Fighting Crime By Day, Defying Gravity By Night

Why did you want to join the Science Olympiad this year?

Rachel: I wanted to join the Science Olympiad this year mainly because I wanted to participate in the build events. I joined hoping to gain new knowledge outside of class as well as to get more hands on experience, all while having fun with my peers!

Daniella: I wanted to join the Science alliance because I wanted to get hands-on experience learning more about the science field, not just in class but in the research capacity. I was excited to learn with like minded individuals, and be able to have some more experience with chemical work.


This year, we participated in two events- Forensics and Gravity Vehicle.


Forensics

Preparation

For the forensics event we first took notes on the rule book of the forensic science event and what the event would entail. We asked previous participants what would need to be done in preparation of this event, which mainly consisted of studying terminology and facts. We then looked up study guides from past years. Quizlet, and other online resources such as videos, that explain what the events are looking for, then further research on specifics, such as the effects of heat on certain fibers. The rules stated that we needed specific materials such as pipettes, test tubes and safety goggles, so we had to ask our chemistry teacher, Mr. Sato. After getting his approval we continued studying off flashcards, advancing our knowledge in forensic sciences. Sadly the studying and building was interrupted by the competition being pushed back and eventually canceled.


What’s left

For forensics we still needed to take more practice exams to get a full feel for the layout of the competition.


Next year

With this new experience we got it will be easier to move forward. Next year we are more prepared and know the pacing of the set up for the events. We can also try to do some hands on work/study in the lab since we didn’t get to do that this year.


Gravity Vehicle

Preparation

Prior to any actual planning, we first looked over what the competition asked for, the rules, and the scoring components. We then turned to Google and the Science Olympiad student wiki to research ways to make our vehicle not only faster, but also more accurate at stopping. We designed our vehicle and ramp on paper, and then created a mini model. We also constructed a measurement box out of pvc pipes to ensure that our build wouldn’t exceed the size limit.


Building Time!

We were originally going to create the vehicle out of wood, but due to time constraint we decided to use vex parts. The frame of our vehicle was built using Vex and our stopping mechanism was created using string. We planned to create a brachistochrone-curve wooden ramp but unfortunately our competition was cancelled and school closed down. :(


What’s Left?

We ended our Gravity vehicle preparation after building the measurement box and our vehicle. However, we still needed to work on finalizing the build and testing the vehicle, as well as figuring out the most optimal way to stop the vehicle. We also did not get to start building our ramp.


Next year

We can reuse our cart from this year for the next competition and adapt it if necessary. Next year we will have a more clear understanding of what resources we have available to us, as well as more knowledge about the physics behind our design, making it easier to build a better vehicle.



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Event Table for 2021 events: https://www.soinc.org/events/2021-event-table Event Logistics Manual: https://www.soinc.org/sites/default/files/uploaded_files/2019_Event_Logistics_Manual.pdf Santa Clara