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Compute This!

Compute This!. Presented by G.Baker PESOS Coaches Clinic. What is Compute This?. Compute This requires both the ability to locate information in a given domain and, using Microsoft Excel, to interpret data found, as well as finding the answers to short answer questions.

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Compute This!

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  1. Compute This! Presented by G.Baker PESOS Coaches Clinic

  2. What is Compute This? Compute This requires both the ability to locate information in a given domain and, using Microsoft Excel, to interpret data found, as well as finding the answers to short answer questions. You are given a total of 50 minutes to finish the event, with a 10 minute introduction at the beginning. Teams of 2.

  3. Compute This! – Rules Summary • 50 Minute Event (5 Minute Orientation + 45 Minute Competition) • Team of Up to 2 Students – One, Network Connected PC w/ WWW Access • Problem Statement • Requires Information Search on WWW (Quantitative Data) • Spreadsheet Data Entry and Graphical Presentation • Up to 5 Additional Short Answer Questions – May Involve Analysis of Data Previously Captured or Additional Facts to Be Captured via Internet Search • Data Submission • Spreadsheet File – Data Tables and Graphics • Document File – Answers to Short Answer Questions + URL’s • Supervisor Will Specify if Files are to Be Saved, Printed, E-Mailed, etc. • No Resource Materials or Calculators (Blank Scrap Paper is OK) • Teams May Construct a Reference Web Site Prior to Competition • Absolutely No External Communication during Event (E-Mail, Chat, etc.)

  4. Be a Google Guru! • Most likely you will need to know how to use google efficiently. Here are a few tips: • Search one domain. Use the "site:" tool to search one domain. For example, searching "site:www.nasa.gov Pluto mass" will give you results from only the NASA.gov domain. • Use full sentences Sometimes you want to find words that are next to each other. When you want to do this, use quotes. For example, searching " "Pluto mass" " will give you results with the words "Pluto" and "mass" together. • Be logical Use logical operators. Those are AND, OR, and NOT. Searching "Pluto AND mass NOT Disney" will give you results with the word "Pluto" and the word "mass", but not the word Disney. • No memorization required Too much info? Just click "advanced search" and all the keywords will be filled in for you. • Be quick. • Usless words Google ignores words like "of", "is", "the", and so on. So "mass of Pluto" gives the same results as "mass Pluto". • CaSe Sensitive Google isn't case sensitive, so "Mass Pluto" will give the same results as "mass pluto". • Order of Words Word order doesn't matter, so "mass pluto solar system" will give the same results as "system mass pluto solar". • Pick your favorite. Don't like Google? Too many search engines? Pick your favorite using this blind search test.

  5. Reminders / Common Questions • Teams May Use Any Web Resource or Search Engine to Locate Data within the www.nasa.gov Domain (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing, etc.) • However, Immediate Disqualification for E-Mail or Chat Traffic • URL’s Associated with Short Answers Must Point to www.nasa.gov Domain

  6. Compute This! – Sample Scoring Rubric • Completeness and Accuracy of Quantitative Data Collected (20 Pts.) • Correct X and Y Axis Data Points in Data Table (n Pts. each) • Correct Units of Measure (n Pts., if conversion required) • Completeness, Accuracy, and Format of Graphical Presentation (30 Pts.) • Correct Graph Format (n Pts.) • Title Above Graph (n Pts.) • X-Axis Properly Labeled (n Pts.) • Y-Axis Properly Labeled (n Pts.) • Legend Exists (n Pts.) • At Least One Data Point Plotted (n Pts. each) • Answers and URL’s Associated with Short Answer Questions (50 Pts.) • Correct Answers with Valid URL’s (n Pts. each) Tie Breakers are: (1) Short Answer Questions, (2) Quantitative Data Collected, and (3) Overall Graphical Quality. Time is not a Tie Breaker.

  7. Preparing a Team – Core Skills • Efficient Use of WWW Browser and Search Engine (e.g. Google) • Intelligent Selection of “Keywords” for Searches • Use of “Operators” to Narrow Searches (e.g. “and”, “or”, etc.) • Extraction of Numeric Data from Tables or Text (Manual Transcription) • Familiarity with www.noaa.gov Domain • Construction of (Non Password Protected) Team Web Site – Optional • Efficient Use of Spreadsheet Tools for Charting of Numeric Data • Construction of Data Tables • Familiarity with Chart Types and Sub-Types • Proper Insertion of Titles, Axis Labels, and Legends • Follow Instructions Carefully in Problem Statement • • Use of Word Processor for Short Answer Questions (Up to Five) • Basic Word Processing (Advanced Features Not Required) • Data Entry of Short Answers… Complete Sentences Not Required • Ability to Copy & Paste Source URLs from Web Browser to Word Processor

  8. Common Challenges in Compute This! Exams • Multiple Web Searches Required to Find Quantitative Data • Quantitative Data Buried Deep in a Large Data Table • Reading Required to Locate Quantitative Data or Short Answers • Mathematical Calculation or a Conversion of Units Required • Use of Calendars/Dates to Determine Age of People or Events • Mature, Unflappable Test-Takers are the Medalists in Compute This! • Student Constructed Web Sites Can Greatly Assist in Preparation

  9. Coaching Hints – Strategies for Success • Conduct Tryouts Across a Broad Range of Students • Don’t Prejudge Success or Failure • This is as Much of a Quantitative Data (Math) Event as a Computing Event • In Division B, Student Maturity is a Key Factor (i.e. 8th and 9th Graders) • Note: Mastery of NOAA Subject Matter is Not a Pre-Requisite… the Ability Search & Graph WWW Data Is. Topical Familiarity Can Help, However. • Hold Structured Practice Sessions • Develop Practice Problems in a Format Similar to Today’s Examples • Conduct Practices in a Computing Lab, if Possible (Simulate Competition) • Expect 2-3 Hours of Coaching Prep for Each Hour of Team Practice • Idea: Spreadsheet-competent Parent or Math/Tech Instructor as Coach • Emphasize Neatness and Attention to Detail on Spreadsheet Graphics (i.e. Label Axes and Data Points, Use Correct Units of Measure, etc.) • Develop a Time Budget and Role Sharing Strategy for the Team – The Objective is to Maximize Points Earned During a 50 Minute Competition • Practice and Disciplined Time Management are Keys to Success!

  10. Day of the Event • When you are actually in the room taking the exam there are some very important things to consider as you work through the task: • Read the Directions including the rubric (once, twice, its worth the time) Your proctor may even give a reading period and you need to use it. • Identify the problems that may take longer and also the problems that you can solve quickly. You do not have to create your graph and data table before the questions. These questions are generally half your score and may be much easier to find and possibly even lead you to find the major data for your graph. This is why you should read the rubric if its provided and know the point scale...sometimes you can even get points for a blank graph that has an appropriate title. • Don't Panic and get as many points as you can in the time allotted. If you have practiced searching for data and know excel you will do fine. • if a search isn't working change the terms...a good rule of thumb was that if there was nothing in the first three results, move on with new search terms. • Use your partner, because the person sitting next to you can think of new search terms, write down data to be transferred, etc. Your partner can also be especially useful in reading directions and making sure you didn't miss anything (this is key for graphs--as the proctor may want data in alphabetical order or something that is not always typical) • Know your partner and work well with them having an enemy as a partner is not going to be helpful • Read everything on the exam sheet make sure you do not forget to put on data labels or put it in alphabetical order or specific font types and formatting your answer sheet. This especially applies to the graph portion of the test. You do not want to lose points for stuff that if you read the exam could have been done quickly and easily.

  11. Helpful Links • Study Sites: • Excel 2007 • Excel tutorial • Google Guide • Microsoft Excel tutorials • Practice Questions • 2003 Nationals Test • Compute This 2006 -1 • Compute This 2006 -2 • Compute This 2006 -3 • New England Landing • Pinot Noir Grape Harvest • Tree Rings

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