Physical Science/Chemistry


Can't Judge a Powder

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1,2)

2014-03-09 02:23 Are students allowed to bring graduated cylinders?

No, graduated cylinders are not on the list of items that students may bring.

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: v / line: 1)

2013-12-23 03:16 Are graduated beral pipettes permissable?

Yes - Beral pipettes are permitted for Can't Judge a Powder, whether graduated or not.

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: vi / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:43 Can the 9-v conductivity meter be commercial product, or does it have to be home-made?

As long as the conductivity meter is operated by a 9 volt battery, it is allowed.

2014-01-01 20:10 Is the 9-volt Conductivity tester to be assumed as "not to exceed," or only 9-volt allowed?

The rules say that students may only bring specified items. Teams may bring only 9-volt conductivity testers, per General Rules in the manual.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:12 The rules say, "Chemical gloves are optional, but recommended." Specifically, what are "chemical gloves"

Chemical gloves are safety gloves worn when working with potential dangerous chemicals. They usually take a while to degrade, are not easily permeable, and are strong. Most are made of Neoprene, nitrile, PVC, PVA (We should not use these), and latex.

(section: 3 / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:44 how many grams of the sample are given to the students? If they run out, can they ask for more without penalty?

It will be up to the Event Supervisors. The Event Supervisors may notify the students at the beginning of the competition if refills will be allowed or not, students may ask the Event Supervisor.  Since materials vary widely in density, there is no minimum or maximum number of grams Event Supervisors are to provide to the students.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:32 Rule 3d states not to say endothermic or exothermic, a web guide gives 5pts for: "...0.2 grams of the powder was dissolved in 3 ml of DI the temperature decreased from 23.3C to 21.8C thus inferring that dissolving the powder in water is endothermic."

When in doubt, read the Rules Manual. Students should not write inferences. They should only write observations. When answering questions, they should write the number(s) of the observation(s) that would be used to answer the question. Examples with inferences in them should not be listed. There is no place in the rules manual that says how to punish a team that writes an unneeded inference. However, if a team writes an unsupported inference and lists that inference to answer a question, it would receive a maximum of 2 points.

Crime Busters

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: xv / line: 1)

2014-03-10 01:42 The rules state "Each student may bring one 8.5" by 11" two-sided page of notes..." do these notes need to be the same, or may each student bring a different set of notes?

No, the notes do not need to be the same, each student's notes may be different.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:12 The rules say, "Chemical gloves are optional, but recommended." Specifically, what are "chemical gloves"

Chemical gloves are safety gloves worn when working with potential dangerous chemicals. They usually take a while to degrade, are not easily permeable, and are strong. Most are made of Neoprene, nitrile, PVC, PVA (We should not use these), and latex.


Shock Value

Simple Machines

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:42 Can a computer be used as a tool for the device testing portion of the event?

No. Computers/tablets/etc generally aren't allowed in Science Olympiad events unless explicitly permitted in the specific event rules, since they can potentially violate multiple general rules.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:01 Do students need to impound their reference material secured in a 3-ring binder?

No, only the device, tools, and supplies must be impounded. Reference materials, writing utensils, and calculators do not need to be impounded.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 2)

2014-03-09 16:32 How should teams who fail to impound their device be scored?

That is up to the individual event supervisor. It's recommended that they get a MS and TS of 0 for not making an honest attempt.

(section: 2 / paragraph: e / line: 1-2)

2014-01-02 03:12 Do students have to hang the masses from the lever, or are they allowed to set the masses on top of the lever?

General rule #2 applies, they can do either.

(section: 2 / paragraph: f / line: 3)

2014-03-09 20:35 Can the device include a mass" that is used to achieve static equilibrium befor the test masses are added?

Any masses used in this manner must be fixed in place before impound.

(section: 2 / paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: none / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:37 Does the mass range of 50.0 grams - 1200.0 grams define both the provided/known masses and the unknown masses?

Yes, the mass ranges apply to both Known and Unknown Masses per rule 2.f.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii / line: 5)

2013-11-01 01:21 Under the catagory of "Wheel& Axle", are "Belt & Pulleys" included?

Yes, Belt and Pulley sare included as part of the Pulley simple machine type for both Simple Machines and Complex Machines.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii. / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:23 If "Questions are limited to the following static equilibrium simple machines" only, will there be questions on objects that are moving or calculations of things like "kinetic energy" as the rule mentions?

No, This does not apply to Div. B, Simple Machines.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii5 / line: 5)

2013-11-01 01:23 Under the catagory of "Wheel & Axle", are "Gear Systems" included?


(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:24 Is there a standardized way that the masses are intended to be attached to the levers?

No, teams can utilize the flexible loops on the masses to hang them, or they can set the entire mass on their own hanger of some sort.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:17 Regarding the phrase "using an known mass and lever", are these simply the tools available to the competitor that are allowed to be used, or are the students REQUIRED to utilize the known mass to determine the unknown mass?

Yes, the rules state that students are to use both the known mass and a lever to determine an unknown mass.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:50 Can the hangers that the masses are hung from, be movable? For example, can the loops of the given masses, be attached to movable ringed hooks that the students slide along the two arms of their weighing device?

Yes, as long as the hooks are only used for attachment and the entire device only uses the Law of the Lever for calculating the unknown mass. General rule #2 applies:

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 3)

2014-01-02 03:25 Can the tools include a spring scale attached to the device (levers)?

No, a spring scale would not be within the spirit of the problem and would violate general rule #2, in addition to not abiding by rule 4.b.v. regarding using only the principles of a lever to calculate the mass.

(section: 5 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:21 Are points to be assigned as whole points only? Rounded or truncated? For example, if the measurement takes 15 seconds, is the TS value assigned as 18 points, 18.75 points, or 19 points?

Points will be assigned to the significant figures of the measuring equipment available to the supervisors. Contact local tournaments for information to the precision of their tools.

(section: 5 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:23 Is the Mass Score in whole points, rounded or not, or in decimal? For example, if the actual mass of the unknown was 1000g, and the calculated value was 990g, is the scored MS value assigned 29 points, 29.7 points, or 30 points?

The mass score will be decimal, based on the precision of the measurement tools used by the Event Supervisor.

Sounds of Music

(section: 1 / line: 1)

2014-01-23 03:22 May two students on the same team build the same type of instrument - say, both strings - if one instrument does treble and the other does bass?

No. The instruments must be 2 different types.

2014-01-23 03:24 With regards to the instrument-specific test, should a plosive aerophone be classified as a percussion instrument or a wind instrument?

It is a wind instrument per Hornbostel–Sachs.

(section: 1 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 2)

2014-03-09 21:01 What type of instrument is a hammered dulcimer (precursor to the piano), string or percussion?

It's a chordophone instrument per Hornbostel–Sachs.

(section: 2 / line: None)

2014-01-23 03:25 Is it possible to use pre-made cane such as cane that is gouged, profiled, and shaped. I would use this cane to construct a reed by hand.

No. That is a reed block.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 2)

2014-01-23 15:31 Regarding use of rosin, is powdered rosin used in gymnastics, baseball, bowling acceptable?

Yes, it is not a commercially available music item.

(section: 4 / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph: ii / line: 1,2)

2014-03-09 20:05 Are questions about playing specific musical instruments within the scope of this science competition? For example: "What is a technique of the left hand and arm in which the pitch of a note varies in a pulsating rhythm?"

No. Rule 4.d.i clearly states questions are on general acoustic knowledge and the types of instruments brought by the competitors. Musical technique questions are are out of the realm of the rules UNLESS they are referring to WHY a technique makes that sound (i.e. how does the speed of the bow/air affect the sound - bowing/blowing faster is louder, why does vibrato change the sound).