Thank you for organizing a large and one of a kind event that benefits elementary children by learning new topics and applying them in a competitive and fun setting. This is our first time at this event. So, I have a lot to say and I hope you take it constructively. The comments are not in any particular order.
1. Impound process was a bit disorganized with tables reading team numbers, but impound being by event.
2. Gravity vehicle ramp was very steep. Given that this is a new event, a lower angle would have helped.
3. Picture This clarifications state that 2 dashes to indicate 2 word answer and use of arrow are permitted. However, the judges did not allow them and it hurt our team's performance because they practiced using them.
4. Pentathlon announcements with bullhorn meant that when announcer turned in the other direction, we could not hear much in the noisy crowd. A trial run demonstrating 2 rounds would have been very helpful.
5. Pentathlon questions were much harder than Jeopardy elimination and Final jeopardy first round questions. This was totally unexpected and many questions were certainly not from 4/5/6th grade science textbooks.
6. Description of topics for Optics, Road Scholar, Circuit Design etc., are not well defined to prepare elementary school kids. This leads to frustration for kids and coaches alike and is discouraging. Road Scholar dacription lists10 types of maps, but questions came from very few types, but were in depth on definitions. How is one to prepare to succeed with so much open endedness? There was no mention of Polarization for Optics in description and it is not covered by 4-8 grade textbooks. Why was it on the test?
7. While publishing results, it would help to share the score in each event for the winning team to know what our goal should be. For example, was temperature drop 3F or 20F or 30F in energy box? How many answers did the winning team get in say Road Scholar. We are well aware that more goes into ranking for Energy box than temperature, but it still serves as a good reference point.
Thank you so much for your encouraging words and constructive comments. We'd like to address some points here for clarity:
>>For each event, the table was reading the team numbers-- FOr eg., GV had 4 judges impounding based on team numbers.
>>True.. However, the angle was withing the published limits.
>>Sorry to hear that. We'll look into it. However, it must have been consistent for all teams.
>>That's a great idea to have a practice round. However, the announcer asked the participating kids if they had any questions and answered them. Perhaps, the parents did not hear/understand the instructions, which is not mandatory.
>> Sometimes, we need tough questions to act as tie-breakers. Jeopardy! has the buzzer to do the trick :-)
>>The topics are challenging and open-ended to some extent, when they participate in a competition. The spirit of the event and the goal is to get introduced to various topics and gain as much as knowledge as a 10-year old can get. This is not a school test with a set syllabus and exams limited to such. So, best to look at the positive aspects of learning, rather than stressing out on what is not learned.
>>Good idea. Can look into doing that next year.
I met with sine coaches today and would like to highlight some observations.
1. In Energy Box, some judges measured initial temperature in the energy box and some before placing it in there. This would make a difference. 2. I observed that children were asked to handle and place the hot cup of water into the energy box by themselves. This is bmnever appropriate/safe for young children.
I am Ddding my response to the organizers comments that I have already sent via email.
In Picture this, other teams may not have practiced using dash or arrow. That it was applied to all teams does not make it ok.
Pentathlon is common to all kids in the team and not just those who put in the effort for jeopardy reading everything they could. It is combined with a timed physical activity and there is no need for the questions to be harder than jeopardy. If 10% of the questions are hard for tiebreaker, that is plenty. I disagee with your argument that if there were no questions, kids got it and parents don't need to get it. The bullhorn is directional and not audible to all. Please use a loud speaker and demonstration next time.
In other competitions, you prepare for one event and the opendedness is welcome. Preparing for 11 events is hard enough for 10 year olds. I strongly encourage you to reduce the opendedness to make the preparation and competition day more enjoyable for more children. You can increase the difficulty level if there is less opendedness and vice versa.
I rest my case.
I have to add one more comment to this list that: Estimania scope as defined and narrated in meetings was very different than what was actually asked in the real event. Considering elementary level competition and the intention to have kids develop good evaluation techniques, it is important to put clear rules so kids can work in right direction and can enjoy on the main event day as well. This is applicable to any new stream/event type planned for future.
We welcome constructive comments and feedback from participants of the 10th Bay Area Elementary Science Olympiad that was conducted on May 20, 2017 in Fremont, CA.