Mind A-Mazes 2019

Author Archive

Energy Transfer Steps – index card list (optional)

by on Oct.09, 2019, under Uncategorized

This is by no means required for teams, but it would help judges (and teams) if they were to bring an index card to the meet Saturday with the energy transfer steps listed in the order they hope will happen.  For example,

  1. Marble to lever
  2. Lever to dominoes

And so forth…

Again, this is NOT required and it’s fine if teams don’t have it.  Just in terms of judges listening to teams descriptions of what they hope will happen with their devices, a little visual card may be helpful.

Leave a Comment more...

Device Triggers!

by on Oct.08, 2019, under Uncategorized

I want to remind teams that judges will be looking to have Mind A-Mazes devices ‘triggered’ by one person on the team (see B7 rule).  Teams should use a simple trigger system to start their device (such as cutting an object, removing an object, holding back a marble with a popsicle stick, releasing a clamp, etc. – there are many options).  The point of the trigger is to demonstrate that no additional energy ‘boost’ is being provided by team members – for example, a marble could be released by a trigger that’s simply removed and lets the marble roll, but a team member should NOT be releasing the marble or other trigger object with their hand, since it’d be difficult for judges to determine if or how much energy was provided by human energy.

Coaches, to reduce any anxiety with your team, make sure they have a ‘trigger’ idea to start their device that doesn’t include a team member pushing or energy-assisting with the start of the device.

  1. The device must be triggered by one team member.  After initial triggering, no team member may touch the device until the device has run its course.
Leave a Comment more...

With regard to Rule B11, does “mostly” mean most of the time or most of the steps or…”

by on Oct.08, 2019, under Uncategorized

‘Mostly’ would refer to most of the steps, not most of the time.  For example, a device which has ‘most’ (50%+) of their completed steps performed by manufactured objects like LEGOS, dominoes, marble roll pieces, etc. will not receive scoring points from judges.

Leave a Comment more...

Is a bouncy ball counted as the same energy transfer as a marble?

by on Oct.08, 2019, under Uncategorized

Not sure exactly what’s being asked here – since what the bouncy ball is transferring the energy TO is important for judge scoring:

If the bouncy ball is being used to transfer energy to a different object (not another ball), then it’s allowed once (not repeatedly)

The ball can’t transfer energy to another ball (since that wouldn’t count as a different action).

So a ball and marble could be used in a device and count as different steps if they aren’t triggering a similar object or action (ball to ball, marble to marble) and with the understanding that any actions completed by the marble or ball can’t be repeated by a similar process in other parts of the device.

Leave a Comment more...

To clarify, There needs to be a transfer of energy between kinetic energy, potential energy, sound, light, electrical or heat energy? So two transfers of kinetic energy only count as one point? Does kinetic to potential and back to kinetic (or vis versa) count as 1 or 2 points?

by on Oct.04, 2019, under Uncategorized

A transfer of energy between 2 different actions, not 2 different energy types.  You may use kinetic or potential energy repeatedly in a device (be sure to follow other rules in packet though), but the actions can’t be repeated (particularly with similar objects) to be counted as a step.  So think about it more in terms of each specific action in the device – not whether it’s kinetic or potential.

*Is the energy really being transferred (a marble rolling down a ramp is not considered energy transfer for example)? (if not, no point)

*Is the energy transfer a different action (not simply one action causing another similar action to occur – like a marble directly hitting another marble)?  (if not, no point)

*Is the energy transfer action not a repeated action (in sequence, or used earlier in the device)?  If it is, judges are not likely to give a point step for that transfer action.  See clarification below.  If the energy transfer action is used in a different way or with different materials, then judges would be more likely to not consider it a repeat action and give it a step point (once).   For example, a pulley can be used more than once for points if judges determine they’re being used in different ways or with different objects.

*These are 3 key questions judges will be looking for on each device and in teams’ explanation of their devices.

Leave a Comment more...

by on Oct.02, 2019, under Uncategorized

*Since we want to reward teams who put creative thinking and design into their long-term challenge (as opposed to finding loopholes and not following the true theme of the challenge), it’s important to clarify what judges will and will not count as steps in the chain reaction (regarding Rule 10 below):

**Judges will only count a REPEATED transfer of energy between 2 different actions ONE TIME. All other transfers of energy which judges consider similar to an energy transfer step already used in the device will NOT be counted as a different energy transfer step. Energy transfer steps which have already been used in the device MAY be used again (repeatedly) in the device, but they won’t be counted as a scored energy transfer ‘step’ for the device after the first time they’re utilized. This will reward teams who put a variety of energy transfers in their device, as opposed to those teams who just use similar energy transfer steps over and over again in order to gain points.

Here are some examples to consider which should help… *Team A uses a repeating series of energy transfer steps where a marble or ball hits an object, which then falls or hits another marble or ball, and repeats this same process many times. Team A would get 2 energy transfer ‘steps’ for the initial marble or ball hitting an object (energy transfer) and the object falling and hitting another marble or ball (energy transfer). So 2 steps total (if this was all they included). All other steps which judges felt were repeating this same process would not be counted as ‘different’ actions, but repeat actions, so no additional points. *Team B uses 5 different energy transfer steps which all include different actions, objects, materials, or energy sources which the judges understood to be different and not repeated energy transfer steps. This team would have 5 steps total scored by judges (if their musical instrument played).

Leave a Comment more...

Can a team use repeated sequences of dominoes in their device?

by on Sep.12, 2019, under Uncategorized

*This is an important question!  Look at rule B11.  Teams CAN use dominoes in their devices, but not have a device ‘based largely on dominoes’, or ‘have most of their device relying on dominoes’.  What does ‘most’ mean?  ‘Most’ of a device would mean 1/2 (50%) or more of the steps in a device relying on dominoes.  If a team had most of their device relying on dominoes and didn’t follow this rule, judges would likely not give that team a qualifying score for the challenge.  So a team MAY use dominoes, but make sure you don’t use them too much!  This isn’t meant to be a dominoes challenge!  🙂

Leave a Comment more...

What will count as a ‘musical instrument’?

by on Sep.12, 2019, under Uncategorized

A ‘musical instrument’ that can be used in this challenge should be one used in a typical elementary or middle school music or band class.  For example, music instruments such as kazoos or slide whistles are allowed.  A stick hitting a paper or folder, or a nail hitting a can however would not.  The safest thing to do if you have ANY doubt about whether a musical instrument would be permitted would be to check with your coach and have your coach submit a question on the blog just to be sure!

Leave a Comment more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...


    All entries, chronologically...