MESA Day 2018 Questions
Specification Clarification questions must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted via our web form at MESA Day Question. Questions should be discussed with advisors prior to submission. Submitted questions should include your name, your school, and advisors should be copied on the email.
The following questions were proposed for clarification of the MESA Day 2018 specficiations.
General QuestionsClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Can students participate on more than 1 team?
Answer: It is possible for students to participate on more than one team. Each specification identifies how many students must be present during testing, so you should refer to those specifications. The only events that restrict students from participating in other events are the National Competition and On-Site since they require all team members to be present and require a longer time commitment to compete.
Question: Can notebooks be digital or do they have to be on paper?
Answer: Students can use a digital notebook but they will be required to provide a hardcopy, printed or handwritten copy, of the notebook at MESA Day for judging, if required by that design challenge. If printed students should be prepared to answer questions by judges to ensure that the work is the student’s own work.
MESA Arduino STEM Solution - National CompetitionClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Are we able to incorporate living organisms in our project?
Answer: Yes, however, it is important to remember that the project must be centered around the use of Arduino to meet the needs of your identified client. Also, keep in mind the need to transport the project to MESA Day, and possibly the National Competition.
Question: What do teams needs to bring to the Regional Design Day?
Answer: Students should complete the Design Brief to provide judges a summary of their project.
Question: What is the best way for students to create the Poster?
Answer: Students should use something like PowerPoint or Google Slides and set the page size to 36” x48” and create their poster within this space. There are more resources on creating posters and presentations at http://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/resources/postertips.html#design. This resource can also be found on the MESA Day Page listed under the specifications for the National Competition.
Question: Will we be presenting the posters (powerpoint) on a projector screen or do we need to print these out for April 21st?
Answer: The Posters that are submitted this week will be projected onto a screen at MESA Day. No teams should bring printed or handmade posters to MESA Day. They will not be allowed.
Question: What style is required to cite sources for the paper? (APA or MLA)
Answer: There is no required style. The style should be something that the students are familiar with and using at their school.
Question: Can we still use the Sparkfun Kit Materials on this project without submitting receipts for these items?
Answer: The budget for this year’s National Event does not require teams to submit receipts.
Question: Do we need to list the approximate value for parts that are from donated/recycled materials on the budget spreadsheet? (Example: empty water bottles)
Answer: Yes, anything that is part of your design should have an associated cost. Since the idea is that you are creating a reproducible design that may need to be manufactured and the budget provides an estimate on production cost. Cost for empty water bottles can be found through on-line retailers.
Question: If we are continuing to develop our design before April 21st, so long as no other items are needed to be listed in the budget sheet, how do we document this in our presentation and can the display (poster) be different than the one submitted this week when we present?
Answer: The poster will need to be the same as the one submitted for scoring. Any changes with reasoning behind those changes can be discussed during the interview.
Question: When will our team know which place and time it will present on the day of the competition
Answer: Arizona MESA will provide a sign-up sheet for teams to select presentation times in early April.
Question: Due to the length of the printed code, plus the budget, and bibliography, can the ruling on these being included in the total page count be reconsidered?
Answer: Yes, the ruling has been changed for Arizona and will be considered for the National Event. The 10 page maximum will now only include the Title page and body of the report. The appendices will not count toward the 10 page maximum The appendices must be clearly labeled and should include the budget, bibliography, commented Arduino Code, and other support materials listed in Poster Rule 5e.
Question: Can students use their online MESA Journal or PowerPoint to guide their presentation or will they only be projecting their poster?
Answer: The students can only use their submitted poster during the presentation but may use their design notebooks, including online journals, during the remainder of the interview.
Question: Can the students use the 20 minutes for the interview the way they would like to instead of sticking with the specific break down given in Rule 4 of the Presentation and Technical Interview?
Answer: No, the presentation and prototype demonstration are given a specific times to set-up the Interview with judges which is the main purpose of this element.
Question: Can the URL links for the "pitch" be videos created by the students to use with their presentation (YouTube Video)?
Answer: Yes, students can use YouTube videos created by the team during their Pitch Presentation.
QESST Solar Car Obstacle Course CompetitionClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Can old vex robotics parts be used to build the car?
Answer: Per the specs, “You may use all types of materials when designing your car. However, you MUST use the four solar panels and motor provided by QESST…” so yes these parts can be used as long as the provided solar panels and motor provide all the power to the vehicle.
Question: Rubber bands are not allowed as the energy source, however, can they be used in other ways, such as connections with gears?
Answer: Yes they can be used in this fashion.
Question: Do we have to have a budget list?
Answer: A budget list is not required but is good to have in the Engineering Design Notebook.
ASCE PVC Pipe BridgeClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Can any part of the bridge hang over the support more than the eight feet (1 foot for each base of the bridge and 6 feet between the supports)? To clarify this question a little more, the maximum length of the bridge has to be 8 feet only.
Answer: An overhang, or cantilever, is not prohibited by the rules. However, do keep in mind that any such overhang would still need to abide by all other rules and that the footing area is the only are where the bridge can touch the ground.
Question: What exactly does “The bridge shall not be less than 2’0” wide nor wider than 4’0” at any location along the span” mean?
Answer: The span of a bridge is defined as the part of the bridge between the piers or supports. So the bridge must be at least two feet and no more than four feet wide.
Question: Can the PVC pipe be formed into angles, other than straight 180 degrees, as long as the structure of the pipe is intact and the safety of the design is considered?
Answer: Forming or bending is not specifically prohibited in the specifications, however, it is stated that “Members shall not exceed overall dimensions of 2' x 6” x 6”. That is, it shall fit into a right rectangular prism (i.e., box) of those dimensions.” So any bent form would have fit within these parameters to meet specifications.
Question: Can duct tape or zip ties be used to reinforce the bridge once it is assembled?
Answer: Yes if they are used as connections per rule 3 which states “Connections must be loose and can be made of PVC pipe connectors or other materials.”. For the purpose of the competition, loose connections are connections that are not permanent. All connections must be assembled on site during the construction period and must be able to be disassembled as well. So duct tape could be used since it can be removed, whereas glue could not be used since it is a permanent bond.
Question: If a bridge "member" consists of a pvc pipe and a pvc connector - can that be glued if it falls within the "member" description?
Answer: Yes, if the PVC connector is permanently affixed to the PVC then it would be part of the member and must fit in the 2 ’x 6” x 6” prism and be made from schedule 40 PVC. If the elbow is not permanently affixed to the PVC and would be attached during the building phase than the elbow is a connection and not a part of the member, thus the elbow would not be need to fit in the prism with the PVC.
Question: Can the pieces be zipped tied together in two foot pieces? In other words, can the pieces be already connected together with zip ties as long as they meet the 2 foot by 6 inch rule?
Answer: No, zip ties are considered connections only and all connections must be put together on site during the construction time.
Question: Can we use wood inside the PVC pipes and nail it to the PVC as a connection?
Answer: Yes, since the nails can be removed it qualifies as a loose connection, however, it does propose a possible safety hazard. Drilling holes in the PVC and Wood and using pins or nuts and bolts that can slide through would be a safer option.
Question: The footers can't be wider than 12 inches in the direction of the bridge traffic?
Answer: Correct, the footings of the bridge must fit within a space that is 1’ by 4’. This space is located two feet from the edge of the river. Teams should refer to the 2D Plan View (Top) and 3D Bridge View (side) diagrams in the specifications for more details.
Question: Can tension wire be used to connect and assemble the pipe bridge?
Answer: Yes, tension wire can be used to connect the members.
Question: Can PVC Conduit be used?
Answer: PVC conduit is ok for connections but not for the members.
Question: The connections of one of our designs is made of wood with bolts glued to the wood making those permanent. Is this legal to use for the connectors?
Answer: Per the specifications “all connections must be loose and can be made of PVC pipe connectors or other materials”, this means that the connection between PVC members must be assembled on site during the construction period and must be able to be disassembled. In this case as long as the wood/bolt combination is not permanently attached to the PVC members and fits the rule above it is legal.
Question: Can the second level be longer than the first level?
Answer: Yes, as long as all other specifications are met.
GM-SAE "It's Complicated" Contraption ChallengeClick or enter to reveal information below
Golf Ball Delivery ChallengeClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Once the launcher has been checked in and specs done - Can an adjustment be made to allow the launch to do different arch angles? If that "adjustment" bar is part of the launch design?
Answer: Yes, that would be allowed.
Question: Is there a height limit of the receptacle for the golf ball delivery?
Answer: There is no height limit for the receptacle, however all parts of the receptacle will figure into the volume calculation.
Question: How do we figure volume if we use a backboard or net?
Answer: For oddly shaped items teams could break down volume measurements into more manageable or familiar components and then add those volumes together. In the example below I would calculate the volume of the prism, the volume of the cylinder, and then add them together. Teams should then have their volume calculation in their design notebook and be prepared to explain their reasoning to the judges. On MESA Day, judges will examine this calculation and if determined to be accurate will use it, otherwise judges will treat the receptacle as a prism and use the greatest measurements of height, width, and length to determine the volume.
Duct Tape & Cardboard Canoe ChallengeClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: What kind/ type of cardboard do we use?
Answer: The kind and/or type of cardboard that is used is not restricted. There are different types and we encourage teams to explore the properties of different types of cardboard as a part of the design process. Don’t forget to include any information collected and/or data from experimentation in your design notebook. A great source of information on cardboard can be found at http://makingsociety.com/2014/11/cardboard-prototyping-1/. This site is also listed under the resource section for this event on the MESA Day Page.
Question: Can gorilla duct tape or heavy duty duct tape be used for the boat?
Answer: Yes, both of those duct tapes will be allowed.
Question: Will the students be placing the bottles on the boats or will adults? Can they direct how they are placed? Will they be placed on the bottom as they would be to stand on desk?
Answer: Bottle will be placed by judges into the boats and will be placed with the bottle opening up. Before testing teams can ask judges to follow a certain pattern but during testing it will be at the judge’s discretion.
Question: Can the cylinder part of a Pringles can be used?
Answer: No, although the cylinder is mostly cardboard it does have a layer of foil on it, which is not allowed. The only allowed materials are cardboard and duct tape.
Question: Can the bottles be stacked on top of each other once the bottom of the boat if covered?
Answer: Yes, once the bottom layer of the boat is covered additional bottles can be stacked, however, remember that all bottles will be placed with the bottle opening pointing up.
Question: Can we completely cover the cardboard with duct tape?
Answer: Yes, however judges reserve the right to peel back cardboard to confirm that only cardboard and duct tape was used. This could happen before and/or after testing. It is suggested that teams also bring sample materials to show judges and be prepared to talk about the design and construction of the boat.
Question: Can the Cardboard canoe be more of a raft shape?
Answer: Although the name of the event is “Canoe” the Objective listed in the specifications states that teams must “…design and construct a boat…” so other shapes are allowed.
Question: Can the canoe have tubes underneath?
Answer: Yes, as long as the tube are only constructed from cardboard and duct tape.
Question: Does the canoe have to be completely one piece taped together or can it be in separate pieces as it is made of duct tape and cardboard only?
Answer: The design does have to be one piece although it can be comprised of several components that are attached to one another.
Question: When the judges put the bottles in as we direct, how can we control the inertia of the bottles settling in the canoe?
Answer: This is a variable that students must accommodate for in their design. Similar to as if real people were boarding onto a boat.
Question: Can paper plates be used as a cardboard material. Thank you.
Answer: No, paper plates are not considered cardboard for the purposes of this challenge.
Cellphone Accessory Design ChallengeClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Are we only allowed to use the PLA plastic and ABS plastic to make our whole design?
Answer: These plastics are the most commonly used and that is why they were listed in the specifications. However, if teams want to use other types of filament for their design that will be allowed.
Question: What do teams needs to bring to the Regional Design Day?
Answer: Students should complete the Design Brief to provide judges a summary of their project. A computer and projector will also be available for students to share any designs they may be working on using Tinkercad or OnShape.
Question: Can part of the accessory be 3d printed and part be superglued on?
Answer: Yes, if the idea is to modify an existing product to improve its use as a cellphone accessory or convert it to a cellphone accessory. However, since the objective of the competition is to design a cellphone accessory using a CAD program and is designed to be 3D printed, only the part that is designed to be 3D printed will be considered for scoring purposes.
Question: Is there a way that the cell phone team can show a PowerPoint when they give their presentation?
Answer: Yes, a PowerPoint in conjunction with the printed design or a PowerPoint that includes detailed pictures of the design can be used.
Computer Science Scavenger HuntClick or enter to reveal information below
Question: Will this challenge be structured like a quiz at every stop or will the problems reveal the clue itself?
Answer: The problems will not reveal the clue. Each team will attempt to solve the problem presented at each station, and will have a maximum of 10 minutes to solve that problem. Once teams submit their answer for scoring, they will be scored, assigned points for that problem, and given the next clue regardless of the correctness of their answer. The final score will be the sum of the points from each station divided by the time in minutes. A bonus question or quiz may be added at the finish to serve as a tie-breaker.
Question: Approximately how long will this competition take and can they come at any time from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM to compete as stated on the Google Team Sign Up?
Answer: The maximum time allowed to complete the five stations is one hour. Teams can start any time between 9 and 11:30 in order to complete the course prior to the end of the testing period.
Question: What will occur during "Check-in & Spec Check"?
Answer: Teams just need to check-in to let the judges know that they are participating. There is no specification check for this challenge.
Question: Are they required to bring an Engineering Notebook to competition and can they bring an engineering notebook to this competition?
Answer: An Engineering Notebook is not required and should not be brought for this challenge. The challenge is designed to test student’s knowledge on computer science principles from the referenced websites. Students will also not be allowed to reference materials including their cellphones for this challenge.