It's About Time C

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Paradox21
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Re: It's About Time C

Post by Paradox21 » October 23rd, 2009, 6:43 pm

chalker wrote: What should be the balance between easy, medium and hard questions?
I think that in any SO competition there is a wide range of knowledge in every group entering a competition. So it would be ideal to have a good amount of easy medium and hard questions so that you can most accurately determine which team is better than which. But I realize that it may be impossible to thoroughly gauge all of the teams due to time constraints. If that is the case, I think it is most important to thoroughly gauge the teams that do well because a) the teams who put the most work in deserve to be rewarded accurately for their hard work, and b) the teams that often do the best in their particular event are also competing for a high place in the whole competition so they deserve to be accurately placed.
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Re: It's About Time C

Post by Primate » October 26th, 2009, 4:25 pm

I apologize for turning the talk away from the ongoing debate about the test question, but I had a few questions about what/how to build. I participated in this event last year and we made a fairly accurate pendulum. It was quite simplistic, two nice little pendulums hanging by a string from a wooden surround.

This year, however, I'm at a loss for how to make it more accurate. Counting the number of swings was a definite issue last year, but I believe that was human error and not so much the pendulum. Additionally, the noise restriction eliminates the use of a noisy escapement and tallying up the sounds. I suppose an escapement with a large enough gear could be used to count, but I'm not sure if it's worth it or even possible.

Accuracy to the nearest tenth of a second is also an issue. Pendulums with a short period stop swinging too quickly, and other forms of clocks are even less accurate/reliable. And how on earth do you measure to the nearest tenth of a second for a period as long as five minutes? Anyone mind sharing some suggestions?

Thanks!
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Re: It's About Time C

Post by L42 » October 28th, 2009, 2:26 pm

In response to how to make this event better/what I'd like to see next year:

One of the problems I have long seen with this event is it's breadth and width of topics. I feel that, as previous posts have expressed, that this format does not allow the student to delve deeply into the topic at hand. I think the rules could be changed next year to make this event much better, and to get rid of the "random facts that might have to do with time" category, which seems to show up on most tests (and that I don't feel tests actual knowledge or work). The solution I propose is this: Pick a few broad categories, and list them in the rules. Then, list sub-categories under that. The students will be responsible for learning everything about those sub-topics. This would also help students compile binders. I don't think that this change would make the event easier or less challenging- it would simply be more stream-lined and in-depth.

For Example:

Physics
a. Simple Harmonic Motion
b. Oscillators
c. Atoms and Timekeeping

Timekeeping
a. Ancient Systems of Timekeeping
- Greece
- Rome
b. Units of Time

Non-electronic Clocks
a. Sundials
b. Water Clocks

An actual list that I envision would encompass more things- for example, Ancient Systems of Timekeeping would include more than Greece and Rome.
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Re: It's About Time C

Post by farnsworth » October 28th, 2009, 3:03 pm

I made a fairly successful waterclock last year but it seems that the best kind are pendulums. Because of that I'll probably tinker with a pendulum clock this year. My only problem is that the way to avoid dampening is to use a long pendulum with a heavy mass, but that prevents really precise measures. How do you record thenths of a second with a pendulum clock?

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Re: It's About Time C

Post by brainychix2010 » November 4th, 2009, 4:22 pm

What my partner and i had the most trouble with last year, and are already struggling with this year is sidereal time. We were asked to calculate it and did not know how and we still don't. Can anyone offer some help with that?

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Re: It's About Time C

Post by brainychix2010 » November 4th, 2009, 6:50 pm

Primate wrote: This year, however, I'm at a loss for how to make it more accurate. Counting the number of swings was a definite issue last year, but I believe that was human error and not so much the pendulum. Additionally, the noise restriction eliminates the use of a noisy escapement and tallying up the sounds. I suppose an escapement with a large enough gear could be used to count, but I'm not sure if it's worth it or even possible.

Accuracy to the nearest tenth of a second is also an issue. Pendulums with a short period stop swinging too quickly, and other forms of clocks are even less accurate/reliable. And how on earth do you measure to the nearest tenth of a second for a period as long as five minutes? Anyone mind sharing some suggestions?

Thanks!

What we did for our pendulum is we didn't try to have the period equal one second, we just calculated and measured its period and made a chart for it. We were actually so accurate with these measurements that we were only ever off by about 0.3 seconds on average after adding in 0.5 seconds for our human error.
Also we used weights and put them on long wire so that our clock would work for more than 5 minutes. We would have to wind it up in between the longer trials but it worked really well.
Also, how are we supposed to minimize sound on our devices when they dont tell us how loud the devices are actually allowed to be?

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Re: It's About Time C

Post by Sir_L_Jenkins » November 11th, 2009, 3:00 pm

brainychix2010 wrote:
Primate wrote: Also, how are we supposed to minimize sound on our devices when they dont tell us how loud the devices are actually allowed to be?
Well, at my state competition last year, there were a few devices that obviously made excess noise in order to throw people off from counting. I did a pendulum last year and was counting oscillations in my head, however all of these incredibly loud noises were all over the place which made it REALLY hard to keep track of time. It's like playing a musical piece to one tempo, when there's another person playing something else at a different tempo, and its hard to keep track of what's what. For example, this one group had a water clock that dripped into a pan, but they rigged the pan similar to a drum to the point where it sounded like it was for sounds of music XD

Essentially, I think that rule is more for a general common courtesy type of thing, there's no way really to enforce it, but don't be evil and try to mess with other people counting.



*edit*
Would anyone know of any good string/wire material to use on a pendulum that doesn't stretch, or only stretches once early on? All the string that can hold up our weight either snaps or stretches enough to throw off our calibrations, then any type of wire that we use doesn't stretch, but it resists movement too much and causes our amplitude to decrease quite quickly.
*Ahem*
Mentlegen.

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Re: It's About Time C

Post by camdendevil58 » November 25th, 2009, 10:07 am

From my experience I have found that a water clock is the easiest and most effective. Pendulum clocks are just to difficult
We have made our water clock to be very accurate
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Re: It's About Time C

Post by Jazzy09 » December 3rd, 2009, 2:31 pm

^how accurate?

also, pendulums aren't that difficult
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Primate
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Re: It's About Time C

Post by Primate » December 3rd, 2009, 3:07 pm

camdendevil58 wrote:From my experience I have found that a water clock is the easiest and most effective. Pendulum clocks are just to difficult
We have made our water clock to be very accurate
Umm, are you sure? In my experience, pendulums have a huge advantage over water clocks. The most notable of which is the lack of water. In order to minimize pressure errors, you have to lug around a decent chunk of water. Perhaps you can avoid counting errors, but I think a pendulum with an escapement is just as accurate and much easier to work with.
brainychix2010 wrote: What we did for our pendulum is we didn't try to have the period equal one second, we just calculated and measured its period and made a chart for it. We were actually so accurate with these measurements that we were only ever off by about 0.3 seconds on average after adding in 0.5 seconds for our human error.
Also we used weights and put them on long wire so that our clock would work for more than 5 minutes. We would have to wind it up in between the longer trials but it worked really well.
Also, how are we supposed to minimize sound on our devices when they dont tell us how loud the devices are actually allowed to be?
Yeah, that's what we did too. The pendulum had a period of something around 1.372 seconds (and they let us use calculators during Part I), so we just multiplied it out in between rounds. Your error's really good for regional competition, but I think it'd be great to get just a little more accurate at states. The test is just so unpredictable.
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