Physics@Mac Online Physics Competition

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McMaster’s Department of Physics & Astronomy’s second annual Physics@Mac Online Physics Competition for High School students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 will take place on Thursday, April 29, 2010. Designed to be inclusive, fun and fundamentally different from typical physics contests, this competition can be used as a classroom activity for students who have completed or are taking Grade 10 Science, Grade 11 Physics or Grade 12 Physics. The inherent flexibility of a web-based contest means that it can be written at any time of the day or as an after-school activity. Register as many teams of one or two students as you like. The average time to complete the test is under one hour. Cash prizes will be awarded to the three teams in grade 10, three teams in grade 11 and three teams in grade 12 which correctly answer the most questions in the shortest time.

The competition consists of twelve multiple choice questions. The questions stress conceptual understanding with less emphasis on quantitative calculation and mimic the approach taken in our first-year physics courses where “concept-quizzes” are used to promote a deeper understanding of central ideas presented in lectures. Please refer to the link above for a clear demonstration of how our competition questions will differ from typical physics contest questions. We are encouraging students to work in teams of two to emphasize the importance of cooperative learning and “peer instruction”. Scientific calculators (non-programmable and non-graphing) will be allowed.
Teachers who register teams (students may not register themselves) will receive a confirmation email with login numbers and passwords for each team. Teams can consist of one or two students. Teachers are asked to indicate whether the team is in grade 10, grade 11 or grade 12. For the purposes of this competition, grade 10 means that the students are taking or have completed Grade 10 Science but not Grade 11 Physics. Teams registered as grade 11 are taking or have completed Grade 11 Physics but not Grade 12 Physics. Students in grade 12 have completed or are taking Grade 12 Physics.
On the day of the competition, teams may go to this website and, using the link above, login and download the contest questions at any time after 7:30 a.m. Teams may submit their answers online at this website anytime before 4:30 p.m. Teams may only submit their answers once. The difference between the initial login time and the time at which answers are submitted will be calculated as the team’s elapsed time. Teachers will act as local event coordinators and provide appropriate supervision for the event. Teams will be judged on the basis of the number of questions answered correctly. In the event of a tie, the team with the shortest elapsed time will be declared the winner.  
Teams whose elapsed time exceeds 1 hour and 30 minutes will not be considered for a prize.

The top three teams in grade 10, the top three teams in grade 11 and the top three teams in grade 12 will be awarded $100 per team and their names, along with the names of their schools, will be posted on this website in early May.