Scale - TestsScale - In BalanceOK, the “Compound Machines” event @ Science Olympiad is a closed event comprised of a written part and a more practical part, where the team needs to use a pre-built “scale” to determine an unknown mass with the help of a known mass. So I don’t have a real video or images of the event. All the pictures were done afterwards. The rules for the scale are in the official rulebook;-) I’ll just try to collect some “lessons learned” and some pictures for reference.

  • Use the longest levers which still fit into the rules. With longer levers, the significance of the limited accuracy of the length measurements decreases.
  • Find at least some parts with with “nice round” values. In our setup, the active length of the second class lever was 45 cm and the fixed side of the first class lever was 11.25 cm. That made the equation somewhat easier;-) Mu = 4 (a/d) Mk
  • Try to find good bearings;-) Brass bushings with brass washers on both sides worked kind of OK.
  • Make sure, you calibrate the apparatus with the hooks.
  • Include the masses of the attachment hooks where you hang the masses in your calculations!! We missed that part during the preparation and so the results were somewhat off during the competition:-(

Scale - DetailScale - Bushing So overall, the Millennium team was not very successful in this event. But there is always next year;-) I hope, the kids learned something regardless. Just to keep track of the spreadsheet: Scale – Spreadsheet

Have fun;-)