Density Lab B

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Re: Density Lab B

Post by Nathanfrommars » October 16th, 2019, 12:34 pm

knightmoves wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 11:27 am
Nathanfrommars wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 6:28 am
Does any one know that “the small digital lab balance” will be provided in the Density Lab hand-on test or not? Thanks.
Read rule 2c.
I saw the official density lab kit only provide the Spring Scale. That’s why I want to know if small digital balance will be there.

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Re: Density Lab B

Post by knightmoves » October 16th, 2019, 12:52 pm

Nathanfrommars wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 12:34 pm
I saw the official density lab kit only provide the Spring Scale. That’s why I want to know if small digital balance will be there.
That's up to the ES - they can provide you with whatever equipment they like in order to perform the hands-on tasks.

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Re: Density Lab B

Post by Dwu1011 » October 16th, 2019, 6:05 pm

FiveW's wrote:
October 4th, 2019, 10:10 am
Mwang12324161 wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 5:59 pm
At 2019 NC states there was a lab where you calculated the density of shaving cream. You sprayed some foam on a paper towel and sucked up a given amount using a syringe and calculated that density, then compressed the syringe a given amount and calculated that density. It was pretty bad because trying to compress the syringe and measure its mass at the same time is hard. Piedmont squirted foam all over my partner, too. It was an accident though.
Yeah that same lab happened at nationals. Some other pretty basic and cheap labs for the event I've seen would include:
Density of like a Lego thing and then determining if it would float or not.
Trying to get as many pennies as possible to float on a piece of foil without tipping.
The shaving cream one aforementioned.
A straw or cylindrical device with one end sealed and trying to get it to sink to a certain depth.
Trying to put as much weight in a 3D shape that has an opening that can be sealed, Cylinder would be most easy to get although I think seeing one as a pyramid may be challenging and fun, then the team that puts the most weight in the shape and it floats wins.
A density column would be really easy for competitors and cheap.
Also, for any lab how much time you give really can make it easier or harder.
The density of shaving cream lab was a terrible lab. One time at a Cornell inv, they used a bad digital balance which caused some teams to miscalculate.
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Re: Density Lab B

Post by FiveW's » October 20th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Dwu1011 wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 6:05 pm
FiveW's wrote:
October 4th, 2019, 10:10 am
Mwang12324161 wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 5:59 pm
At 2019 NC states there was a lab where you calculated the density of shaving cream. You sprayed some foam on a paper towel and sucked up a given amount using a syringe and calculated that density, then compressed the syringe a given amount and calculated that density. It was pretty bad because trying to compress the syringe and measure its mass at the same time is hard. Piedmont squirted foam all over my partner, too. It was an accident though.
Yeah that same lab happened at nationals. Some other pretty basic and cheap labs for the event I've seen would include:
Density of like a Lego thing and then determining if it would float or not.
Trying to get as many pennies as possible to float on a piece of foil without tipping.
The shaving cream one aforementioned.
A straw or cylindrical device with one end sealed and trying to get it to sink to a certain depth.
Trying to put as much weight in a 3D shape that has an opening that can be sealed, Cylinder would be most easy to get although I think seeing one as a pyramid may be challenging and fun, then the team that puts the most weight in the shape and it floats wins.
A density column would be really easy for competitors and cheap.
Also, for any lab how much time you give really can make it easier or harder.
The density of shaving cream lab was a terrible lab. One time at a Cornell inv, they used a bad digital balance which caused some teams to miscalculate.
I never said it was a good one.
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Re: Density Lab B

Post by Adi1008 » October 29th, 2019, 6:23 pm

Hi y'all,

Here's my Density Lab test/stations and key from the recent UT Invitational! Information on scores and some general musings regarding the test can be found here.

As always, if you notice any errors in the key, please let me know! It’s entirely possible I made a mistake and I’m always looking to learn more.

Lastly, I'd like to thank sciolycoach, who sent me some really helpful resources for Density Lab!
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Re: Density Lab B

Post by knightmoves » October 30th, 2019, 3:37 pm

Adi1008 wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 6:23 pm
As always, if you notice any errors in the key, please let me know! It’s entirely possible I made a mistake and I’m always looking to learn more.
Let me add to your musings. This year's rules require that the hands-on portion of the test account for at least 50% of the score. In your test, the hands-on portion is question 12. (The Q13 graphene questions have nothing to do with the hands-on portion. They're questions about the diagram of graphene.) So I think on that front, you missed quite substantially. You also have nothing quantitative involving the hands-on portions, which I think is a miss. The hands-on portion should test whether people can make accurate measurements.

I thought the test was quite original, and your score distribution worked out quite well. I'm not convinced that 3d is strictly within the rules (or 3b and c either, although they're easier questions than d).

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Re: Density Lab B

Post by Adi1008 » October 30th, 2019, 8:12 pm

knightmoves wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 3:37 pm
Adi1008 wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 6:23 pm
As always, if you notice any errors in the key, please let me know! It’s entirely possible I made a mistake and I’m always looking to learn more.
Let me add to your musings. This year's rules require that the hands-on portion of the test account for at least 50% of the score. In your test, the hands-on portion is question 12. (The Q13 graphene questions have nothing to do with the hands-on portion. They're questions about the diagram of graphene.) So I think on that front, you missed quite substantially. You also have nothing quantitative involving the hands-on portions, which I think is a miss. The hands-on portion should test whether people can make accurate measurements.

I thought the test was quite original, and your score distribution worked out quite well. I'm not convinced that 3d is strictly within the rules (or 3b and c either, although they're easier questions than d).
I think that's pretty fair criticism, and I agree with most, if not all of it - thanks for the feedback! I was definitely aware of my exam not satisfying the "50% of the event must consist of hands-on activities or labs", but justified that to myself by thinking "a small lab is better than a boring or stupid one". At the time, that thinking made sense, but I can definitely see how that could be frustrating to a parent or competitor. While writing the test, I was trying to satisfy a lot of constraints, which may have led to the less than ideal hands-on activity:
  • Our proctor had no Science Olympiad experience, so I had to make sure this hands-on portion was simple
  • Because this was a stations-based test, the cleanup time for the lab had to be minimal
  • The materials for the lab are ideally cheap or free, since we didn't have the money or resources for anything more. I ended up buying the tape and pencils for the event myself.
Combined with my desire for a unique experiment that still involved high level science, I was probably too picky with my hands-on activities.

As for Question 3, which covered the basics of intermolecular forces, I'll quote jkang from his experience writing optics tests for the UT Invitational:
jkang wrote:
November 13th, 2017, 7:40 am
A bit on my philosophy of test writing though - for most teams UT Invitational is meant to be as a first experience into Invitationals, and the start of the year for SciO. I'd imagine as we go down the year, the tests will start to look the same after people have seen so many, or as supervisors decide to streamline on certain topics. I try my best to ask questions on things other supervisors might not typically, or topics that are related to optics but still good to know about. It's built as a crash course for "here's probably the largest variety of questions and topics you'll get, so prepare yourself for the future" type of thing, or "here's just some good stuff to know as a potential physicist".
While writing this test, I drew heavily from this line of thinking. Furthermore, I think that if a team actually understands the chemistry and physics concepts that underlie Density Lab, they would naturally come across these topics in their studying. Even if they haven't seen these concepts before, their intuition could guide them to answer them correctly. Teams' success on Question 3 strengthens my belief in this idea.

This test was certainly imperfect, and I truly appreciate your feedback as a first-time Density Lab event supervisor. I hope that the test was a good experience for every team that attended, and from my conversations with them during the competition, I think it was.
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Re: Density Lab B

Post by knightmoves » October 31st, 2019, 9:18 am

Adi1008 wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 8:12 pm
As for Question 3, which covered the basics of intermolecular forces, I'll quote jkang from his experience writing optics tests for the UT Invitational:
jkang wrote:
November 13th, 2017, 7:40 am
A bit on my philosophy of test writing though - for most teams UT Invitational is meant to be as a first experience into Invitationals, and the start of the year for SciO. I'd imagine as we go down the year, the tests will start to look the same after people have seen so many, or as supervisors decide to streamline on certain topics. I try my best to ask questions on things other supervisors might not typically, or topics that are related to optics but still good to know about. It's built as a crash course for "here's probably the largest variety of questions and topics you'll get, so prepare yourself for the future" type of thing, or "here's just some good stuff to know as a potential physicist".
While writing this test, I drew heavily from this line of thinking. Furthermore, I think that if a team actually understands the chemistry and physics concepts that underlie Density Lab, they would naturally come across these topics in their studying. Even if they haven't seen these concepts before, their intuition could guide them to answer them correctly. Teams' success on Question 3 strengthens my belief in this idea.
That's a pretty good argument, and it certainly makes the test more interesting than the same old questions again and again.

I think my counter-argument would be that I'd want to keep the events accessible to a pair of 6th graders who study for it, and that means that I'd want to restrict the amount of "good stuff to know" background knowledge that falls outside the event rules. It's the same argument as not putting calculus on a C test, I think.

And that's the lens through which I'm squinting at your Q3 and wondering whether it reasonably falls within "Behavior of gases according to the gas laws: Ideal Gas, Boyle’s, Charles’, Gay-Lussac’s, and Avogadro’s" or not. The fact that the rules committee chose to exclude molarity from the allowable measures of concentration helps me come down on the side of "not" here.

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Re: Density Lab B

Post by Raiderboy10 » November 21st, 2019, 12:57 pm

Does anyone know if you are allowed to bring a hydrometer.

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Re: Density Lab B

Post by waterboy » November 21st, 2019, 6:35 pm

Raiderboy10 wrote:
November 21st, 2019, 12:57 pm
Does anyone know if you are allowed to bring a hydrometer.
According to rule 2.c, "Event Supervisors will provide any material and measurement devices required for the hands-on tasks. Teams will not use their own measurement devices."

Based on this I would say that you are not allowed to bring a hydrometer.
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