Digital Structures/Supervising

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Digital Structures is a mini SO and Satellite SO replacement event for Boomilever that simulates Boomilever creation and testing in the structural software SkyCiv. This page serves to guide tournament personel (in particular, Event Supervisors) and contains an overview to supervising the event, specific instructions to setting up the event in Scilympiad and SkyCiv, and ways to navigate any unlikely glitches if they do occur during the tournament.

Before you start reading about how to run this event, please first familiarize yourself with the event by reading the Wiki page on Digital Structures (general overview of the event) and event rules (specifics that you and students need to follow).

Supervising Overview

With the virtual mini SO and Satellite SO formats this season, many tournaments are hosting tests via the Scilympiad platform. Therefore, it makes sense to start the Digital Structures event in Scilympiad, where you can use a test to provide the unknown parameters (see rule 4.a.), record Estimated Load Supported (see rule 4.b.), and include instructions for structure submission via SkyCiv. With this information, students can then build, test, and submit their structures in SkyCiv. SkyCiv records parameters and scores for each submission, which can be downloaded in spreadsheet format for assessing construction violations and ranking.

Starting in Scilympiad and finishing in SkyCiv also allows Scilympiad to record when each team starts the test to receive the unknown parameters and when SkyCiv receives their structure submission, which can be used to verify that they have completed the event within 45 mnutes (see rule 4.c.).

Action List

The table below lists actions you should complete in preparation for running the event. These actions are described in more detail in the section Event Setup.

Timeframe Action
Before the tournament Familiarize yourself with the event rules. Pay particular attention to rule 4.a., which specifies which unknown parameters you need to provide to students on the day of the tournament.
Contact the tournament director to get the link to download student submissions. Do this at least several weeks before the tournament!
Create a SkyCiv account (free version is fine) and check that the name of your tournament is in the submission form. Do this at least several weeks before the tournament!
Prepare an instructions document in Google Drive that students can keep open throughout the event.
Set up a test in Scilympiad with the instructions document linked and questions (for providing unknown parameters and recording Estimated Load Supported).
Decide unknown parameters (as specified in the event rules) and include them in the Scilympiad test.
Remind the tournament director to limit your Scilympiad test duration to 5 minutes.
During the tournament If you have shared your email in the instructions document, check your email and respond to any student questions or issues.
After the tournament The following scoring steps are all included in the instructions for using scoresheets.
Download the team roster and table of test submissions from Scilympiad.
Download the spreadsheet of submissions from SkyCiv using your download link.
Compare values in student submissions with the unknown parameters you have specified to assess for construction violations (see rule 3.).
Assess tiers as specified in the rules (see rule 5.d.), rank scores (see rule 5.a.), and break any ties (see rule 5.e.).
Enter scores into Scilympiad and submit.

Event Setup

SkyCiv

The only step you need to complete in SkyCiv is to verify that your tournament name is in the dropdown list of tournaments students will see when they try to submit their structures. To verify that your tournament is in the list, you will need to create a SkyCiv account with the Science Olympiad add-on enabled. In a new project, open the Science Olympiad add-on and enable Competition Mode. Click Submit Last Test button, skip the pop-up, then search for your tournament name in the dropdown list of the form that appears.

The list of tournaments is manually uploaded by SkyCiv with instruction from the national Science Olympiad office. If your tournament is not in the list you should check with your tournament director and your Science Olympiad state director to find out whether they have contacted the national office about including your tournament in the list. Any requests for tournament additions must be made by your tournament's director to Dr. John Loehr (jfloehr [at] soinc.org) with the details listed below. This process takes time so you should start it at least several weeks prior to your tournament!

* Tournament Name: 
* Tournament Date: 
* Tournament Location: 
* Tournament Director: 
* Tournament Director Email: 

Instructions Document

The instructions document that is linked within the Scilympiad test. Click the image to enlarge.

Using Google Drive, prepare an instructions document that students can keep open throughout the event. This step is necessary because the Scilympiad test can only be accessed while students are taking the test, and it is helpful to have these instructions available for the entire event.

The document should contain instructions for submission and your contact information (if you want) in the event of any technical difficulties. You should not include the unknown parameters in this document because it will be linked in the instructions of the Scilympiad test and therefore accessible before they have started the event.

A sample instructions document I have prepared is linked here. You are welcome to copy the document and modify it for your tournament. Remember to set your document so that it can be viewed publicly using the link!


Scilympiad

The instructions, introduction, and conclusion are set when a test is first created or by editing the test's settings in Scilympiad. Click the image to enlarge.

Students will start the event in Scilympiad where they will view the unknown parameters you have specified and submit their Estimated Load Supported. Because the Estimated Load Supported is a prediction, the value must be received before students have started building; this can be facilitated by limiting the duration of your Scilympiad test to 5 minutes, a setting only tournament director(s) can modify (so you will need to ask).

Test Duration (minutes)
5

Because the contents of the Scilympiad test will not be available after it is submitted, the instructions document is linked and students are reminded throughout the test to record the values you have provided.

The sections below include sample text that you are welcome to copy and paste into Scilympiad when preparing your test. You will need to update some text and links to reflect your event.

Instructions/Introduction

The text below is used for both the instructions and introduction section of the Scilympiad test. It is especially important that this section and the linked instructions document do not contain the unknown parameters becuase the instructions section is visible before students have started testing.

You will need to update the link below to that of your prepared instructions document. After pasting the below text into Scilympiad, the link can be edited using the built-in text editing tools of Scilympiad.

Text
Welcome to Digital Structures! This test contains 1) some of the specifications to which you must design your Boomilever and 2) a place to submit your Estimated Load Supported for tiebreaker. Please record these specifications before clicking submit as you will not be able to access them again after submission. You must submit this test within the first 5 minutes of your event block for your Estimated Load Supported to be considered.

Please design your Boomilever in SkyCiv with Competition Mode enabled via the Science Olympiad add-on (In SkyCiv: Hi YourName > Account Settings > Software Settings > Science Olympiad [S3D] > On). You will submit (within 45 minutes of starting this test) your Boomilever within SkyCiv.

During this event you should communicate with your partner via a method outside of Scilympiad such as Google Meet, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, etc. As you will not be able to access this test after submitting, please keep this instructions document open in another tab.

Conclusion

You will need to update the link below to that of your prepared instructions document. After pasting the below text into Scilympiad, the link can be edited using the built-in text editing tools of Scilympiad.

Text
Thank you for submitting your Estimated Load Supported! You will submit (within 45 minutes from when you started this test) your Boomilever within SkyCiv.

As you will not be able to revisit this webpage later, please check that you have opened this instructions document in another tab.

Questions

For the first and second questions, you will need to replace the placeholder text "#" with your selected parameters. There are a total of four placeholders that need to be replaced.

Per the rules , the distance from the origin to the Contact Width Lines must be between 3.0–7.0 cm (3.d.ii.), and the distance between the Testing Wall and the Loading Point closest to the Testing Wall must be between 20.0–45.0 cm (3.c.).

It is important to make all questions worth zero points so that scores are not affected by whether students respond to these questions.

Question Type Points Question Text Answer Text Screenshot
1 Multiple Choice 0.00 The distance from the origin to the Contact Width Lines is #.# cm. (To satisfy this requirement, the Contact Width measured by SkyCiv must be ≥ ##.### mm.) I have recorded or memorized this distance. Digital-structures scilympiad test question-1.png
2 Multiple Choice 0.00 The distance between the Testing Wall and the Loading Point closest to the Testing Wall is ##.# cm. (To satisfy this requirement, the Min. Load Distance measured by SkyCiv must be ≥ ###.### mm.) I have recorded or memorized this distance. Digital-structures scilympiad test question-2.png
3 Fill in the Blank 0.00 What is your Estimated Load Supported? Please enter a value between 0 and 15,000, in grams. This will be used as a tiebreaker (per rule 5.e.i.) as needed. 0 Digital-structures scilympiad test question-3.png
This is how the completed test should appear to students. Note that the unknown parameters in this screenshot have not been set. Click the image to enlarge.

Google Forms

The inaugural run of the Digital Structures event at BEARSO used Google Forms as a back-up submissions method so that the event could still be scored in the event of technical difficulties with SkyCiv submissions. Following suit, many Event Supervisors have continued to use Google Forms as a back-up submissions method. While this redundancy is not a bad idea, it is important to understand that screenshots taken and submitted by competitors through a form are not as secure as submissions made via the Science Olympiad add-on which run through SkyCiv's servers and cannot be modified (e.g. photoshopped, edited by page source).

As a personal recommendation, if a student is unable to submit via SkyCiv (e.g. maybe they are participating in two tournaments and SkyCiv only allows one submission per Competition Mode session) and sends a screenshot with their measurements and scores visible, I, bernard, will consider it as a Tier 2 submission.

Scoring Submissions

The general process for scoring this event involves downloading submissions from SkyCiv via a download link, comparing measurements (e.g. Contact Width, Contact Depth, and Min. Loading Distance) with your provided parameters to assess any Competition Violations, and assessing Participation points (P) or Disqualification (DQ) where justified.

There are two scoresheets available, a simple and an advanced. The simple scoresheet performs the above steps any only requires the spreadsheet of submissions downloaded from SkyCiv. The advanced scoresheet has all the capabilities of the simple scoresheet while also calculating the amount of time students spent on their build and assessing penalties for exceeding allowed time (if you enable that setting). The advanced scoresheet requires that the parameters be provided via Scilympiad, and it uses the start time of the Scilympiad test and the submission time from SkyCiv to calculate each team's time spent.

Simple Scoresheet

Click here to download a blank copy of the simple scoresheet. To use this scoresheet, after opening the spreadsheet enter in the left table a team list, paste to the right table the selection of SkyCiv submissions, specify at the top of the right table the parameters provided to students, and specify any Participation points (P) only or Disqualifications (DQ) in the left table. The scoresheet will automatically determine whether each team has Competition Violations and rank them accordingly.

Advanced Scoresheet

Download a blank copy of the advanced scoresheet with rows for 100 teams or 500 teams. (Note the 500-team scoresheet will be more resource-intensive and may run slowly on some computers.)

If you would like to download Version 3 of the scoresheet, it remains available in formats with rows for 100 teams or 500 teams. The scoring formulas between Version 3 and Version 4 are unchanged.

Sample Scoresheet

To help you understand scoring for this event using the advanced scoresheet, demonstration files are included below which include the advanced scoresheet, the team roster downloaded from Scilympiad, the submissions spreadsheet downloaded from SkyCiv, and a sample printout of the advanced scoresheet.

Completed Scoresheet (XLSX) File:Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced v3 100-teams demo.xlsx
Scilympiad Team Roster (XLSX) File:Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced v3 100-teams demo teams.xlsx
SkyCiv Submissions Spreadsheet (CSV/XLSX) File:Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced v3 100-teams demo skyciv.xlsx
Scoresheet Printout (PDF) Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced v3 100-teams demo printed.pdf

Step 1: Scoresheet Settings & Parameters

Step 1.1 Step 1.2 Step 1.3
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced instructions.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad dashboard.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced parameters.png
Open the downloaded advanced scoresheet file in Microsoft Excel. The first sheet that opens contains instructions for using the scoresheet. The Scilympiad timezone for the next step can be found at the top of the Event Supervisor dashboard in Scilympiad. It is important to get this correct so that teams' time spent is calcualted correctly. Scroll to the bottom of the Instructions sheet of the advanced scoresheet in Microsoft Excel. Enter the parameters you provided to teams in the appropriate division(s). Specify the Scilympiad timezone, time allowed between starting the Scilympiad test and submitting in SkyCiv, and whether to penalize students who go over your specified time allowed. If you set Penalize Overtime to YES, teams that exceed the time allowed will be placed in Tier 2. (Note that the rules allow students 45 minutes to build and test their structures in SkyCiv.) You may change these settings later.

Step 2: Team Roster

Step 2.1 Step 2.2 Step 2.3
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad teams page.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad teams source.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad teams paste.png
From the Event Supervisor dashboard in Scilympiad, click Event Team Roster under the yellow Rosters section to access to page shown above. Click the green Export to Excel button to download an XLSX file with the team roster. It is recommended that you complete this step after the tournament, as students that are assigned to the event during the day will not appear in your list if you download it before the tournament. Open the downloaded team roster in Microsoft Excel. Select and copy to your clipboard (Ctrl + C or Command + C or Right Click + Copy) the contents of the first three columns, excluding headers. Return to the advanced scoresheet file in Microsoft Excel. Switch to the Scilympiad sheet and paste your clipboard to the left table, as shown in the screenshot above. (To preserve formatting on the scoresheet, you can paste only values by clicking the Home tab at the top of your window, and then in the left of the ribbon Paste > Paste Values.)

This scoresheet requires that all team numbers start with either "B" or "C" so prepend the correct division letter if the team numbers in SkyCiv are only numbers (e.g. turn "1" into "C01" in the advanced scoresheet).

Step 3: Test Submissions

Step 3.1 Step 3.2 Step 3.3
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad test-submissions source.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad test-submissions paste.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad test-submissions grading.png
From the Event Supervisor dashboard in Scilympiad, click Grade Online Tests under the green Competition Day section, which will bring you to the page shown above. Select and copy to your clipboard all contents, excluding headers, of the table displayed on the page. Return to the advanced scoresheet file in Microsoft Excel. In the Scilympiad sheet, paste your clipboard to the right table, as shown in the screenshot above. Return to the Grade Online Tests page in your web browser, and click the green Grade this button, which will open each team's test as shown above. Within each test, locate each team's Estimated Load Supported and enter their submission in the right table of the advanced scoresheet.

Step 4: SkyCiv Submissions

Step 4.1 Step 4.2
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced skyciv source.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced skyciv paste.png
Using the download link provided to you by your tournament director, download the spreadsheet of all submissions made through SkyCiv to your tournament's name. Open the downloaded CSV file in Microsoft Excel, and select and copy to your clipboard all contents, excluding headers, of columns A-L. Return to the advanced scoresheet file in Microsoft Excel. Switch to the SkyCiv sheet and paste your clipboard, as shown in the screenshot above. In the rightmost blue column, retype the team number for each submission, checking that the team details that appear in the grey columns to the right match the team's submission (in case they specify the wrong team number).

In the second rightmost blue column, specify whether to score each submission. This column can be used to exclude duplicate submissions from scoring (e.g. if a team tries a test submission prior to the tournament).

Step 5: Participation/Disqualification

Step 5
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scores p-dq.png
In the advanced scoresheet open in Microsoft Excel, switch to the Scores column. In the two blue columns, specify whether any teams should receive only Participation points only (P) or Disqualification (DQ).

The scoresheet by default assigns Participation points to teams that start a Scilympiad test but do not make a SkyCiv submission. Teams that only make a SkyCiv submission without Scilympiad are scored normally. Teams that make neither Scilympiad nor SkyCiv submissions are ranked as No Show (NS).

Step 6: Scilympiad Score Entry

Step 6.1 Step 6.2 Step 6.3
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad scores blank.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scores scilympiad-input.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced scilympiad scores entering.png
From the Event Supervisor dashboard in Scilympiad, click Event Scoring under the green Competition Day section, which will bring you to the page shown above. You should input into Scilympiad the highlighted cells (shown above) of the Scores sheet of the advanced scoresheet. On the Event Scoring page, enter the score, tier, tiebreaker (where applicable), and status (for P, NS, or DQ). If any disqualifications are assigned, you should provide a reason and immediately notify tournament officials so that the team's coach can be notified.

When finished with score entry, click the orange Save changes button at the lower right. You can use the green Show Ranking button to verify rankings. To mark these scores as finished, from the Event Supervisor Dashboard, select Checkout, event wrap up under the green Competition Day section, and complete the form that follows.

Step 7: Printouts & Charts

Step 7.1 Step 7.2
Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced charts.png Digitalstructures 2021 bc scoresheet advanced print-dialogue.png
The last sheet of the advanced scoresheet contains charts that summarizes submissions and scores for the event. The advanced scoresheet has also been formatted to print nicely, either as a paper copy or digital PDF.

Navigating Issues

Possible Issue Possible Resolution
Your tournament name does not appear in the dropdown list of the submission form in SkyCiv. Your state or tournament director may need to contact the Science Olympiad national office (specifically Dr. John Loehr, jfloehr [at] soinc.org) about adding your tournament to the list. In their request, they should include:
  • Tournament Name:
  • Tournament Date:
  • Tournament Location:
  • Tournament Director:
  • Tournament Director Email:
SkyCiv features are not working as usual or its servers are not responding. Server issues with SkyCiv are incredibly rare, especially with recent server upgrades in preparation for the peak of the Science Olympiad season. You can use SkyCiv's browser test tool to see if their servers are responding; if they are, it might be an issue with the competitor's internet connection. Note that with Competition Mode on, reloading the SkyCiv page in which the student is designing their structure will clear it! When dealing with issues related to connectivity, you may decide whether to be flexible with timing.
Some teams experience technical difficulties with Scilympiad (e.g. test is not loading). If the Scilympiad test does not load, students should try to reload. If the test still does not load within the allotted event block(s), you can decide whether to extend the event block to accommodate their participation.
Some teams experience technical difficulties with SkyCiv (e.g. don't have a license, don't know how to use the software). Each team needs to acquire a paid SkyCiv license prior to the tournament, otherwise they will be unable to add more than five nodes or members. The paid license might be provided by their state organization, paid for by themselves, or provided by the tournament. If a team does not have a license, you should instruct them to check with their coach.

If students are unable to properly test their structure due to issues with the design of their structure, you should encourage them to try to fix their structure during the time allowed. If they are still unable to resolve issues with their structure, they can submit their structure in SkyCiv without a score and be placed in Tier 3. See this list of common SkyCiv mistakes.

You have questions about the measurements made by SkyCiv.
  • The "Min. Load Distance" measurement by the add-on is the distance between the Testing Wall and the node of your Area Load closest to the Testing Wall. To satisfy this requirement, this distance measured must be greater than or equal to the "minimum distance between the Testing Wall and the Loading Point closest to the Testing Wall" parameter (4.a.).
  • The "Contact Width" measurement by the add-on is the shortest distance between the vertical y-axis and the closest non-origin point of your structure on the yz-plane (i.e. Testing Wall), accounting for cross-sectional sizes. To satisfy this requirement, this distance measured must be greater than or equal to the "distance from the origin to the Contact Width Lines" parameter (4.a.).
  • The "Contact Depth" measurement by the add-on is the distance between the horizontal z-axis and the point farthest from it on the yz-plane, accounting for cross-sectional sizes. To satisfy this requirement, this distance measured must be less than or equal to 200.000 mm for Division B or 150.000 mm for Division C (3.d.i.).

Contact

If you have any questions or concerns about running Digital Structures, you are welcome to email me at bernard@scioly.org. If you found my guide helpful and followed this setup, I'd love to hear from you about how it went!