Friday, February 18, 2011

Question Paper Time!!!

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The first course and the first exam I took in US – all are so fresh in mind! It was such a different experience that I was totally out of place in the first class I attended and the first exam I took in US. The questions the professor asked was so practical that I had never seen anything like that in my life. It took me more than half of the exam time to understand the question and scored very low marks. I had another 15 odd courses in US and I never had to write the traditional way of “mug up everything and vomit” kind of questions. 
So now I am on the other side of the fence – setting question papers for my student. Now I realize how demanding it is to set a good paper. I have made it a point that I will set a question paper such that the student will learn something new even while writing the exam by testing his practical knowledge of the subject. 
I taught this paper “Physicochemical and Biological Process” for Masters Students where I taught the fundamentals of Water Chemistry, Chemical Reaction kinetics and microbial principles. On the day of their final exam in November, India was playing against New Zealand in a one day series. I related the entire question paper of 100 marks to that cricket match. It took me 4 days to make this question paper. There was a French girl in my class who didn’t know anything about cricket and to make her understand I had to do some “extra explanation” about cricket! Here is the question paper. 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has awarded the 1st One Day International (ODI) between India and New Zealand at VIT Cricket Ground (VITCG) in VIT University and will be held on 28th of November. VIT ground will become the 46th venue of India to host an international ODI.  The various events that happen from the day BCCI announced the venue of the cricket match to the day match is played form part of this question paper.
1.      The condition of VITCG is in a very bad shape owing to the lack of proper maintenance. It is necessary that work should be in done in war-footing to raise this stadium to international level. The International Cricket Council (ICC), governing body of cricket in the world has recommended that various physical, chemical and biological properties of water that is being used to grow and maintain the grass be noted on a daily basis. The curator of the pitch is coming to you to identify the physical, chemical and biological properties of water he has to measure every day. Can you help him identify the various physical, chemical and biological properties of water? [6 marks]
2.      Curator of the ground aims to add water that is within the desirable limits set by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for drinking water. Please identify the desirable limits of physical, chemical and biological properties of drinking water as set by BIS for the various properties you mentioned in Question No 1? [5 marks]
3.      Curator of the ground soon finds out that he do not have the luxury of using drinking water to water the grass in the ground. He has to mix the clean water with the recycled water generated inside VIT and use it. ICC has set a limit for the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) of the water that is added to the cricket field should not exceed 10 mg/L. The curator needs 2.0 million liters (ML) of water per day to irrigate the grass of which 1.5 ML comes from recycle water from VIT. The remaining water is the drinking water with no BOD. What should be the maximum BOD in the recycle water so that ICC guidelines are met? [6 marks]
4.      Assume that the curator needs to add a weak acid to the soil to make the good batting pitch. He has four acids to select from – nitric acid (KHNO3 = 100), phosphoric acid (KH3PO4 = 10-2.1), boric acid (Kboric acid = 10-9.3), hydrogen sulfide (KH2S = 10-7.1). Which will you suggest and why? [4 marks]
5.      The curator of the ground got only acetic acid that is a weak acid. So to understand the effect of acetic acid on addition of water he took 0.05 ml of 1.6 M acetic acid and mixed with 1 kg of water. Can you calculate and tell him how much will be the resultant pH? Assume the following - density of water as 1000 kg/m3; [H+] >> [OH-] [10 marks]
6.      Accidently the curator added 10-2 M HCl to water instead of acetic acid. What is the resultant pH of water? [5 marks]
7.      The water analysis of water sprinkled on the grass showed that copper content is above the maximum limit set by ICC. Being an environmental engineer you know a smart way of removing copper from the water supplied to the VITCG. The central feature of this process is addition of scrap aluminum metal to an acid solution containing dissolved copper ions. If the solution contains enough fluoride or chloride ions, a reaction progress in which aluminum dissolves and the copper precipitates as metallic Cuo(s) which can be removed from suspension by settling and/or filtration. The relevant reaction can be written as follows
3Cu2+         +      2 Al0(s)                <-->         Cu0(s)           +         2 Al3+
Standard Gibbs energy of formation of the ionic species in the above reaction are     G0Cu2+ = 65.5 KJ/mol and G0Al3+ = -489.4 KJ/mol. So if a sprinkled in the stadium contains 300 mg/L of Cu2+and Al is dosed with 100 mg/L of Al scraps (solid Al) and the above reaction proceeds until equilibrium is reached, what will be the final concentration of Cu2+, Al0, Cu0 and Al3+ be? Given molecular weight of Cu = 63.55 and Al = 26.98. [15 Marks]
8.      The pump station that was used to pump the recycle water to the stadium was forced to be shut down for a week due to maintenance. As an alternative arrangement, the water from the lake in VIT will be pumped to the cricket ground. Studies have shown that it contains a compound called Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) which is carcinogenic but not regulated by ICC. You as an Environmental Engineer is sure that MTBE can be easily biodegraded as the contaminated water percolates through the soil while the curator still has doubts of using that water. Can you explain to him the advantages and disadvantages of treating water contaminated with MTBE this way? [8 Marks]
9.      India players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman [Group A] has played over 15 years of International cricket. There are players like Hrishikesh Kanitkar, L R Shukla and Sriram [Group B] who played very few matches for India before fading away from international scene. Then India has players like Kanwaljit Singh (highest wicket taker in Ranji Trophy) and Amol Muzumdar (maximum number of runs in Ranji Trophy) [Group C] who could never play any match for India. Draw a survivorship curve for the survival of these cricketers in international scene and mark clearly Group A, Group B and Group C in those curves. [6 Marks]
10.  Given below is a plan view of the cricket stadium in VIT where the match between India and New Zealand is being held. Assume that if this cricket field was a “cell” what could be the equivalent term in a cell for the following: Periphery of the cricket stadium, Boundary line inside cricket stadium, pitch, wicket and grass?  [6 Marks] 
11.  India has won the toss and decided to bat. Thirty three overs have been bowled and Indian score is 185/2. Tendulkar is batting at 83 and batting for the last 2 hours in the humid conditions of Vellore has made him tired and started developing cramps. The team physio comes out and gives him a drink after which he seems to have regained energy. Can you guess what could be the probable energy drink the physio may have given to Tendulkar based on what you have learned in physicochemical and biological principles and process class? Can you throw some light into the characteristics of that drink and under what category that drink comes? [5 Marks]
12.  A sightscreen is used in cricket so that when the bowler delivers the ball, the batsman can see it clearly against the background. It also prevents any major distractions from occurring in that direction as the batsman is focusing on the ball. In VIT stadium, a white sightscreen is used since the ball used is red. Can you explain a similar technique used in microbiology and its various types? [5 Marks]
13.  VIT Chancellor is keen on using alternate fuels inside VIT and hence the drinks trolley used to carry the drinks to the cricket field was designed inside VIT to use alternate fuel. Can you name a possible bio-fuel that could be used in the drinks trolley? How do we make those bio-fuels? [5 Marks]
14.  Define and explain the meaning of habitat and ecological niche taking Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Indian cricket team captain as an example. [4 Marks]
15.  A hypothetical performance/criticism curve for the Indian cricket team is given below. In the early 1990’s team was not doing well and losing a lot and the amount of criticism the team faced was high. Slowly the team started winning and the intensity and amount of criticism decreased a lot. Now India is the No.1 Test cricket playing nation in the world and criticism has considerably reduced. This has resulted in complacency in the part of the players and India started losing again as shown below. The microbial kinetics also exhibits some relation very similar to that explained below. Explain that relation with a graph similar to that given below [10 Marks] 
Students did really well and feedback from students was amazing. Hopefully they learned something new after taking this test!
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Blogger Nimmi said...

I love your creativity.Do you think boys (who play cricket) have comparative advantage over girls to answer these questions?

February 19, 2011 1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Innovate Q Paper.May Your efforts pay off in moulding a new generation.

An old friend from PHX.

February 20, 2011 4:31 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Infact girls got higher marks than boys for this exam

February 02, 2012 9:02 PM  

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