Avis_de-Incendia wrote:A more positive acronym would be "Keep It Simple for Success," but I would like to avoid the collective eyeroll.
Anyway, would the proctors take off for an overly simple experiment?
No. Given the subjectivity of the grading of this event, a really obnoxious event sup might be inclined to view your write-up in a slightly less positive light, but in any case it's still better to have a simple experiment and a complex (but still clear and concise... I know, I know, it's difficult to have all three) write-up. Don't make it too hard for yourself.
I actually believe that they do. Last year at Nationals, our team was positive that they had done extremely well, and they were all very experienced experimenters and lap writeup writers. So you can imagine that they were stunned to see that they had placed 47th. I don't actually know what experiment they conducted, but I believe that it was the eye-roll-worthy "analysis" of the effect of the mass of a pendulum on its period. Evidently, the grader didn't look kindly on such a blatant abuse of the openness of the event, given that everyone knows that the period of a pendulum is unaffected by changes in its mass. That said, simpler is definitely better, just as long as you don't take it too far.
Conversely, at our regional competition, one of our two teams did exactly that "experiment," having completely missed the restriction printed in big letters on the assignment that it had to concern friction, and yet still placed in first! The supervisors gave us materials that were extremely difficult to use in a friction-based experiment, and perhaps they realized that and took pity on them rather than disqualifying them. I was on the other team, and they put us in second when we looked at air resistance as a function of height (they gave us balloons).
Albuquerque Academy '10, University of Chicago '14
State: Chemistry Lab 1st, Cell Biology 1st, Ecology 1st, Environmental Chemistry 2nd
Nationals: Chemistry Lab 32nd, Cell Biology 4th, Environmental Chemistry 5th, Forensics 37th
It's hard to accept that for me, there isn't a next year.