Optics B/C

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by Flavorflav » March 24th, 2011, 6:00 am

I firmly agree with infinity flat's point about the covering. We did not follow this clarification at regionals or states and had no issues with sighting - a simple instruction that sighting will result in disqualification seems sufficient to prevent it. I also think the binder should be usable on parts one and two only, leaving only a set of listed materials and perhaps one note sheet for the laser shoot. I would also like to see a maximum width of the mirror, not just a minimum. Also,the parameters of the LSS should be made to accommodate common sizes of lumber from the outset - I had already built one by the time the clarification came out. Please do not change the parameters is such a way as to make an existing legal LSS illegal, though.

I would also like to add that I think it is wonderful that you are soliciting feedback. I wish that happened more often.

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by kxiao » March 24th, 2011, 6:57 am

Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I didn't have a covering on my mirror. :?

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by chalker » March 24th, 2011, 7:57 am

kxiao wrote:Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I didn't have a covering on my mirror. :?
There is an official rules clarification requiring it (for exactly the reasons stated above): http://soinc.org/official_rules_clarif

Unfortunately at the regional level sometimes event supervisors don't know about the rules clarifications.

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by chalker » March 24th, 2011, 8:01 am

Infinity Flat wrote: There are two main issues with this, as far as I've noticed. Firstly, the covering (e.g. a post-it note) tends to bend outward at the bottom, making it very difficult to tell how the mirror is being placed relative to the template you've made. Secondly, and this is a more serious issue in my opinion, when the covering is removed, it tends to significantly adjust the mirror, altering the result of the laser shoot by about 5 mm.
When I run the event I haven't used post-it notes. Instead I made custom cardboard sleeves that slide over top of the mirrors and have little handles on them. I also give the students time to practice removing the sleeves before starting the LSS portion. So far I haven't had any team have the issues you describe, but I can understand how with other techniques it would happen.

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by ichaelm » March 24th, 2011, 2:34 pm

chalker wrote:As you may or may not know, we on the national rules committees at Science Olympiad begin work about this time every year on updating the rules for next year. We have a general policy of trying to make at least one significant change to each returning event (not all events return every year - they rotate in and out every so often), as well as trying to correct issues that required clarifications or FAQs.

The day after Nationals we (the national event supervisors, state directors, etc. etc.) always have a big meeting where we hash out issues face to face and try to come up with a near final version of the new rules. While many of us (myself included) are former competitors, in general we don't get direct input from current competitors during this process, although we do get some input from some coaches who happen to be involved at the national level.

Thus, as the Physical Sciences Committee chair, I've decided to try an experiment this year. Optics is tentatively scheduled to return next year (2011-2012 season). What specific changes would you make to the rules? I'm open to all suggestions (small and large), but can't promise we'll actually implement any of them. Feel free to post ideas here or send me a PM if you'd like.
First of all, I really love this event. Back in B division I did Crave the Wave, and that was my all-time favourite event until this year! Optics is a physics event, but I think the fact that we're allowed to bring in a binder tends to make the tests less focused on physics. For example, in addition to knowing how to solve problems with Snell's law, we might also be expected to know its history, or who that Snell guy was. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it a bit less fun for me. With physics concepts, it's usually either you know how to do it or you don't, so I think the event would be better if the resources were only a sheet of paper, or even nothing at all. That depends on what you and the other people who make the rules think the scope of the event should be, though. Thanks so much for taking suggestions like this!

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by Tidus » March 24th, 2011, 6:46 pm

I would suggest multiple adjustments, just because I think some of those rules make it too easy for the competition:
1.) Instead of ANY type of calculator, reduce to a scientific one.
2.) Forbid templates, as they are allowed in the FAQ's on the nationals website. I think, the real challenge is to make those measurements, calculate the required angles and distances to get the laser beam to the target.
3.) Maybe I would say to have a variable target at the end of the box, to make it even a bit more challenging, this would even knock out the used templates. In addition to that I would let the supervisors provide the ruler and protractor to make this as fair as possible.
4.) In addition to the overall knowledge of Optics, I would add a specific optical device to be studied, such as a microscope or a telescope which should be studied throughly in different aspects. I mean right now, you just have to study a broad overview of Optics, while, for example in Anatomy, you only study muscles or bones, a specific aspect of the topic.

I think that's it so far, and those are just my thoughts.

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by hscmom » March 25th, 2011, 1:42 pm

Schrodingerscat wrote:Has anyone ever had an event supervisor place the barrier close enough to the laser that it restricts the angles of the mirrors or makes it very difficult to make measurements and place the mirror?

No, but our optics/C team ran into mirrors with extremely fat (from mirror surface straight back) surfaces making it hard to put them in the corner. And the laser shoot box was the wrong size. Sigh.
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Re: Optics B/C

Post by smartkid222 » March 25th, 2011, 1:57 pm

Schrodingerscat wrote:Has anyone ever had an event supervisor place the barrier close enough to the laser that it restricts the angles of the mirrors or makes it very difficult to make measurements and place the mirror?
Yes, at states the barrier was very close to the mirror. Be prepared for anything. Perhaps an addition to next year's rules could be a range of where the barrier could be along the midline.

I am opposed to points # 1,3 and 4.
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Re: Optics B/C

Post by Schrodingerscat » March 25th, 2011, 6:17 pm

smartkid222 wrote:
Schrodingerscat wrote:Has anyone ever had an event supervisor place the barrier close enough to the laser that it restricts the angles of the mirrors or makes it very difficult to make measurements and place the mirror?
Yes, at states the barrier was very close to the mirror. Be prepared for anything. Perhaps an addition to next year's rules could be a range of where the barrier could be along the midline.

I am opposed to points # 1,3 and 4.
How close was it? Was it far enough back to be able to fit an average sized protractor and place the mirror at any angle?

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Re: Optics B/C

Post by smartkid222 » March 25th, 2011, 7:06 pm

I don't know exactly but I estimate that the barrier was about 8cm from the laser. I think they picked that placement so it would JUST fit a normal protractor with only a couple of milimeters to spare.
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