Science Olympiad 2012

For anything Science Olympiad-related that might not fall under a specific event or competition.
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knittingfrenzy18
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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby knittingfrenzy18 » May 24th, 2012, 3:48 pm

Trust me, by this time next year, you're going to be wondering how you ever thought Sounds was something to look forward to. No event that I've ever done has made me want to bang my head against a wall...then I did Sounds for two years.
At least you didn't do Mission. There's a few times when I wanted to cry during that event. SO MUCH FRUSTRATION. But I guess it worked out in the end.
yes, yes. you didn't do Mission. listen to wise ol' haverstall, my friend.

Okay, I've been warned! However I will jump into Sounds next year. :D
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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby TheSilence » May 24th, 2012, 3:50 pm

I have a small question, For Circuit Lab. Is it just a study event? Or does it include a building component.
I believe that is is generally a lab event where it always contains a test, but occasionally you will have lab stations where you might have to build a circuit or use measurement equipment on a pre-built one as part of your calculations.
I see.
Thanks a lot. I was a bit worried over it. But from what I've read on it, it seems very similar to some parts of AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism which I'm taking next year.
Well in NC they had something similar called Shock Value. It was pretty terrible for us. The event supervisors gave us around 12 minutes per station. 2 were theoretical tests ranging from magnetism formulas, right hand rules all the way to ohms law. Then some matching stuff.Now that was the easy part. Then the other two stations were lab work. I think one station had 6 resistors or more that you had to wire up in three different configurations. Then measure current across each one using a multi-meter and find voltage across each one.We didn't have enough time to measure each one after trying to analyze the slightly confuzzling circuit diagrams they wanted us to build. So after finding the voltage across the points I just had to manually calculate the current using Ohm's law. In the end the first station was approximately 2/3 blank with us only completing the A part and leaving B and C empty. The third station was also a lab staion but much easier. Three resistors and one battery. This time we just abandoned the multi meter and only used it for finding the voltage across each resistor. We got that sheet done at least. Surprisingly we placed third at states. Hope this helps so you can idea of what it might be like. Hopefully circuit lab will be very similar.

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby chalker » May 24th, 2012, 7:50 pm

Now that the clock is officially ticking for Nationals at Wright State University next year, I'd like to solicit some ideas regarding the opening ceremony. Specifically any suggestions on who we should consider having as a key note speaker? (We have some ideas internally we are bouncing around, but thought it would be interesting to see what you all might suggest). Any other suggestions regarding the ceremony or tournament in general?

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby haverstall » May 24th, 2012, 8:50 pm

What I really enjoyed about Madison, compared to UCF, was that Madison had a lot more entertainment value. Science demos were pretty good, and the band was amazing. I don't know about the quality of Wright State's marching band, but I think any type of entertainment involving real people would probably be better than Symphony of Science videos (despite the fact that they were really awesome.) As for the closing ceremonies, I felt background music during the awards ceremonies would be very nice. It just felt empty with no background music.
Mounds View Science Olympiad 2008-2012 || 6th, Remote Sensing, 2011 Nationals

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby Infinity Flat » May 24th, 2012, 9:38 pm

Now that the clock is officially ticking for Nationals at Wright State University next year, I'd like to solicit some ideas regarding the opening ceremony. Specifically any suggestions on who we should consider having as a key note speaker? (We have some ideas internally we are bouncing around, but thought it would be interesting to see what you all might suggest). Any other suggestions regarding the ceremony or tournament in general?
Any chance on Neil deGrasse Tyson?
(State, Nationals)
2013: Astro (2, 6) / Chem (2, 5) / Circuits (8, 36) / Diseases (1,1) / Fermi (N/A, 24) / Materials (1, N/A)
2012 : Astro (1, 11) / Chem (N/A, 13) / Diseases (3, 1) / Optics (2, 3) / Sounds (2, 1)
2011: Astro(2,11) / Diseases (1,27) / Optics (1,13) / Proteins (2,15)

Luo
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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby Luo » May 25th, 2012, 2:45 pm

Though I must commend Mr. McKee and his team for pulling off a monumental task on a volunteer basis and with a shoestring budget, I must say I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of attention to details this year as compared to in Madison last year. A few details in which I was particularly disappointed and which I hope Wright State will improve upon next year:
  • Quality and quantity of web presence: Frankly, the website for this year's national tournament was a letdown after the amazingly formatted, information-rich website for the 2011 national tournament. I understand that this year's problem was largely a byproduct of a swamped Mr. McKee having to do most of the updating himself, as opposed to last year when they hired Paul Grogan, an MIT graduate, to be the webmaster extraordinaire. My coach (and judging by confused comments on Wiggio, many other coaches) had trouble finding critical information on this year's website, as opposed to last year, when everything was complete, well-organized, and easy to find. Additionally, the information regarding the live webcast was planned and released much later than would be ideal. I hope Wright State will hire a webmaster so that the directors are not overwhelmed and so that crucial information can more effectively be conveyed to coaches, event supervisors, and the public.
  • Coordination with campus officials: Please coordinate things better with campus officials so that everyone (tournament organizers, teams/coaches/competitors, and Wright State people) know exactly what's going on when teams begin arriving. This year, when my team had questions about dorm facilities or other matters, we got conflicting and often-confused answers from various UCF officials, many of whom complained that Science Olympiad had been exceedingly negligent in informing UCF exactly what was needed for the tournament. For example, when we were trying to obtain wireless internet access in the dorms, we were told that it was unavailable for competitors in the dorms, but that Science Olympiad could have solved this problem if they had simply notified the IT people two weeks in advance that wireless internet would be needed. Similarly, the Science Olympiad organizers seemed a bit confused as to what amenities exactly UCF would provide; for example, when we contacted the national organizers regarding the meal tickets approximately two weeks in advance of the tournament, they were still not 100% certain as to which meals we would be able to get in the UCF dining hall.
  • Instructions for coaches: Compared to last year, it was very unclear this year exactly what coaches needed to do to make sure everything was in place for their team. From the beginning, it was difficult and unclear exactly how to purchase lodging, meals, etc. online, especially since most purchases were via PayPal, and our school does not have a PayPal account, nor did it allow its credit card to be used through PayPal. Additionally, the guidelines for the Parade of States and for the coaches' meeting were not clearly conveyed to coaches. When we got to campus, my coaches did not know where to direct the bus driver, because no directions in this regard had been clearly conveyed by the national tournament organizers. Luckily, my coaches have had prior experience attending national tournaments, but I can imagine that this year would have been extremely overwhelming and confusing for a first-time nationals coach.
  • Amenities for competitors: I understand that the cutback in amenities was largely due to budget constraints, but I still believe more could have been done. At the top of my list is wireless internet access in the dorms. It took me about 4 hours of running around campus and speaking to at least a half-dozen people before a very kind lady felt bad and agreed to provide us with a password for the wireless network. If it weren't for this kind lady, our ability to study in the dorms would have been greatly diminished. Last year in Madison, printing facilities and office supplies were provided free of charge to competitors, and this was immensely useful for last-minute preparations. Also last year, the nametags had each person's name listed on them, which really facilitated introductions and meet-ups, while this year the nametags simply read "competitor" or "coach." While I understand that details like these are not critical, sometimes it's things like this that really make a tournament awesome, that really make you go "wow, they did a good job."
  • Event facilities: Some of the event facilities left a bit to be desired. For example, I believe a more favorable helicopters venue could have been identified before the problems of this year's venue were acknowledged at a too-late juncture. It was very disappointing for our team and other teams whose helicopters got stuck in the rafters. Though this is an unfortunate occurrence that could have happened to any team, it could have been avoided if a room without rafters were originally selected. In general, I would advocate for rooms having more space than they did this year.
  • Equality between competitors and alternates: The reason we did not attend the banquet this year was that only the 15 competing team members and one coach would have been able to attend, and we didn't want to split up our group, which included 11 additional students and 3 additional adults. Similarly, only the 15 team members got tickets for ice cream on Friday, snacks on Saturday, and drawstring backpacks. Last year in Madison, every attending person was treated the same in terms of amenities, regardless of whether they competed or not. This really improved the experience for our alternates, and prevented any awkward situations of "well, which of our 4 coaches should get all the goodies?" I hope Wright State will do the same as Madison in this regard.
  • Events for competitors on Thursday and Friday: Last year in Madison, there were cool science-related workshops for competitors at minimal cost ($1 per attendee, I believe) on the Thursday prior to the tournament. The workshops were very interesting, a lot of fun, and a great way to meet other competitors. There were also fun on-campus activities on Friday, such as the Battle of the Bands and exhibits at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. UCF had no such activities this year. As Science Olympians, we all love science, and it would be awesome if Wright State could provide meaningful, varied, hands-on science activities for competitors on Thursday and Friday.
  • Entertainment at the opening ceremony: Last year, Madison really put on a spectacle at the opening ceremony. The physics dude, the chemistry guy, and the university band gave the opening ceremony an unforgettable, electrifying atmosphere. While I must admit that they keynote speakers were far more interesting this year, the opening ceremony as a whole was quite a bit duller due to the dearth of performances and science demonstrations.
  • Announcers at the awards ceremony: Last year, the announcers were awesome. They had loud, clear voices, were able to pace things correctly, and seemed well-trained in the procedure of the awards ceremony. This year, the announcers seemed to be relatively quiet, confused at what procedure was to be followed, and excessively slow. I also think the awards ceremony could have been enhanced by dimmer lights, a bit of entertainment or music, and by moving along the ceremony at a slightly faster pace.
Overall, I hope that the organizers for Wright State follow the example of UW-Madison in terms of providing an awesome experience for competitors. While I tip my cap to Mr. McKee for his admirable work on a tight budget, the occasional frustrations and miscommunications of this national tournament made it less amazing than I believe it could have been. Nevertheless, it was a fun and unforgettable weekend. :)
Proud alumnus of Mounds View High School Science Olympiad, Arden Hills, MN
Co-founder of the MIT Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament: http://scioly.mit.edu/

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby Slarik » May 26th, 2012, 4:48 pm

This is tentative - they don't set it until the State Directors meeting Sunday at Nationals.
What exactly do they do at the State Directors meeting?
Exothermic reactions? I studied them before they were cool.

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby chalker » May 26th, 2012, 5:34 pm

What exactly do they do at the State Directors meeting?
Pretty much anything you could imagine would be important to do. It's the only opportunity of the year to get all the directors and event supervisors together. Things include reports from committee chairs like myself, granting of service awards, demos of new events, an opportunity get everyone to give feedback on existing events, discussion of various business and legal issues, etc. etc.

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby paradoxgirl » May 26th, 2012, 6:53 pm

@Luo: I agree with your point about the exclusion of alternates and assistant coaches. My team brought 31 students to nationals, with 4 coaches. We do not attend the banquet or the ice cream social, so we were not aware of the amenities exclusions, however our seating arrangements at opening ceremonies (but most importantly at awards) made us feel awful. We had seats on the floor, but were given only 16 seats for our competitors and our head coach. This left 16 of our team members, who are every bit as important to our team as those who had the luck to compete at nationals this year, sitting separately from those on the floor. We have gotten this arrangement at almost every national tournament I have been to, save 2010 in Illinois.

I understand that there is not enough space on the floor for every team to bring 35 people, the problem is that we are not allowed to sit all together in the bleachers either. We have been told year after year that our 16 people need to sit in the reserved seats while the others find seats in the bleachers, because it would take too long for potential medalists to make their way to the stage. We would gladly sit together in the bleachers, as a team, however our coach has a level head and does not wish to offend any of the organizers who put so much work into the arrangements.

I would greatly appreciate if we did not encounter this situation in the future, but I do not know to what extent it is possible to avoid this. I suppose there isn't much my team can do about it besides complain on the boards and be disappointed when, for another year, our team is not allowed to celebrate the end of our year at the awards ceremony together.
Harriton High School Science Olympiad

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Re: Science Olympiad 2012

Postby silverheart7 » May 26th, 2012, 7:18 pm

They did that to us at states too... But it wasn't that bad. You can celebrate for your team whether you're next to them, or across the room from them! :)
Past: Forestry, Disease, Meteorology, Towers, Sounds, Triple E, Boomilever, Entomology, WQ, WIDI, Bridges

Total Medals: 14
State Medals: Sounds of Music (2nd, 2013), Forestry (3rd, 2013), and Triple E (4th, 2013)

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