Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

poptrop459
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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby poptrop459 » February 21st, 2019, 4:03 pm

Circuit Lab: Holy crap, this one was rough. None of the material on the test was particularly difficult, but the two labs (both of which were tougher than any other I've ever seen) ensured that each team pairing would be split for a big chunk of the time given. My partner and I managed to place 4th in the event, but we walked out feeling like we had bombed since we had run out of time and a lot of the exam blank or with random answers. I personally ended up liking the test itself - it tested on a lot of stuff that's in the rules, but not typically taught in high school classes, ensuring that the highest ranking teams were made up of people who spent time learning the extra stuff instead of just relying on what they learned in school (don't get me wrong, that's still useful!). 8.5/10
Hey just for comparison, how many points did you get on the Circuit Lab test that placed you fourth, I did pretty bad and still managed to get around 20th. Thanks.
We got around 67-68 points for the entire test and lab portion, way higher than we expected. Our B team placed 11th, and scored in the mid-30s range.

Regarding the transformer problem, your definition was the exact same as the one in my binder, but I'm pretty sure its too vague and misses the actual point of a transformer. I was considering writing it down, but I remembered that a more specific purpose of a transformer is to step up or step down the potential difference that comes with AC current, so I wrote that down, and got credit. The best definition on the internet that I can find is "A transformer is a device that changes (transforms) and alternating potential difference (voltage) from one value to another value be it smaller or greater using the principle of electromagnetic induction."
Princeton High School

18-19 "Top 6" Rankings
LISO: 3rd in Circuit Lab, 6th in Astronomy
BVF: 1st in Circuit Lab, 1st in Anatomy
UCC Regionals: 1st in Astronomy
UPenn: 4th in Circuit Lab

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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby bryan,boyd » February 21st, 2019, 8:12 pm

Circuit Lab: Holy crap, this one was rough. None of the material on the test was particularly difficult, but the two labs (both of which were tougher than any other I've ever seen) ensured that each team pairing would be split for a big chunk of the time given. My partner and I managed to place 4th in the event, but we walked out feeling like we had bombed since we had run out of time and a lot of the exam blank or with random answers. I personally ended up liking the test itself - it tested on a lot of stuff that's in the rules, but not typically taught in high school classes, ensuring that the highest ranking teams were made up of people who spent time learning the extra stuff instead of just relying on what they learned in school (don't get me wrong, that's still useful!). 8.5/10
Hey just for comparison, how many points did you get on the Circuit Lab test that placed you fourth, I did pretty bad and still managed to get around 20th. Thanks.
We got around 67-68 points for the entire test and lab portion, way higher than we expected. Our B team placed 11th, and scored in the mid-30s range.

Regarding the transformer problem, your definition was the exact same as the one in my binder, but I'm pretty sure its too vague and misses the actual point of a transformer. I was considering writing it down, but I remembered that a more specific purpose of a transformer is to step up or step down the potential difference that comes with AC current, so I wrote that down, and got credit. The best definition on the internet that I can find is "A transformer is a device that changes (transforms) and alternating potential difference (voltage) from one value to another value be it smaller or greater using the principle of electromagnetic induction."
Okay yea I guess i’ll have to be more specific for stages. Thanks for the help!
2018 Events: Fermi Questions, Game On, Helicopters, Mousetrap Vehicle, Write It Do It, Duct Tape Challenge
2019 Events: Fermi Questions, Circuit Lab, Sounds of Music, Wright Stuff

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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby whythelongface » February 21st, 2019, 8:28 pm

It’s not easy, so I’m just going to throw out some ideas. Maybe checking for airplane mode in the beginning? Taking the time to check for airplane mode once, even if it's only in the beginning, might be enough to scare teams planning on cheating.

The auditorium setup probably made it harder for you guys to see our screens. If its something under your control, maybe try a room where everyone sits level? This might make it easier to see everyone at once, so you guys could stay more or less in the same area for the entire exam. Walking around can give teams opportunities to look something up when a supervisor is the other side of the room, but staying in one place and being able to see everyone's screens makes it more difficult to cheat.

Another strategy could be to seat teams a tiny bit closer - not too close that they can easily see each others screens or hear what others teams are whispering, but enough to make cheating appear riskier. Again, this would also make it easier to see everyone’s screen at once. The right distance would be tough to figure out though.

I talked to my partner, who was a bit more aware of his surroundings during the test, and he said you guys did a better job than most supervisors at other invitationals when checking screens. I wouldn’t worry too much about it - just maintain the same test quality you guys had, and Astro should continue to run smoothly.
I'm not sure that cheating is a gigantic concern at invitationals and I think you're overthinking this - I've encountered two reported cases of suspected cheating on my team's behalf. One of them turned out to be completely baseless, and another one was because our people did so well NJSO thought the proctor (one of our HS teachers) had passed on the exam key to our competitors.

There's really not much incentive to cheat, and certainly not among most of the schools I've competed with and against. A simple check once at the beginning and occasional monitoring should be sufficient.
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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby poptrop459 » February 21st, 2019, 8:56 pm

It’s not easy, so I’m just going to throw out some ideas. Maybe checking for airplane mode in the beginning? Taking the time to check for airplane mode once, even if it's only in the beginning, might be enough to scare teams planning on cheating.

The auditorium setup probably made it harder for you guys to see our screens. If its something under your control, maybe try a room where everyone sits level? This might make it easier to see everyone at once, so you guys could stay more or less in the same area for the entire exam. Walking around can give teams opportunities to look something up when a supervisor is the other side of the room, but staying in one place and being able to see everyone's screens makes it more difficult to cheat.

Another strategy could be to seat teams a tiny bit closer - not too close that they can easily see each others screens or hear what others teams are whispering, but enough to make cheating appear riskier. Again, this would also make it easier to see everyone’s screen at once. The right distance would be tough to figure out though.

I talked to my partner, who was a bit more aware of his surroundings during the test, and he said you guys did a better job than most supervisors at other invitationals when checking screens. I wouldn’t worry too much about it - just maintain the same test quality you guys had, and Astro should continue to run smoothly.
I'm not sure that cheating is a gigantic concern at invitationals and I think you're overthinking this - I've encountered two reported cases of suspected cheating on my team's behalf. One of them turned out to be completely baseless, and another one was because our people did so well NJSO thought the proctor (one of our HS teachers) had passed on the exam key to our competitors.

There's really not much incentive to cheat, and certainly not among most of the schools I've competed with and against. A simple check once at the beginning and occasional monitoring should be sufficient.
Yeah, I agree. Like I said earlier, it's shouldn't really be a big problem. Just throwing out some ideas.
Princeton High School

18-19 "Top 6" Rankings
LISO: 3rd in Circuit Lab, 6th in Astronomy
BVF: 1st in Circuit Lab, 1st in Anatomy
UCC Regionals: 1st in Astronomy
UPenn: 4th in Circuit Lab

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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby poptrop459 » February 22nd, 2019, 9:59 am

Hey just for comparison, how many points did you get on the Circuit Lab test that placed you fourth, I did pretty bad and still managed to get around 20th. Thanks.
We got around 67-68 points for the entire test and lab portion, way higher than we expected. Our B team placed 11th, and scored in the mid-30s range.

Regarding the transformer problem, your definition was the exact same as the one in my binder, but I'm pretty sure its too vague and misses the actual point of a transformer. I was considering writing it down, but I remembered that a more specific purpose of a transformer is to step up or step down the potential difference that comes with AC current, so I wrote that down, and got credit. The best definition on the internet that I can find is "A transformer is a device that changes (transforms) and alternating potential difference (voltage) from one value to another value be it smaller or greater using the principle of electromagnetic induction."
Okay yea I guess i’ll have to be more specific for stages. Thanks for the help!
Hey, I just checked, and we didn't get 67/100 for the Circuit Lab test. I didn't have the cover page, and didn't realize that the sections were weighted, so I just added up all of our points. Our actual scores was in the mid-forties. Sorry!
Princeton High School

18-19 "Top 6" Rankings
LISO: 3rd in Circuit Lab, 6th in Astronomy
BVF: 1st in Circuit Lab, 1st in Anatomy
UCC Regionals: 1st in Astronomy
UPenn: 4th in Circuit Lab

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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » February 22nd, 2019, 1:42 pm

It’s not easy, so I’m just going to throw out some ideas. Maybe checking for airplane mode in the beginning? Taking the time to check for airplane mode once, even if it's only in the beginning, might be enough to scare teams planning on cheating.

The auditorium setup probably made it harder for you guys to see our screens. If its something under your control, maybe try a room where everyone sits level? This might make it easier to see everyone at once, so you guys could stay more or less in the same area for the entire exam. Walking around can give teams opportunities to look something up when a supervisor is the other side of the room, but staying in one place and being able to see everyone's screens makes it more difficult to cheat.

Another strategy could be to seat teams a tiny bit closer - not too close that they can easily see each others screens or hear what others teams are whispering, but enough to make cheating appear riskier. Again, this would also make it easier to see everyone’s screen at once. The right distance would be tough to figure out though.

I talked to my partner, who was a bit more aware of his surroundings during the test, and he said you guys did a better job than most supervisors at other invitationals when checking screens. I wouldn’t worry too much about it - just maintain the same test quality you guys had, and Astro should continue to run smoothly.
I'm not sure that cheating is a gigantic concern at invitationals and I think you're overthinking this - I've encountered two reported cases of suspected cheating on my team's behalf. One of them turned out to be completely baseless, and another one was because our people did so well NJSO thought the proctor (one of our HS teachers) had passed on the exam key to our competitors.

There's really not much incentive to cheat, and certainly not among most of the schools I've competed with and against. A simple check once at the beginning and occasional monitoring should be sufficient.
This matches with my experience. Instances of actual cheating are exceedingly rare.
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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby masterWIZ » February 22nd, 2019, 1:46 pm

It’s not easy, so I’m just going to throw out some ideas. Maybe checking for airplane mode in the beginning? Taking the time to check for airplane mode once, even if it's only in the beginning, might be enough to scare teams planning on cheating.

The auditorium setup probably made it harder for you guys to see our screens. If its something under your control, maybe try a room where everyone sits level? This might make it easier to see everyone at once, so you guys could stay more or less in the same area for the entire exam. Walking around can give teams opportunities to look something up when a supervisor is the other side of the room, but staying in one place and being able to see everyone's screens makes it more difficult to cheat.

Another strategy could be to seat teams a tiny bit closer - not too close that they can easily see each others screens or hear what others teams are whispering, but enough to make cheating appear riskier. Again, this would also make it easier to see everyone’s screen at once. The right distance would be tough to figure out though.

I talked to my partner, who was a bit more aware of his surroundings during the test, and he said you guys did a better job than most supervisors at other invitationals when checking screens. I wouldn’t worry too much about it - just maintain the same test quality you guys had, and Astro should continue to run smoothly.
I'm not sure that cheating is a gigantic concern at invitationals and I think you're overthinking this - I've encountered two reported cases of suspected cheating on my team's behalf. One of them turned out to be completely baseless, and another one was because our people did so well NJSO thought the proctor (one of our HS teachers) had passed on the exam key to our competitors.

There's really not much incentive to cheat, and certainly not among most of the schools I've competed with and against. A simple check once at the beginning and occasional monitoring should be sufficient.
This matches with my experience. Instances of actual cheating are exceedingly rare.
No one should be cheating anyways. I hope that everyone is following the Science Olympiad Pledge :) :) , lol.

SciOly Pledge:

I pledge to put forth my best effort in the Science Olympiad tournament and to uphold the principles of honest competition. In my events, I will compete with integrity, respect, and sportsmanship towards my fellow competitors. I will display courtesy towards Event Supervisors and Tournament Personnel. My actions will exemplify the proud spirit of my school, team, and state.
Mr. Builder :) :)

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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby meilingkuo » February 23rd, 2019, 4:25 pm

Hi, I am not in your area, but have a general question on fossils. Since you wrote a fossils test, I am wondering where you get the information on temporal range of fossils for the answer key and what is considered main resource for regional/state/national test. We checked several resources and noticed that the range varies from source to source. We consulted a paleontologist and was told that fossilworks database is what scientists in the field use. However, we noticed that answer keys for lots of old test packets are not based on fossilworks database. Our regional is near and we really need to find out.
For the temporal range of fossils, we googled the specific fossil and multiple different websites gave a pretty similar range. Wikipedia was the easiest to find as it had temporal ranges for nearly every fossil on the list, and we fact-checked it with other websites. This probably wasn't the most accurate way we could have done it but we weren't aware the fossilworks database existed. Thanks for letting me know so next year I can fix that!
Thanks for your input. The fossilworks or PaleoBiology database (which pulls data from fossilworks) has cited references for all fossil specimens. I would think that this is more trustworthy than Wikipedia which often does not have references. But, it looks like most of the answer keys are based on Wikipedia. I am an fossils event coach. My students are confused about what to answer for the upcoming test. I would like to teach them to trust the cited information, but they are worried that the test writer are not aware of the database and they will not get the score that they deserve!

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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » February 23rd, 2019, 4:47 pm

Hi, I am not in your area, but have a general question on fossils. Since you wrote a fossils test, I am wondering where you get the information on temporal range of fossils for the answer key and what is considered main resource for regional/state/national test. We checked several resources and noticed that the range varies from source to source. We consulted a paleontologist and was told that fossilworks database is what scientists in the field use. However, we noticed that answer keys for lots of old test packets are not based on fossilworks database. Our regional is near and we really need to find out.
For the temporal range of fossils, we googled the specific fossil and multiple different websites gave a pretty similar range. Wikipedia was the easiest to find as it had temporal ranges for nearly every fossil on the list, and we fact-checked it with other websites. This probably wasn't the most accurate way we could have done it but we weren't aware the fossilworks database existed. Thanks for letting me know so next year I can fix that!
Thanks for your input. The fossilworks or PaleoBiology database (which pulls data from fossilworks) has cited references for all fossil specimens. I would think that this is more trustworthy than Wikipedia which often does not have references. But, it looks like most of the answer keys are based on Wikipedia. I am an fossils event coach. My students are confused about what to answer for the upcoming test. I would like to teach them to trust the cited information, but they are worried that the test writer are not aware of the database and they will not get the score that they deserve!
I recommend cross-referencing several sources, and noting the differences. The arguments over taxonomy and range are quite important, and over time your students will learn what sort of answer the particular test writer is looking for.
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Re: Science Olympiad at Penn Invitational 2019

Postby meilingkuo » February 23rd, 2019, 10:04 pm


For the temporal range of fossils, we googled the specific fossil and multiple different websites gave a pretty similar range. Wikipedia was the easiest to find as it had temporal ranges for nearly every fossil on the list, and we fact-checked it with other websites. This probably wasn't the most accurate way we could have done it but we weren't aware the fossilworks database existed. Thanks for letting me know so next year I can fix that!
Thanks for your input. The fossilworks or PaleoBiology database (which pulls data from fossilworks) has cited references for all fossil specimens. I would think that this is more trustworthy than Wikipedia which often does not have references. But, it looks like most of the answer keys are based on Wikipedia. I am an fossils event coach. My students are confused about what to answer for the upcoming test. I would like to teach them to trust the cited information, but they are worried that the test writer are not aware of the database and they will not get the score that they deserve!
I recommend cross-referencing several sources, and noting the differences. The arguments over taxonomy and range are quite important, and over time your students will learn what sort of answer the particular test writer is looking for.
We are making a table from different sources and hopefully we will find a way to solve the problem. Thank you!


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