Nationals Event Discussion

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CPScienceDude
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby CPScienceDude » June 3rd, 2019, 9:05 am

What's this "next slide!" thing people are talking about? I must've missed it, lol.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby pb5754[] » June 3rd, 2019, 9:09 am

What's this "next slide!" thing people are talking about? I must've missed it, lol.
During the awards ceremony, the clickers the speakers had wouldn't work, so they had to say next slide each time they wanted to go to the next slide lol
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby TheSquaad » June 3rd, 2019, 9:20 am

A lot of people are saying it felt like an invitational - anything more specific about why? I didn't notice anything particularly different in that sense.
For our team, there were two main factors that made this feel less like nationals than previous nationals.

First was the campus. Last year, the events were largely centralized in one single cluster, so wherever you walked, you were surrounded by Scioly competitors. This year, all the events were basically spread out along one mile-long road. Traffic was cutting through all day, which physically interrupts the going-ons of nationals and reminds you that it’s just an event at Cornell—there are still other things going on outside Scioly. Also, at least for our team, the homeroom was at the opposite end of campus of most of our events, so people hardly went there. We were essentially just building-hopping between events, and that feels much more invitational-esque. It seemed as though nationals was simply borrowing the space; it didn’t control it like at CSU or Wright State. Not the fault of the organizers or anything, but if traffic was cut off or the homerooms more centralized, it’s possible that some of that feeling would have been alleviated.

The second part was the post-competition. There was no formal banquet like previous years; that was a huge bummer. Additionally, at CSU and Wright State, we were in massive stadium-style auditoriums that really focalized around the awards stage, and going up to get medals felt like everyone had your eyes on you. This year it was in a gym. No elevated seating, just straight rows front to back. We could hardly see the stage as team members went up to get medals. Plus, it felt as though they rushed through the awards. Taking everyone off stage for photos to speed things along had the alternative effect of making each event take only about a minute. People weren’t forced to wait around until all the competitors had gotten their medals; unless there was a special award, they left the stage before the audience could truly see them all together. And they could only see them on the screen, so it didn’t feel like we were really there, celebrating the medalists; we were just viewing them. Combined with the completely non-fitting music, and the awards ceremony was just way less hype. Again, the tournament organizers didn’t do anything bad (apart from the music). They were restricted by what venues were available, but that issue was never so prominent at CSU or Wright State.

Essentially, nationals wasn’t nearly as grand as previous years. It felt like we were in and out; much more like an invitational.
Moreover, for builds, a lot of the strictness I experienced at previous national tournaments wasn't really there. Although events like buggy and roller were run really great, events like mystery weren't great - the prompt was a tunnel, and measurements weren't precise. Especially with scores this close, I expected more precise measurements of the devices built, at least up to the tenths (not just .0 and .5). Volunteers were often confused as well. In addition, the car used to test the tunnel was far from standardized - each one rolled slightly differently, and they actually switched their main "standard" car with ours, because ours rolled easier. These factors made me feel like events like this were just put together in the last second - and I'm sure competitors in events like WaQua and Parasitology felt this too.

For boomi, I really don't have any complaints - however, for previous years, the room it was held in was "grander" - held in an auditorium of some sort. Even at Cornell Invitational, the auditorium was at (Uris?) Hall, where they had a formal auditorium with seats. However, it was instead a large room, for a lecture almost, with no auditorium seats, etc. Obviously details like this wouldn't have any change in tournament results - to me, all that matters is how they were run, not where they were ran, or how formal they ran it. The supervisors and debriefers obviously still ran the event perfectly smoothly and normally.

Last point - volunteers. A lot of them were fairly inexperienced - it was as if any div C grad could just submit the volunteer form and go and help with events. Although events like buggy had the same, great volunteers as before (shout out for running Buggy better than I've ever seen it run!), some volunteers were obviously volunteering for like, the first time.

I have to disagree with some others above, though. Awards and opening really felt like nationals; even the seating labels were glued(?) onto the track field. Obviously, a fair bit of things went wrong (next slide!) but I liked the overall theme (except the classical music) of the ceremonies.
Awards definitely was grander than any invitational, but for us it just didn't hit the hype level of Wright State or CSU, even though our team performed better than usual.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby dragonfruit35 » June 3rd, 2019, 9:38 am

Codebusters (5) - Like basically every other team, we solved the timed question way slower than we expected (4:12); I think we were second in our room to solve it. As I said earlier, we also ended up missing the weird-looking Baconian, the 3x3 Hill (as it was only 100 points for some reason) and both Patristocrats, so we lost a large chunk of points. The test itself, aside from one unsolvable question, was very good- the questions were challenging and they covered all of the material they needed to. The proctors themselves were really nice- they complimented our calculator and passed out packets of extra problems after we had finished. Overall, even though we didn't do as well as we wanted to, the event was really well-run and my only other issue would be that the little fold-up desks were used, and I would have much preferred lab benches or folding tables (or any other kind of work surface that would allow us to collaborate properly). [9/10]

Mousetrap Vehicle (10) - bernard and crew did a great job with this one. Impound was easy and decently well-organized, and the competition itself was run smoothly with only a small wait before our runs. In my case, my first run went very well, but the angle we used for our vehicle was slightly off for the competition surface; the second run, we had a drive string malfunction and ended up stopping around 3 meters short of the target point :lol: . [10/10]

Herpetology (26) - Hoo boy. Everyone else has already said it, but this test just wasn't an accurate representation of our herpetology knowledge in any way, shape or form. The format of the test caused us to spend half the time standing around, waiting for the call to switch stations, and the lack of volume of questions meant that if any of your resources were inconsistent with theirs (or you somehow didn't add the definition of spermatophores :( ) you were very quickly dropped down in the standings. There were no true free-response questions, which was extremely frustrating since this meant that almost no in-depth information was tested, nor any analysis or explanation. The Cornell Invitational test, although poorly graded, was definitely better than this one, as it included plenty of free-response questions, and even my states test, although it was almost entirely multiple-choice, included difficult questions that tested more than just habitat or diet. Furthermore, depending on how you count the questions, it's quite likely that the test exceeded the 50% limit on identification questions. This test could have been much improved by keeping the same format but replacing the single, limited non-ID question with several (~3-5?) free-response questions that allowed you to fully demonstrate your knowledge, preferably with some sort of analysis involved. We placed decently at Cornell, won our state, and took every test we had access to, and we would have placed highly in all the invitationals that released score distributions. Going in, I really felt like we had a chance to do way better than we did, so to be unable to have our hard work pay off was really disappointing. The reason we placed as low as we did was obviously due to our own errors, but missing just a few questions shouldn't have affected our placement so much. [4/10]

Overall (12) - I'm so proud of how my team performed! We got medals in 3 events last year, and this year we medaled in 7, which was awesome, and we not only placed 14 spots higher than last year but set a school record by 11. We had a great time at the tournament, although there were definitely some technical difficulties with the opening ceremony and the strobe lights and classical music weren't exactly great choices for the awards ceremony. A sidenote about the awards ceremony- the photos off to the side were fine except that when we went up for Codebusters, they placed students in random order, meaning I was standing nowhere near my partners (and in the middle of Mason - sorry, will0416 :lol: ). It would have been nice if we were able to stand with our teammates. It was obvious that there was a lot of effort put into the tournament; the decorations in the dining halls were really nice and there were a lot of other small but impressive touches, like the light-up necklaces and the posters. A little more effort probably could have been put towards logistics instead, given the lateness of some announcements, but in general I thought it was a great experience, and I can't wait to see what next season holds for my team. [9/10]

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby coachchuckaahs » June 3rd, 2019, 9:48 am

Since I coach flying events, I hung out in the flying venue. A few observations:
  • The WS judge team mis-read the rules, and started the 8-minute clock simultaneously with the 3-minute clock. This made it impossible for us to get a second flight. However, my team POLITELY discussed the discrepancy with the head judge, and were awarded a second flight. Fortunately this was early in the day. But at Nationals, the judges should know the rules and event sequencing inside and out!
  • Practice flights were allowed during the day, which is fine. However, it was stated that official flights should take priority. I saw too many cases where practicing teams standing on the floor nearly impacted official flights. Better control of the practices must be maintained.
  • Crowd control. The spectator area was well laid out, and chairs provided. Well done. I would have preferred them on a different wall, as the netting on the opposite end already made that dimension short. But, any other place would have created a huge logistical problem getting people in and out. Overall the facility was well prepared for spectators and competitors
  • Measurements. While I did not get close, I did not see freestanding templates like other years. One student in gliders commented on shaky hands of a judge making a measurement. This should never happen, the measurement template should be mounted vertically and the student pulls the plane through to demonstrate compliance
Overall, though, the flying events were well run. I was only there in the morning, but i did not see any significant backup or line at any time. There appeared to be plenty of help.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby jimmy-bond » June 3rd, 2019, 11:37 am

My transition from B to C was a rough one, to say the least lol

Codebusters (16) - The test was too long to possibly finish, which is the style I prefer. The room could've been formatted better, as teams had to sit in rows, but I like how it forced teams to strategically place their members in an order that would result in a better score. The timed question was tough for many teams, as mine was the only one in our slot that got it, and the teams that placed seem to have struggled with it. Also, TOEBES HIMSELF was our supervisor. 9/10

Disease Detectives (40) - This event may have gotten on my bad side as I had to wake up at 4:30, and entered the room with no caffeine or sugar whatsoever. I was looking forward to the typical nationals test with 30+ pages and forced you to interpret scenarios and deduce the best measures to handle it. However, I was surprised when the test was half of what I expected, consisting of 19 pages of almost only multiple-choice questions. I expected a more difficult test, especially at nationals, and I expect the graph of the scores to be a nearly straight line. However, there was nothing that went wrong. 6/10

Fermi Questions (39) - Is there any way for a Fermi test to be supervised badly? It was the normal stuff, but there wasn't any trick question like last year's "How many polar bears are in Antarctica?" I was so ready for one of those. 9/10

Forensics (36) - I don't have any credibility in this event seeing as I've taken a total of two tests for it... well... ever (and neither had anything lab-related except powders). All the evidences and stuff were fine, as there was a wide variety of them, but the only flaw I noticed was the experience of the proctors. When I asked a supervisor whether I should put the specific name of the fiber (silk, cotton, etc) or the classification (animal, plant, synthetic), she responded with, "The fibers aren't from animals or plants, they come from clothes." Also, this is the first time in any lab that I never had to defog my goggles. Yay. 9/10

Water Quality (27) - I expected a little more from WQ at nats. I have a bad history with "Select all that apply" tests, so that wasn't something I particularly enjoyed. Also, I was kinda hoping for live specimens, as my friend and I found maybe 1/3 of the macroinvertebrates at either the museum or the botanical gardens. There was nothing wrong with the way it was run, but I walked out feeling underwhelmed. 7/10

Overall - The entire experience was amazing from start to finish. I loved everything, from the 9-hr plane ride of me almost punching the game screen because I was raging at hanafuda, to the amazing food and drinks selection (I drank about 3 glasses of milk at every meal because that stuff was amazing), to the indoor courts where I got to put up some shots, and finally, our team laughing until we cried at a diner at 6 am. This experience was by far my most memorable one, mainly because the HIS team performed spectacularly. I will never forget it. I rate it 11 Grants /11.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby pikachu4919 » June 3rd, 2019, 12:15 pm

Forensics (36) - I don't have any credibility in this event seeing as I've taken a total of two tests for it... well... ever (and neither had anything lab-related except powders). All the evidences and stuff were fine, as there was a wide variety of them, but the only flaw I noticed was the experience of the proctors. When I asked a supervisor whether I should put the specific name of the fiber (silk, cotton, etc) or the classification (animal, plant, synthetic), she responded with, "The fibers aren't from animals or plants, they come from clothes." Also, this is the first time in any lab that I never had to defog my goggles. Yay. 9/10
Rip the response to your question :( should've asked me! jk... Anyways, sorry for this late response but it should've been the specific name of the fiber because if she wanted just the classification she would have explicitly asked for it (only in Crime Busters do you need to go to only the classification and not the specific kind of fiber)
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby daydreamer0023 » June 3rd, 2019, 12:23 pm

Forensics (36) - I don't have any credibility in this event seeing as I've taken a total of two tests for it... well... ever (and neither had anything lab-related except powders). All the evidences and stuff were fine, as there was a wide variety of them, but the only flaw I noticed was the experience of the proctors. When I asked a supervisor whether I should put the specific name of the fiber (silk, cotton, etc) or the classification (animal, plant, synthetic), she responded with, "The fibers aren't from animals or plants, they come from clothes." Also, this is the first time in any lab that I never had to defog my goggles. Yay. 9/10
The Woz always writes the test - this year was no exception. You can see some of her previous test formats on soinc.org. In general, I have never ever seen any tournament for Division C ask to select from animal/plant/synthetic, just whether it was silk/cotton/linen/nylon/polyester/wool.

Edit: Just realized that Pikachu4919 beat me to the reply...she's much more knowledgeable than I am, so definitely listen to her. ;)
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby pikachu4919 » June 3rd, 2019, 12:29 pm

Forensics (36) - I don't have any credibility in this event seeing as I've taken a total of two tests for it... well... ever (and neither had anything lab-related except powders). All the evidences and stuff were fine, as there was a wide variety of them, but the only flaw I noticed was the experience of the proctors. When I asked a supervisor whether I should put the specific name of the fiber (silk, cotton, etc) or the classification (animal, plant, synthetic), she responded with, "The fibers aren't from animals or plants, they come from clothes." Also, this is the first time in any lab that I never had to defog my goggles. Yay. 9/10
The Woz always writes the test - this year was no exception. You can see some of her previous test formats on soinc.org. In general, I have never ever seen any tournament for Division C ask to select from animal/plant/synthetic, just whether it was silk/cotton/linen/nylon/polyester/wool.

Edit: Just realized that Pikachu4919 beat me to the reply...she's much more knowledgeable than I am, so definitely listen to her. ;)
To be fair, sometimes there are things about her way of running forensics that even I don't understand, although generally Indiana competitors should be somewhat more experienced with her tests since she supervises in our state :P
Carmel HS (IN) '16
Purdue BiolE '20
Nationals 2016 ~ 4th place Forensics


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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby daydreamer0023 » June 3rd, 2019, 12:37 pm

Forensics (36) - I don't have any credibility in this event seeing as I've taken a total of two tests for it... well... ever (and neither had anything lab-related except powders). All the evidences and stuff were fine, as there was a wide variety of them, but the only flaw I noticed was the experience of the proctors. When I asked a supervisor whether I should put the specific name of the fiber (silk, cotton, etc) or the classification (animal, plant, synthetic), she responded with, "The fibers aren't from animals or plants, they come from clothes." Also, this is the first time in any lab that I never had to defog my goggles. Yay. 9/10
The Woz always writes the test - this year was no exception. You can see some of her previous test formats on soinc.org. In general, I have never ever seen any tournament for Division C ask to select from animal/plant/synthetic, just whether it was silk/cotton/linen/nylon/polyester/wool.

Edit: Just realized that Pikachu4919 beat me to the reply...she's much more knowledgeable than I am, so definitely listen to her. ;)
To be fair, sometimes there are things about her way of running forensics that even I don't understand, although generally Indiana competitors should be somewhat more experienced with her tests since she supervises in our state :P
Very true. One example is chromatography. Her chromatography materials are always kinda...small. And Rfs are interesting. I can elaborate, just not on here. :')
"I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale." - Marie Curie


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