Nationals Event Discussion

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EastStroudsburg13
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » May 23rd, 2018, 7:29 pm

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby DHess » May 23rd, 2018, 7:45 pm

Ashernoel wrote:Astronomy (6): Of all the astronomy tests I've ever taken, this was definitely the best. Astronomy is my favorite event, without a doubt and by many miles, and I only wish that I could have done better, both for me but also for my partner who worked so hard after joining Science Olympiad this year to master the DSOs. I only touched sections B and C, but both were theoretical with the, in my opinion, harder free response or derivation type questions than classic plug and chug of many astro tests. Admittedly, due to a combination of fatigue and lack of preparation in that regard, I did get tripped up on the binary orbits question and landed a flat 2/20. I had given up all hope of placing within the top 20, knowing that I had missed the last JS9 question and a few others, and could have tanked the team. My partner complained about the easy DSO section and lack of arxiv questions after the test, which could be taken as an area of improvement. I did the DSO section last year and agree that they can leave something to be desired. A few questions from research papers mixed in with the classic Donna questions could go a long way in making people feel good about their countless hours researching the objects. Especially because it is so common for one person to hyper focus on DSOs in this event, that section of the test could do with more theory and less ambiguity usually afforded to it by the HR diagram questions. In the end, we somehow medalled and did not tank our team, which was as much as a surprise as it was welcome. I can't wait for the galaxies test next year! 100/10

Hovercraft (2): From what I saw, the event supervisor checked all the boxes: the test could stratify teams, the tracks were well made, and the hovercraft's were run promptly almost as a "show," where the teams were announced to the room of wide-eyed spectators like gladiators or something awesome. I remember having to quell my own excitement after "New Trier" was declared to the crowd so that I could focus on avoiding the misfortunes of last year and making sound and precise decisions about my device's settings. The volunteer who was timing my run on Track 3 was knowledgeable and supportive, both before and after my successful runs, and his positivity was greatly welcomed as I was still recovering from the emotional hole of the Astronomy orbital problem (oops). After the device ran, the test went smoothly. My partner covered most of the elementary physics problems, and I focused my attention on the fluids and free response. We noticed that the event supervisor seemed to create a test that was a conglomeration from many different sources, as the value for gravity changed throughout the test (lol). Also, some of the sig figs felt ambiguous in the free response with the diagrams and different sig fig rules. I think I messed up when doing the fountain problem and it cost us the gold, but in end I'm very happy with our showing and thrilled with retiring this event on such a high note. 8/10
Details about my run: 16 pennies and a 15.72 run time with a 15s target time. 41.5/42 Build score.

Thermodynamics (2): The event was run flawlessly, period. A notoriously hard event to supervise well, being either awkward or unenjoyable at many major invitationals, the supervisors knew exactly what they were doing (using syringes) and made sure each team had the same starting conditions and time to take the test. The test, too, did not disappoint. The history questions actually tested the extent of my notes and had a little on everything. After 1-40, I jumped to the last free response and was confused by the thermal conductivity question (when SA was not given?) but otherwise found them as simple problems that should be accessible to all teams, but also I did not do many free response and my partner could have been destroying the hard ones while I did 1-40. In considering the ice bonus and my heat retention, I think it could have hurt the most competitive scores because the addition of ice (O degree @ 50ml) would almost instantly lower the starting temperature to around 40 when a 38 degree inner beaker was necessary to get over 15 points with the bonus. It also lowers the denominator in the prediction score and could end up increasing error if off by the same margin. I'm looking forward to this event next year! 10/10
Details about my run: 1.85 Heat retention factor (assuming ~15 Heat retention score) and 24.8 Prediction score. 39.8/40 Build score.

Mission Possible (4): After a season filled with bombs, errors, breaks, and mission greatly underperforming, including at state, everything finally came together for nationals and, other than a timer that went a little quickly at the high altitude and 1 broken task, our mission did as well as it could have. In terms of hours, I probably spent the most time on this event, working 2-3+ hours for the first few months after deciding to pick it up in early december until the mechanics of the device were working properly. My partner pulled through, too, in making 3 PCBs for the circuit based tasks, just in case the other two were to break (of which 1 did!). The event supervisor seemed cynical as he judged but he was also knowledgeable and understood the workings behind every task. 8/10
Details about my run: 1530 points, 96s timer.

Overall, nationals was an amazing experience, from the team hiking to the post astro reflections, and I know that both I and New Trier will come back stronger next year :D


When you say your partner made 3 PCBs do you mean like the perma proto boards or an actual PCB like the computer printed circuit board kind.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Ashernoel » May 23rd, 2018, 7:48 pm

DHess wrote:
Ashernoel wrote:Mission Possible (4): After a season filled with bombs, errors, breaks, and mission greatly underperforming, including at state, everything finally came together for nationals and, other than a timer that went a little quickly at the high altitude and 1 broken task, our mission did as well as it could have. In terms of hours, I probably spent the most time on this event, working 2-3+ hours for the first few months after deciding to pick it up in early december until the mechanics of the device were working properly. My partner pulled through, too, in making 3 PCBs for the circuit based tasks, just in case the other two were to break (of which 1 did!). The event supervisor seemed cynical as he judged but he was also knowledgeable and understood the workings behind every task. 8/10
Details about my run: 1530 points, 96s timer.

Overall, nationals was an amazing experience, from the team hiking to the post astro reflections, and I know that both I and New Trier will come back stronger next year :D


When you say your partner made 3 PCBs do you mean like the perma proto boards or an actual PCB like the computer printed circuit board kind.


Actual. PCBs. The bank was broken.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby 5uper5tring » May 23rd, 2018, 7:58 pm

windu34 wrote:
5uper5tring wrote:" One thing I especially liked was how they handled the covers for the mirrors: you were allowed to place the mirror on the LSS without the cover as long as you put the cover on immediately after. A lot of the time, the covers can interfere with being able to place the mirrors accurately, so this appeared to be a fair solution that still prevented teams from cheating by looking in the mirrors." --> Very surprised to hear this. Did the event organizer tell this to all the teams? My students did not know that they could place the mirrors without the cover. The covers were like thick shells and I am sure our team would have scored much better had they known that they could place the mirror without the cover.

The covers were not attached to the mirrors so they had to be placed independently (not really any other option). I was one of the LS supervisors and Adi1008 did not compete at my LS box so therefore that other supervisor was also following the same procedure as I was (there were only 2 boxes). You may have been misinformed by your students. They were allowed to place the mirror on the board, position it and make any adjustments, and then were told to place the bent index card in such a way it covered the mirror. This was not a struggle for any of the ~30 teams I observed.
Teams were given direct instructions right before doing the LS including how the covers were to be placed.


Were division C and division B run by different people and and did they have different LSS setups for the 2 divisions? My students were in div B. They were told not to remove the covers. The covers were also not "bent index cards". They were 3d printed thick plastic shells.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby windu34 » May 23rd, 2018, 8:08 pm

5uper5tring wrote:
windu34 wrote:
5uper5tring wrote:" One thing I especially liked was how they handled the covers for the mirrors: you were allowed to place the mirror on the LSS without the cover as long as you put the cover on immediately after. A lot of the time, the covers can interfere with being able to place the mirrors accurately, so this appeared to be a fair solution that still prevented teams from cheating by looking in the mirrors." --> Very surprised to hear this. Did the event organizer tell this to all the teams? My students did not know that they could place the mirrors without the cover. The covers were like thick shells and I am sure our team would have scored much better had they known that they could place the mirror without the cover.

The covers were not attached to the mirrors so they had to be placed independently (not really any other option). I was one of the LS supervisors and Adi1008 did not compete at my LS box so therefore that other supervisor was also following the same procedure as I was (there were only 2 boxes). You may have been misinformed by your students. They were allowed to place the mirror on the board, position it and make any adjustments, and then were told to place the bent index card in such a way it covered the mirror. This was not a struggle for any of the ~30 teams I observed.
Teams were given direct instructions right before doing the LS including how the covers were to be placed.


Were division C and division B run by different people and and did they have different LSS setups for the 2 divisions? My students were in div B. They were told not to remove the covers. The covers were also not "bent index cards". They were 3d printed thick plastic shells.

Ah yes I ran Div. C which Adi1008 competed in. Div. B was run by an independent set of supervisors.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby FermiGod » May 23rd, 2018, 8:25 pm

Ashernoel wrote:
DHess wrote:
Ashernoel wrote:Mission Possible (4): After a season filled with bombs, errors, breaks, and mission greatly underperforming, including at state, everything finally came together for nationals and, other than a timer that went a little quickly at the high altitude and 1 broken task, our mission did as well as it could have. In terms of hours, I probably spent the most time on this event, working 2-3+ hours for the first few months after deciding to pick it up in early december until the mechanics of the device were working properly. My partner pulled through, too, in making 3 PCBs for the circuit based tasks, just in case the other two were to break (of which 1 did!). The event supervisor seemed cynical as he judged but he was also knowledgeable and understood the workings behind every task. 8/10
Details about my run: 1530 points, 96s timer.

Overall, nationals was an amazing experience, from the team hiking to the post astro reflections, and I know that both I and New Trier will come back stronger next year :D


When you say your partner made 3 PCBs do you mean like the perma proto boards or an actual PCB like the computer printed circuit board kind.


Actual. PCBs. The bank was broken.


If your partner made 3 pcb I can only imagine the immense amount of work he put in. That’s a true carry.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby 5uper5tring » May 23rd, 2018, 8:39 pm

windu34 wrote:
5uper5tring wrote:
windu34 wrote:The covers were not attached to the mirrors so they had to be placed independently (not really any other option). I was one of the LS supervisors and Adi1008 did not compete at my LS box so therefore that other supervisor was also following the same procedure as I was (there were only 2 boxes). You may have been misinformed by your students. They were allowed to place the mirror on the board, position it and make any adjustments, and then were told to place the bent index card in such a way it covered the mirror. This was not a struggle for any of the ~30 teams I observed.
Teams were given direct instructions right before doing the LS including how the covers were to be placed.


Were division C and division B run by different people and and did they have different LSS setups for the 2 divisions? My students were in div B. They were told not to remove the covers. The covers were also not "bent index cards". They were 3d printed thick plastic shells.

Ah yes I ran Div. C which Adi1008 competed in. Div. B was run by an independent set of supervisors.

It would be nice to have some consistencies in rules in the same tournament. It would also be nice if the rules regarding the covers are clearly spelled out in the rule book.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby jimmy-bond » May 23rd, 2018, 9:08 pm

Yellowtomato98 wrote:Any thoughts on Division B dp?

As I stated on my original opinion on page 1, I give it a 6/10. The test was lengthy, as I expected, but a good portion of the test was biology-based (something I liked but it doesn't really belong in a geology event). The fact that the figures were given in a stack made it easy to lose with all the test papers as well as the notes. Because I have a stronger biology background, my partner literally threw me those papers as soon as he saw them, so I didn't get much of the geology questions. From what I heard, though, they were good questions, but not typical.
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Code Busters(1), DD(1), FQ(2), Forensics(1), WQ(5)

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CriB(26), DP (11), FF(1), MM(14), P&P(6)

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CriB(36), DD(35), FF(2), MM(20)

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby daydreamer0023 » May 23rd, 2018, 9:39 pm

Anyone have thoughts on the Forensics test? I do know that I couldn't light the match...then I got the event helpers to try and help me...they got the match but couldn't get the candle...long story short, the entire box of matches was spent and I was forced to sight-identify the fibers without a candle. The team across from me had an incident where the team before them spilled ink over the shared test packet (not including answer sheet) at the station so they couldn't read it. The event supervisor did not seem very sympathetic to their problem - one of them seemed very distraught as they relayed the mishap by phone (to a coach?) after the test.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Kyanite » May 24th, 2018, 8:41 am

daydreamer0023 wrote:Anyone have thoughts on the Forensics test? I do know that I couldn't light the match...then I got the event helpers to try and help me...they got the match but couldn't get the candle...long story short, the entire box of matches was spent and I was forced to sight-identify the fibers without a candle. The team across from me had an incident where the team before them spilled ink over the shared test packet (not including answer sheet) at the station so they couldn't read it. The event supervisor did not seem very sympathetic to their problem - one of them seemed very distraught as they relayed the mishap by phone (to a coach?) after the test.


I think the ink incident was my team, luckily I think they placed ok

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby daydreamer0023 » May 24th, 2018, 8:44 am

Kyanite wrote:
daydreamer0023 wrote:Anyone have thoughts on the Forensics test? I do know that I couldn't light the match...then I got the event helpers to try and help me...they got the match but couldn't get the candle...long story short, the entire box of matches was spent and I was forced to sight-identify the fibers without a candle. The team across from me had an incident where the team before them spilled ink over the shared test packet (not including answer sheet) at the station so they couldn't read it. The event supervisor did not seem very sympathetic to their problem - one of them seemed very distraught as they relayed the mishap by phone (to a coach?) after the test.


I think the ink incident was my team, luckily I think they placed ok


No, it was Columbia HS. The ink spill happened in Block 1 and I was in Block 2. I'm honestly surprised they didn't fix it during Block 4.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Kyanite » May 24th, 2018, 9:05 am

daydreamer0023 wrote:
Kyanite wrote:
daydreamer0023 wrote:Anyone have thoughts on the Forensics test? I do know that I couldn't light the match...then I got the event helpers to try and help me...they got the match but couldn't get the candle...long story short, the entire box of matches was spent and I was forced to sight-identify the fibers without a candle. The team across from me had an incident where the team before them spilled ink over the shared test packet (not including answer sheet) at the station so they couldn't read it. The event supervisor did not seem very sympathetic to their problem - one of them seemed very distraught as they relayed the mishap by phone (to a coach?) after the test.


I think the ink incident was my team, luckily I think they placed ok


No, it was Columbia HS. The ink spill happened in Block 1 and I was in Block 2. I'm honestly surprised they didn't fix it during Block 4.


Wow that is really rough then, my team must have been in block 3

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Pettywap » May 31st, 2018, 10:02 am

This is kinda late but I still wanted to share.

Dynamic Planet (12th): 6.5/10 This test was very unbalanced and a little disappointing. I enjoyed the fact that there were questions on figures, but there were way too many based off of them. This test was more about logic instead of testing on the topics in the rules. Even when they did test on topics, it was very basic knowledge of plate tectonics. This is pretty disappointing because I barely looked at my cheatsheet throughout the test and I felt that more could've been tested on. The only times I used my cheat sheet was to check a couple of definitions to write a better answer. They also section the test based on the topics so it made it easier to split the test and helped with seeing what was going to be tested.

Optics (5th): 7/10 Test: overall I thought the test had a nice balance between the topics. Though I was disappointed when there weren't enough problems on lenses, mirrors, red/blue shift. Other than that the test had covered various topics and did a good job of testing us on our knowledge. The test also had a good length and my partner and I were able to complete it. Box: Even though the test was good, I have very different opinions about the box. I didn't like how the mirrors didn't touch the base and the mirror itself was elevated. This makes it hard for people to align the mirrors because we had to align with the wood that was attached to the back of the mirror instead of the actual mirror. In addition to that, I did not appreciate the covers. These covers weren't thin and added to the difficulty of aligning the mirrors. Finally, I'm also disappointed with the barrier placement because they didn't challenge us enough. There are so many things you can to with the barrier and the barrier is pretty important since it gives a lot of points. I would've liked to see them challenge us on how well we could guide the laser. Even with all of this criticism, the proctors were extremely nice and really patient. We had a lot of templates for different scenarios and they were willing to wait for us to organize them as we prepared to set up.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby pikachu4919 » June 2nd, 2018, 8:04 pm

Kyanite wrote:
daydreamer0023 wrote:
Kyanite wrote:
I think the ink incident was my team, luckily I think they placed ok


No, it was Columbia HS. The ink spill happened in Block 1 and I was in Block 2. I'm honestly surprised they didn't fix it during Block 4.


Wow that is really rough then, my team must have been in block 3


Yeah...sometimes things don’t get fixed even if you ask for it (trust me on this, I live in the same state as the nats forensics ES). There have been quite a few times when I’ve asked for a new candle and not necessarily gotten a better one upon request. I remember when I competed at nats in 2016, my partner and I went in basically being like “OK, everything’s gonna be mega contaminated, rip us” since we went in block 6 of the day...plus, you can only imagine how cranky she was at the end of the day. I still get shivers thinking about it.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby EdwardMMNT » June 4th, 2018, 2:30 pm

Disease Detectives (10): Supervisors only gave us 40 minutes to complete the test so it was a time crunch until the very end. It was completely different than any prior Nationals tests — there weren’t two distinct case scenarios but rather one general knowledge section and one case study. The questions were not very difficult and they provided a significant amount of filler information. They also included a strange patient information chart that we needed to fill out based on background information given to us. The test was very strange and it didn’t appear very difficult, but there were indeed some tricky and abstract questions. We pushed ourselves finish the test and were hoping to medal, but alas, the field was strong (as always) and we came up short.

Remote Sensing (10): This test was very disappointing. They asked optics and physics questions unrelated to the nature of the event. I thought last year’s test was relatively fair (albeit very difficult) but this year’s test was outright off-topic on several sections. They included Snell’s Law problems, Doppler speed questions (not too egregious), and other unrelated physics jargon. The test was very lacking in terms of climate information and relevant physics questions. They spiced in a few good questions here and there but I expected so much more from a Nationals Test.

Forensics (14): The test was long and hard. Powders were varied and well chosen and the test was a trademark Nationals test. There were so many things to do in 50 minutes and we needed every second of it. We didn’t have enough time to finish (not sure anyone did) but plowed through a lot of it, although we messed up on chromatography and getting proper measurements. I was told Forensics Nationals would be crazy and it really was. No amount of preparation could’ve equipped me for the time-crunch. That said, the test itself and the frantic atmosphere was pretty exhilarating and thrilling. Good test and had a lot of fun taking it (even if my hands were shaking the entire time).


Towers (12): Very nice supervisors. I heard the stand was not level, but aside from that, it was smoothly run.
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