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For more information about Science Day at PSU, contact the PSU Biology Club

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Earth and Space Science Rules for 2014 Science Day


Astronomical Shuffle

The purpose of this competition is to foster a recognition and appreciation for the
astronomical bodies in the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and Universe. The rules
are pretty basic: a set of slides will be shown. The participant will decide what it is that
is being shown. A form will be provided for answers. One point will be awarded for
each correct answer. This competition is for individuals only, although each school
may enter as many students as it wishes. Come and see the celestial bodies!


Mars Colony Competition

In this competition, students will build a model of a colony on Mars that could sustain
human life. Your model should include as many components as are necessary for a
human colony to live on the Red Planet. Your design will have to consider the various
environmental conditions on Mars, such as temperatures, climate, availability of
resources (food, water, oxygen), gravity, etc. Entries will be judged on uniqueness of
design, completeness of design, efficiency of design, and feasibility of design. The
model must be self-explanatory, thus entries must have each component of the
model labeled indicating the purpose of the component. Each entry may be built by
an individual or by teams consisting of 4 people or fewer.


Seismic Shakers

This competition requires that a student build an earthquake-proof tower.  Rules for this competition:
1. The tower may be constructed using only:        
           Small wooden craft sticks (popsicle stick size or tongue depressor size).                         
           Elmer’s Glue (NOT wood glue, gorilla glue, epoxy, rubber cement, glue guns, etc.)
           Thumbtacks (small, 8mm long variety).
2. The tower must be 1.5 meters (150 cm) tall and have a base that is 15 cm by 15 cm wide.  The tower top must have a platform, a minimum of 5 cm by 5 cm wide. 
3. The tower must be able to support a 500 g mass unassisted on the top platform for 30 seconds
4. The tower must enclose a volume by having three (3) or more vertical members along its entire height.
5. The tower must have a square base measuring 15 cm on each side.
6. The tower must provide attachment tabs near the four corners of the base as in the figure below.
7. The tower must support a 500 g mass placed on its top platform for 30 seconds.

Scoring will be based upon:

  • How long the tower can withstand a simulated shear-wave shaking,
  • Towers will be penalized 1 point for each craft stick, 2 points for each thumbtack, and 2 points for each glued joint.
  • Any ties will be resolved based on originality of design. 

The structure that survives the longest with the least penalized construction design wins.  If the base does not have its own tabs for attaching the structure to our shaker, then we will use our own method of joining the structure to the shaker (this may not work to your benefit).  Each tower may be built by an individual or by teams consisting of 2 people or fewer.


Rock Recognition 

This competition is designed to promote rock and mineral identification and classification
according to attributes such as number of cleavage planes, luster, hardness, texture, clast
size, intrusive, extrusive, and so on. This competition is for individuals only, although
each school may enter as many students as it would like. You don’t have to be a rock
hound to enjoy this one—come out and poke through our collection.

Physics Frolics and Earth and Space Science overall competition winners

Total scores are calculated by taking the rank of the top placer from each school as the school’s score for that event.  If a school does not participate in an event, then they are given a score that is equal to the lowest participant score plus ten for that event.  The scores are then totaled and the schools with the lowest point totals win the overall competitions.