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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 2015 Science Day


Earth and Space Science Events

  • Astronomical Shuffle
  • Mars Colony
  • Rock Recognition
  • Seismic Shaker

Astronomical Shuffle

Participants must have pencils with them.
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.

Rock Recognition

Participants must have pencils with them.
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.

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:
    • Wooden craft sticks (popsicle stick or tongue depressor size).
    • Elmer’s Glue (NOT wood 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.