Environmental Chem C

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Phenylethylamine
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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by Phenylethylamine » April 20th, 2010, 2:22 pm

packer-backer91 wrote:I didn't know what your question was asking, last year the test was mostly balance the reaction with adding charges and phase notation. Then they made you sometime diagram out what the molecule looks like [dot diagram]. They never gave me a problem like your example that will be another chem problem to practice with. They used exactly half of test to ask general chem equations that some how they thought relates to env chem. The other half of test was a soil sample experiments and relate that work to how to make the soil better for growing crops. This event in the rules don’t have a limited on the questions they can ask. Yes they say that they should relate to the soil chemistry in the event but they really don’t have much relevance for what the rules intended.
Yeah, it's not uncommon for events to be heavy on the "Chem" and light on the "Environmental". Last year's B Division national event was a good balance, though. I think this problem- or just property, depending on how you see it- is mainly at the state level, although NY States this year was pretty good.
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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by peoneill » April 24th, 2010, 3:16 pm

I beat the students senseless with the USGS classifications at the Indiana tournament this year. I mean, one of the 8 topics for the event is soil classification... and that's the dominant system for doing it. But most teams were unable to answer even the simplest questions about USGS!

Most of the E Chem coordinators don't really seem to know much E chem, to be blunt. I don't know where all the environmental chemists are, but not volunteering for SO, apparently. I've seen last year's national exam and I found it to be pretty trivial. Hopefully if it is the same coordinator he or she has had a full year more experience engaging with the event and can pull out some more sophisticated science.

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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by kjhsscioly » April 27th, 2010, 8:37 pm

Phenylethylamine wrote:
packer-backer91 wrote:I didn't know what your question was asking, last year the test was mostly balance the reaction with adding charges and phase notation. Then they made you sometime diagram out what the molecule looks like [dot diagram]. They never gave me a problem like your example that will be another chem problem to practice with. They used exactly half of test to ask general chem equations that some how they thought relates to env chem. The other half of test was a soil sample experiments and relate that work to how to make the soil better for growing crops. This event in the rules don’t have a limited on the questions they can ask. Yes they say that they should relate to the soil chemistry in the event but they really don’t have much relevance for what the rules intended.
Yeah, it's not uncommon for events to be heavy on the "Chem" and light on the "Environmental". Last year's B Division national event was a good balance, though. I think this problem- or just property, depending on how you see it- is mainly at the state level, although NY States this year was pretty good.
I agree... Our state test was about even, but it required knowledge of things like molarity and concentrations of ions in acids and bases.

Our regional and Invitational test, which were proctored by the national directer (I think her name was Lin W., but not sure), were not as heavy on the chem; instead, they were quite heavy on lab calculations such as porosity, permeability, bulk density, turbidity, mass spec, etc., and also heavy on contaminants and cleansing methods. She had nothing on the test about ions, equations, solution concentrations or anything else you would find on a chem test. Both tests were also not very heavy on the agriculture/crop aspects, instead focusing on physical properties of soils and a small amount of questions on major vs. minor nutrients.

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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by AustinRHL » May 23rd, 2010, 8:26 pm

The test at Nationals was a joke, which really wasn't fair at all to teams that prepared hard for the event. We placed fifth with next to no preparation at all, aside from a notes sheet that I made that listed which elements were primary, secondary, and micronutrients, and what diameter the particles were in each type of soil. Most of the test was common sense or at least common knowledge (for example, naming elements when given their chemical symbol), and there were probably two things that actually differentiated the teams. One was reading the results of the nitrate and phosphate tests, which was next to impossible because the solution was much darker than the given colors, making comparisons guesswork. The other, which I think tripped up quite a few people, was balancing some equations that occur in soil, which wasn't especially easy because there were as many as four products to juggle in addition to charge. The tiebreaker questions were too easy, but they still should have been scored as regular questions, because they came the closest to actually testing knowledge of environmental chemistry.
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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by Phenylethylamine » May 24th, 2010, 11:55 am

AustinRHL wrote:The test at Nationals was a joke, which really wasn't fair at all to teams that prepared hard for the event. We placed fifth with next to no preparation at all, aside from a notes sheet that I made that listed which elements were primary, secondary, and micronutrients, and what diameter the particles were in each type of soil. Most of the test was common sense or at least common knowledge (for example, naming elements when given their chemical symbol), and there were probably two things that actually differentiated the teams. One was reading the results of the nitrate and phosphate tests, which was next to impossible because the solution was much darker than the given colors, making comparisons guesswork. The other, which I think tripped up quite a few people, was balancing some equations that occur in soil, which wasn't especially easy because there were as many as four products to juggle in addition to charge. The tiebreaker questions were too easy, but they still should have been scored as regular questions, because they came the closest to actually testing knowledge of environmental chemistry.
The nitrate and phosphate tests worked out okay for me, although of course I have no idea if I got the answers right or not. Originally I had the two solutions in the wrong colorimeters, but I figured that out pretty much immediately, so it was okay :-P .

The equations were redox (difficult to balance by trial and error), but the hardest part was that you had to add two equations together to obtain the third reaction for each question, and the added equations just didn't work if you did them by straightforward addition (my chemistry teacher says you had to add the reduction half reactions together and the oxidation half reactions together, and then do redox balancing on that).

The mass spec and gas chromatography parts were way too easy, though- you didn't have to know anything about MS or GC! They gave a mass spectrograph and a gas chromatograph, and some charts of mass fragments and things like that, and asked you to figure out which pesticide was depicted in which diagram based on the charts they gave you. It was ridiculous.
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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by evbassboy13 » May 24th, 2010, 1:48 pm

Phenylethylamine wrote:The nitrate and phosphate tests worked out okay for me, although of course I have no idea if I got the answers right or not. Originally I had the two solutions in the wrong colorimeters, but I figured that out pretty much immediately, so it was okay :-P .

The equations were redox (difficult to balance by trial and error), but the hardest part was that you had to add two equations together to obtain the third reaction for each question, and the added equations just didn't work if you did them by straightforward addition (my chemistry teacher says you had to add the reduction half reactions together and the oxidation half reactions together, and then do redox balancing on that).

The mass spec and gas chromatography parts were way too easy, though- you didn't have to know anything about MS or GC! They gave a mass spectrograph and a gas chromatograph, and some charts of mass fragments and things like that, and asked you to figure out which pesticide was depicted in which diagram based on the charts they gave you. It was ridiculous.
That sounds like my nats experience exactly. I put the solutions in the wrong colorimeters, too, and we couldn't figure out the equations (we got the first and second in the hard set, but not the third). I definitely agree on MS and GC. I was really hoping for questions about how they worked or something, so I was a little disappointed. We placed 26th, which I was pretty happy with - neither my partner nor I prepared a whole lot for it (I was working my tail off on bridge, and my partner had four other events).

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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by starpug » May 29th, 2010, 4:18 pm

evbassboy13 wrote:
Phenylethylamine wrote:The nitrate and phosphate tests worked out okay for me, although of course I have no idea if I got the answers right or not. Originally I had the two solutions in the wrong colorimeters, but I figured that out pretty much immediately, so it was okay :-P .

The equations were redox (difficult to balance by trial and error), but the hardest part was that you had to add two equations together to obtain the third reaction for each question, and the added equations just didn't work if you did them by straightforward addition (my chemistry teacher says you had to add the reduction half reactions together and the oxidation half reactions together, and then do redox balancing on that).

The mass spec and gas chromatography parts were way too easy, though- you didn't have to know anything about MS or GC! They gave a mass spectrograph and a gas chromatograph, and some charts of mass fragments and things like that, and asked you to figure out which pesticide was depicted in which diagram based on the charts they gave you. It was ridiculous.
That sounds like my nats experience exactly. I put the solutions in the wrong colorimeters, too, and we couldn't figure out the equations (we got the first and second in the hard set, but not the third). I definitely agree on MS and GC. I was really hoping for questions about how they worked or something, so I was a little disappointed. We placed 26th, which I was pretty happy with - neither my partner nor I prepared a whole lot for it (I was working my tail off on bridge, and my partner had four other events).
I recall our only real problems being the MS and GC as I don't think either me our my partner understood exactly what we had to do. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to check about conservation of charge in the the equations, so we could've gotten some of that wrong (I'm the chem half of the team, I deal with the stoichiometry and balancing equations and such while my partner deals with environmental stuff). We got 15th without writing anything on the tie breakers, so it's possible those two sections (and maybe the tie-breaker questions) seperated us from a medal
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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by Phenylethylamine » June 1st, 2010, 3:25 pm

starpug wrote:I recall our only real problems being the MS and GC as I don't think either me our my partner understood exactly what we had to do. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to check about conservation of charge in the the equations, so we could've gotten some of that wrong (I'm the chem half of the team, I deal with the stoichiometry and balancing equations and such while my partner deals with environmental stuff). We got 15th without writing anything on the tie breakers, so it's possible those two sections (and maybe the tie-breaker questions) seperated us from a medal
Unlikely (we had tons written for the tiebreakers and answered everything, and got 12th). I know we lost points on the redox equations (mainly the part where you had to add up the previous two to get the third), but I'm not sure what else.
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Re: Environmental Chem C

Post by starpug » June 1st, 2010, 4:36 pm

Phenylethylamine wrote:
starpug wrote:I recall our only real problems being the MS and GC as I don't think either me our my partner understood exactly what we had to do. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to check about conservation of charge in the the equations, so we could've gotten some of that wrong (I'm the chem half of the team, I deal with the stoichiometry and balancing equations and such while my partner deals with environmental stuff). We got 15th without writing anything on the tie breakers, so it's possible those two sections (and maybe the tie-breaker questions) seperated us from a medal
Unlikely (we had tons written for the tiebreakers and answered everything, and got 12th). I know we lost points on the redox equations (mainly the part where you had to add up the previous two to get the third), but I'm not sure what else.
I didn't think we lost on the tiebreaker question (although I hoped.) Even though we felt pretty good about the rest of the test, we could have easily missed some points in some of the parts we found relatively easy.
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