Awesomely Run Event Stories

For anything Science Olympiad-related that might not fall under a specific event or competition.
Avogadro
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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby Avogadro » April 30th, 2017, 5:54 pm

Chem Lab at Pennsylvania states had the most interesting approach to a lab I've ever seen. You were allowed to see the final result of a lab and you had to deduce what had transpired and how long it took to happen. It admittedly quite baffled me, but I give them credit for a very original approach that is a far cry from the standard heat of solution labs I'd seen at pretty much every other competition.
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Subtitled: Revenge of the Non-Harriton

Placement Record:

Code: Islip | Conestoga | Tiger | Regionals | States
Out of: 61 | 42 | 36 | 37 | 36

Chemistry Lab: 9 | - | - | 4 | 4
Astronomy: 14 | - | 5 | 10 | 3
Material Science: 12 | 19 | 9 | 5 | 9
Optics: 14 | 7 | 3 | 4 | 2

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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby maxxxxx » May 21st, 2017, 1:32 pm

I'm gonna do the same thing I did in PRES and go through everything *awesome* I've seen this year.

SOUP

Disease Detectives(5): Very long and challenging. The first test I had seen in a while that had any stat on it. There were a couple proofs that took a lot of critical thinking - something I've never seen on a Disease test before. The case studies weren't too bad but they did a good job at showing us how little we knew. There was also a bonus section at the end that we left completely blank, but the questions looked like they weren't too challenging if you knew what you were doing. My only complaints are that we didn't have to calculate the statistics, we just interpreted them, and that it was really hard to keep track of all of the different papers on the tiny lecture hall desks. Overall 9/10

Invasive Species(4): It was the only test I've ever seen that used sound for identification. There were also a lot of abstract questions that I've never seen on any other tests like asking about which scientists had first researched a particular species, but they were all well within the rules. Overall the stations were pretty challenging and time was a big factor. The tiebreaker question asked about a species that wasn't on the list however(although to be fair I probably should've known that big snakes live for more than 3 years). It was in the same room as Disease so we had tiny lecture hall desks again, which don't go well with binders. Overall 8.5/10

PA States

Robot Arm(8): This is the third competition I've seen this group of supervisors at and they manage to get even nicer each time. They were very meticulous about the base of the robot being in the 25cm x 25cm box which is a sign of good supervising. They also displayed the time on a timer app on an ipad and faced it towards us so we could keep track of the time ourselves without staring at our watches. The only problem was that instead of calling for a second opinion on pennies that were close to a line, the main supervisor just stared at them for a while and made a decision, which could have caused some slight variation in scorekeeping.

Wind Power(1): Although there were some problems with the test and device testing, the supervisors were very friendly and had a really good grasp on how to handle some situations. During our timeslot there was a team testing their blade and all of a sudden we heard a weird crashing/buzzing sound and a yelp/scream. I'm not entirely sure what happened but I think the blade hit the fan, and their time to be able to touch the blade had elapsed so they couldn't fix it. The competitors were really distraught but the supervisors were very calm and said something along the lines of "We're really sorry this happened, we want to give you another try but we can't do that. We'll let you test it again after the timeslot ends to see what it would've gotten, but we have to use this score for the official results" without sounding condescending or authoritative.
Lower Merion Class Of 2017

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dxu46
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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby dxu46 » May 21st, 2017, 6:30 pm

Cool!

MO Region 6:
Experimental Design(1):
For those of you that don't know, Ex. Design is an inquiry event that tells you to design an experiment with provided materials. Our regionals experiment was based on Star Wars, with Chewbacca finding materials on a planet that they are stuck on. The task was to experiment with a transportation system to get in space. We got straws, balloons, tape, string, and other materials that I can't remember. This was a really fun experiment, and there even was extra credit: Who shot first, Han Solo or Greedo? Very fun test, 9/10.

MO States:
Experimental Design(1):
Read the above for a short description. For our materials, we had materials to make levers and the topic was levers. We made catapults and tested the fulcrum length. We flung starbursts (Yes, we were allowed to eat them). We almost got put in tier 2, since technically we didn't follow the topic, but since most teams did catapults, we won. The fair way the ESs supervised and the starbursts made this event 8/10.

Wright State Nationals:
Experimental Design(8):
Even though we didn't do the best, it was still good. For those of you who went to nationals, you probably (or probably don't) remember the long, boring speech about the water molecules in the spectrum about blah blah blah snore.... The ES made that into a joke, first staying the topic was about that, and surprising a lot of people, then saying "Just Kidding" and going on. The ES was very funny, making some jokes and being very nice. She sort of reminds me of Melissa McCarthy imitating Sean Spicer. Also, the test was good. They made everything perfect, adding tips and such. Overall, 9/10 because it could've been later in the day.

Road Scholar(1):
Just saying, I am NOT biased about this event. The ESs were very nice, giving people headers and tips, not giving away too much but trying to make students succeed. The test was also well written. It was written by several different people over the course of weeks, so it was a good test. Also, the test story (The Right Stuff - the adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle) was very easy to follow and also very entertaining. Overall, 9/10 because the wordings in the tests were kinda iffy.

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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby Unome » October 18th, 2017, 9:22 am

From Johns Creek last weekend:

Remote Sensing was very good. Though not exactly challenging - I finished in 20 minutes alone and got 3rd (darn photon energy calculations...) - it was sufficient difficulty for the level of teams and for being early in the season, and covered pretty much all of the important parts, including some solid image interpretation questions.

Materials Science - also a little on the short side, but very good lab (especially for paper-based) with several measurements of properties. The test in general was a bit low on more conceptual properties of polymers and such though.
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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby samlan16 » October 19th, 2017, 12:54 pm

Materials Science - also a little on the short side, but very good lab (especially for paper-based) with several measurements of properties.
Glad you liked it. Just make sure to learn your ASTM standards because apparently everyone missed those questions. :D

EDIT: We deliberately kept the test short to not cause less prepared teams as much pain and suffering. Mwahaha...
Remember, we are proud of every team that participated and you are all winners.

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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby Unome » October 23rd, 2017, 9:31 am

Materials Science at UGA was very well-run, both in general and in comparison to the rest of the UGA tests that I took. The lab (Young's modulus) was well-designed for the most part, and the test had good quality questions that accurately covered most of the rules well - could have been a little longer (we finished several minutes early), but that's a minor point (I was done much early on most of the other tests).
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MissAmargasaurus
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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby MissAmargasaurus » November 2nd, 2017, 9:19 am

Idaho's state invasive species test wasn't all that great, but oh my GOSH the room the test was in was so great!! So many terrariums and aquariums, my partner had to keep reminding me to pay attention to the test. Hypocrite, he loved the axolotl and clawed frog right next to us too. :P After the event, I got to handle a rubber boa too! It was a lot of fun.
2016-17 Season: Experimental Design, Invasive Species, Wind Power, Forenics
2017-2018 Season: Experimental Design, Ecology, Herpetology
2018-2019 Season: Experimental Design, Fossils, Herpetology, Wright Stuff
I love reptiles and fossils! <3

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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby Unome » February 19th, 2018, 10:40 am

Some impressive events from regionals,

Anatomy and Physiology (1st): Significantly longer and harder than I would have expected, in a good way - the test was 80 questions multiple-choice (many of them requiring quite a bit of thinking) and around 8 or 9 good free-response questions, covering the topics on the rules very well.

Herpetology (3rd): 12 stations at 3:30 each, with 4-5 questions per station. Not exactly long, but certainly sufficient for the level of competition. Good questions and breadth, covering topics well. The writer clearly paid attention to the rules, and did a very good job with sticking to the taxonomic levels on the list, unlike all the invitational tests I've taken this year other than MIT (which all asked questions about species despite this clearly going against rules 3.d and 3.f).

Fermi Questions (2nd): Fairly long and challenging - around 40-45 questions, a good spread of different topics and such (although no math, that isn't completely necessary for a good test in my opinion). The test paid attention to units, which was nice - having to guess the units on some other tests that I've taken was quite a pain.
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Adi1008
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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby Adi1008 » March 5th, 2018, 7:13 pm

This is quite a bit late, as the tournament was well over a week ago (pretty overwhelmed by schoolwork/scioly/orchestra at the moment rip), but the Astronomy test at the UT-Austin regional was one of the best I've ever taken! Aside from being a good length and difficulty, I especially loved the emphasis on explaining the concepts behind things like opacity/stellar pulsation, which are topics that most tests usually don't cover at all. I'm definitely looking for. I really mean it when I say that the test was a joy to take and I'm looking forward to taking the rest of it when UT releases their regionals tests.
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Re: Awesomely Run Event Stories

Postby Unome » April 1st, 2018, 12:34 pm

Fermi Questions at State yesterday was very well-run. The test was of sufficient length for the tournament level (at worst slightly short), the questions were well-written with attention paid to units, and the event supervisor proctored well. The range of question difficulties, etc. were very good as well. Overall 10/10, need more event supervisors like this.

Remote Sensing - although it doesn't quite belong here, was still a good test covering most of the aspects of the event well (skipped energy balance entirely though). It definitely wasn't bad enough for PRES though.
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