Science Day at PSU

April 11, 2019

The Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics at Pittsburg State University invites students of science at the secondary level to participate in individual and team events during the annual PSU Science Day.
Science Day at PSU

Master Competition Schedule

Register for Science Day at PSU

All events will begin at 9:30a.m., with registration from 8:00-9:00a.m. Opening remarks will be from 9:00-9:15a.m.


Competition Rules and Results


  • Biology Bowl
  • Chemistry Capers
  • Physics / Earth and Space Science
  • Competition Results
  • Planning Committee and Contact

-- PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE TO THE RULES --

Oral Competition

Schools are encouraged to return their information promptly to participate in the Oral Competition. A confirmation letter will inform you of the status of your Oral Competition team. If you register for this competition, then please be aware that the tiebreaker round is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm.  In past years, teams departing early have been thrown off the win/loss bracketing, which has resulted in teams meeting more than once before the final round, in conflict with event rules. If you are unable to commit to staying past 2:00 p.m., then PLEASE do not register for this event. 

Each school may enter only one team in the Oral Competition. Each team may have 1-5 members; however, only four members of the team are allowed to compete in any one round. The alternate member may be substituted in for other rounds.  Each team must select one captain who will sit nearest the reader during the competitions and who will be present at ALL rounds. A team may continue to compete throughout the day, even if not all four members are present for each round.

Each team must carry to each round of competition a name card identifying their school. They will not be asked to carry around numbers for each member of the team; those will be placed on the tables beforehand. The label should be placed in front of each team member to assist the judge in identifying contestants when they signal to answer. The name cards will be provided in the information packet.

The Biology Department of Pittsburg State University will provide four officials for each round of competition:

Judge – The judge will be a faculty member and will have the final say on all matters relating to the progress of each round.  The judge will identify the team name and number of the contestant who signals first for answering each toss-up question, correct pronunciation of the reader, and accept or reject answers which are not immediately clear to the reader.

Reader – The reader will be an upper classman majoring in Biology and will read all questions unless deferred to or requested by the judge.  The reader will start and end each round, and will usually determine the correctness of all answers.  The reader will also give the correct answers to all questions answered incorrectly.

Timer – The timer will time the rounds (20 minutes each), the interval between question and signal, between signal and answer, and for bonus questions, between question and answer.

Scorekeeper – The scorekeeper will keep a running score during each round in full view of all participants and the audience.

The competition will consist of toss-up questions and bonus questions:

Toss-Up Questions – Toss-up questions (10 points each) are all multiple-choice questions, and may be answered by any member of either team. Only the person who signaled is allowed to answer the question.  However, members can confer before signaling. The team with a member signaling first has the first opportunity to answer correctly. If they are unable to answer to the satisfaction of the judge, the other team will be given an opportunity to answer. Any team may signal to answer before the question is completely read, but their answer must match one of the four choices.  (The reader and judge may exercise their own discretion in such instances). An answer must consist of the word(s) in the possible answers given and not merely the letter of the answer. If a team member signals to answer before a question is completely read and answers incorrectly, the reader will re-read the entire question, with answers, for the other team. Once a question has been read completely, it will not be re-read. 

The teams will have 10 seconds to signal after the last word of the last answer choice is read or re-read. The signaling team member must always begin his/her answer within 5 seconds of being recognized by the judge.  Failure to begin an answer within the allotted time will be considered an incorrect answer.

Bonus Questions – If a team member answers a toss-up question correctly, a bonus question (10 points) will be read for that team. (The other team cannot answer the bonus question). After the last word of the last answer of the bonus question is read, the team will have 20 seconds in which to confer, and the team captain may answer any time within that 20 seconds. If no answer is forthcoming, the timer will say “TIME” after the 20 seconds, and the team captain must provide an answer immediately without further consultation. On all bonus questions, answers will be accepted only from the team captain.

If the reader has begun reading a question (toss-up or bonus) when the timer announces the end of the round, then only that question will be finished. If it is a toss-up question, and the team that signals first answers incorrectly, then the other team will be given the chance to answer. If the team that signals first answers correctly, then no bonus question will be read. If the round ended with a correct, tying answer to a toss-up question, then the next bonus question will be read to break the tie. If the question read does not break the tie, then the round will proceed under the usual rules until one team scores and wins.

Additional rules to be observed during Oral Competition:

Audience members shall not carry or use materials for note-taking or tape recording in the oral competition rooms. They should remain quiet during the competition and may be ejected from the room for debating decisions made by the judge, reader, or timer; however, if the scorekeeper makes an error, then audience members or individuals on the team may cordially call it to the attention of the judge. Teams are expected to be courteous of their opponents and show good sportsmanship. Inappropriate behavior will be determined by the judge and may result in the team being disqualified.

A team must lose two rounds in order to be eliminated from the oral competition. Teams losing their first round will move to the consolation bracket where play will continue until the team loses a second round. The final round is a match between the top team of the winners bracket (no losses) and the top team of the consolation bracket (only one loss). If the top team of the winners’ bracket beats the top team of the consolation bracket, then the competition is over. If the top team of the consolation bracket beats the top team of the winners’ bracket, then both teams will have only one loss and a second, full-length round will be played. At the end of that round, one team will have two losses and the other team will be declared the winner of the overall competition.

Each round starts promptly on the half-hours, as indicated in the schedule of events. If a team does not show up within 5 minutes of the official start time, the judge will declare the team in attendance as winner, by default.  A single team member may constitute a team, but once a round begins, late arriving members cannot participate in that round.

Intervals between rounds may be 10 minutes or less (except for the lunch break), and teams should proceed directly from one round to the next.  Room assignments for the Oral Competition will be posted on the day of the competition.  Signs on the second and third floor of Heckert-Wells Hall will clearly indicate all room locations. Once a round is started, the door will be closed and no one will be allowed to enter a room where a round is taking place.

Written Competitions

Entries – A school may enter as many students in each test category as time permits for competition. Any student may enter any number of written test competitions, as scheduling of exams permits (see below). No student entered in the oral competition may enter any written test competition.

Tests – Four written tests and two practical exams will be offered, but some will run concurrently.  The schedule of tests is as follows:

Practical Exams (General Biology, Genetics, Ecology, and Anatomy and Physiology)

Wildlife Identification (Heckert-Wells Rm 221)

9:30-10:00 & 10:00-10:30 & 10:30-11:00 am
(Limited to 16 students per session)

Sounds of Nature (Heckert-Wells Rm 221)

11:00-11:30 am (Limited to 32 students)

Written Exams

You must be registered to take a written exam or exams. Students who are not registered for the specific exams will not be allowed to take the those exams. The General Biology, Genetics, Ecology, and Anatomy and Physiology tests will consist of 30 four-part multiple choice questions with an additional three bonus questions. The tests will be administered from 9:30am to 11:00am in Yates Hall Rm 102. Students may take as many exams as they signed up to take during that allotted time. Students may show up at any point in time during the allotted time to take their written exams; however, they are encouraged to show up on time. The tests will be scored for the number of correct answers; unanswered questions will be considered incorrect. In the case of a tie, the three bonus questions at the end of the test will be graded. The three students with the most correct answers will be awarded medals. Make sure the bonus questions are answered BEFORE the exams are turned in.

Monitors will oversee and time the written exams. Contestants must stop work immediately when the end of the allotted time is announced or they will be disqualified by the monitors, whose decisions are final. If a student finishes the test(s) before the allotted time, they may quietly leave the room. Students are not allowed to take any form of the test out of the room, nor can tests be retrieved after the competition. Participants are encouraged to bring a pencil to the test as there will only be a limited number to pass out at the test. Calculators are not necessary and will not be permitted. Personal belongings must be left at the front of the testing room. The monitors will not be responsible for watching your things.  Make sure each student puts his or her name, the name of his or her school, and the test being taken on the answer sheet. This is to make sure that the test results can be recorded properly and awards will be handed out correctly.

Wildlife Identification

Test your wildlife identification skills! There will be two sessions, lasting 30 minutes each. The first 16 participants will receive a crimson ticket and will take their practical exam from 9:30am to 10:00am. The next 16 participants will receive a gold ticket and will take their practical exam from 10:00am to 10:30am. The last 16 participants will receive a white ticket and will take their practical exam from 10:30 to 11:00am. Participants will view a variety of identifiable materials such as tracks, signs of mammals and birds, pelts, and skulls. Students must make a species identification by writing their answer on the answer sheet provided in the session. Correct responses may be common names but must be specific enough to indicate individual species. The winner of the event will be the participant who has the highest number of accurate responses.

Sounds of Nature

Expand your biological knowledge by competing in a quiz on natural sounds made by birds, frogs, mammals, reptiles, and insects. Up to 32 participants will be allowed to sign up for the single session of Sounds of Nature, beginning at 11:00am; all participants for the Sounds of Nature will receive a neon green ticket. Participants will hear representative samples of tape-recorded animal sounds. Students must make a species identification by writing their answer on the answer sheet provided in the session. Correct responses may be common names but must be specific enough to indicate individual species. The winner of the event will be the participant who has the highest number of accurate responses.

Test graders will begin grading exams immediately after they are completed and the top eight scores will be sent to each school. The top eight scores will receive certificates acknowledging their accomplishments, and the top three scores will receive medals in addition to their certificates.  Awards will be mailed to the respective schools. Sponsors should leave a self-addressed, stamped envelope containing a list of those students who participated with a PSU Biology Club member (blue shirts). The PSU Biology Department will return your results.

You can view results at http://www.pittstate.edu/science-day/

Additional Activities

Cadaver Tours – Dr. Steven Ford and an assistant will conduct human cadaver laboratory demonstrations by reservation only. These tours will be performed in two rooms, in 30-minute intervals, and a maximum of 20 people per demonstration will be allowed. To reserve a cadaver demonstration, please indicate your preference on the Biology Bowl Registration form along with the number of people who will be attending the tour. These will fill on a first-come, first-serve basis. Groups must be accompanied by their sponsors and will meet 10 minutes prior to their reserved time in the 2nd floor lobby of Heckert-Wells Hall.

Chemistry Capers Rules

Competitions are divided into First Year and Second Year Students. The competitions begin by first administering Individual examinations for both years. The Individual exams consist of 30-40 multiple choice questions along with an essay-type tie breaker question. The Individual competitions are allotted a maximum time of 50 minutes. After this period the examinations are graded and the top three winners from each year are decided based on scores on the multiple choice questions and the answers to the tie breaker questions, if necessary.

Following the Individual examination period, teams from both years are administered Team exams, each consisting of two questions with multiple sections. The questions are not multiple choice style and individuals from each team collaborate in solving these questions. The tests are timed and scores are based on accuracy and speed of delivery. Teams consist of 3 students or less.

Teams will compete as entered. In the event of a missing team member, a registered alternate may be substituted. Please also note that members of teams are automatically expected to enter in the Individual competitions.

Students should bring 2-3 #2 pencils or equivalent and a calculator. Graphing calculators are allowed. Previous exams for study are available on request from lhoesli@pittstate.edu.

The top three winners for each competition will be announced at the Award Ceremony at 2:00 p.m. in the Oval. The top 10 in each category will be posted to the PSU Chemistry website and on the Science Day website. Trophies will be given out at the ceremony and name plates will be mailed to the schools after engraving is complete.

Physics Frolics Events

Mousetrap Car

The purpose of this competition is to build a car whose only source of power is a standard mousetrap.  Typical mousetrap cars are built using a metallic wire extension of the trap with a string attached and then wrapped around the axle of the car.  The mouse trap car can be built of any materials, however, make certain that the only source of power is the mouse trap itself. 

In addition, the following rules apply:

1. The mousetrap is the only source of power (not those larger traps).  Fishing rods, rubber bands, and other materials that stretch or bend may not be used in combination with the mouse trap.  These are additional sources of stored energy (they’re essentially springs).

2. The mousetrap may not be used as a catapult to project a car down the hallway.

3. The cars will run in a hallway approximately 2.5 meters wide, thus straight travel is important.

4. Winners will be judged according to the maximum distance traveled.

5. Each car may be built by an individual or by a team consisting of 2 people.

Physics Face-Off    (1 team per school, max 4 people per team)

NEW: No graphing or programmable calculators are allowed!

No cell phones or iPads are allowed!

Participants must have pencils with them.

This is a straight-forward competition in which teams of four students each work to solve a set of physics questions and problems within a specified time limit.  Your equipment will include high-tech, state-of-the-art pencil and paper, which will be provided.  In addition, each participant may bring a non-programmable and non-graphing calculator with them. 

Paper Tower  (Limited to 3 teams per school, max 2 people per team)

The objective of this competition is to build a free-standing tower of maximum height using a single sheet of 8.5" by 11" photocopier paper and one 50 cm strip of tape.  No other materials may be used.  Participants will be required to construct their tower at PSU during the timed competition.  The paper and tape will be provided, as well as scissors and a ruler.  It is recommended that students develop a tower design and practice building it prior to the competition.  The paper may be cut or folded into any shape, and the tape used to fasten any parts of the tower together. 

1. The tower must be free-standing—it may not be attached to the floor, ceiling, or any other object.

2. A tower will be declared free-standing if it remains self-supporting for more than 10 seconds.

3. Height is determined by measuring the perpendicular distance from the highest point on the tower to the supporting surface. 

4. Each tower may be built by an individual or by a team consisting of 2 people. 

 Earth and Space Science Events

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.

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.

2018

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

YouTube Video

2017

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers
  • Top 3 Individuals and Teams  
  • Top 10 Individuals

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

YouTube Video

2016

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

 

2015

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

 

2014

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

 

2013

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  •Medals
  •Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

YouTube Video

2012

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

 

2011

Biology Bowl

Chemistry Capers

Physics Frolics
  • Medals
  • Trophies

Earth Sciences
  • Medals
  • Trophies

YouTube Video

Sponsor - PSU Biology Club

Organizing Faculty/Staff
Dr. Peter Chung, Biology
Ms. Linda Hoesli, Chemistry
Ms. Kyla Scarborough, Physics

Supporting Departments
Biology Department
Chemistry Department
Physics Department

Contact
psubiologyclub@gmail.com