Road Scholar

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Description

Participants are to be able to interpret, collect data, and make conjectures from maps, usually road and/or topographic maps. Competitors must also be able to draw maps. Participants are given 50 minutes to answer questions pertaining to the map.


Some Helpful Websites to Check out

http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/geog/basics/topo.htm Includes some general information, how to make a topographic profile, measuring stream gradient, and a sample map.


http://www.cis.ksu.edu/~dha5446/topoweb/guide.html Lots of pictures and detailed directions. Includes using contours, calculating slope angle, and reading map symbols. This site also includes links to other resources.


http://education.usgs.gov/common/undergraduate.htm#maps this has tons of links to other places


Practice

Participants should become familiar with reading topographic maps as well as road maps, and knowing what symbols mean on a map. See the USGS (http://www.usgs.gov/) for a list of road map symbols. A good study tool is the coaches handbook which goes in depth with all the things you need to know.


Many practice tests can be found on http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/products/sci_olympiad/sci_olympiad_road_scholar.html. You may need to order maps from http://www.usgs.gov/ to complete the tests.

The Competition

You should make sure that you are bringing the right things into the competition. Because you're allowed to bring anything you want, you should take all the notes that you have. It is also absolutely necessary that you bring a ruler, a 360 degree protractor, string (to measure stream gradient),and extra paper(to measure distances and as scratch paper.) A magnifying glass can sometimes be useful, and a map symbol sheet is needed for the map-drawing. A calculator is also helpful because it saves time.

Helpful Hints

It is wise to split the test between you and your partner while in a competition because of the time limit. You may think that 50 minutes is a long time, but when you get into the competition the time seems to fly by. Try to use different state maps while practicing so that you have more experience with different states and terrain. Also, purchase or find different tests to practice with. Finally, try to memorize important formulas such as stream gradient, slope gradient, longitude, and latitude.