did invies)


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