Thursday, December 07, 2006

What the Judges Look For in Science Fair Projects

Author: Jeremy Roehrich

Science fair judges have specific things in mind when they review projects. Sure, they like interesting pictures, colorful displays and seeing clever ideas, but they also look for other, more specific, technical features.

Let's take a peak at some grading sheets from a few science fairs.

One school used a point system to rate the most important elements of the project.

The ratings are below. What can we learn from this example judging sheet?

1) Know the Scientific Method well.

2) Know how to explain your project using the scientific method WITHOUT reading off your display.

3) Be enthusiastic and enjoy your information. Smile.

4) Create a detailed report fleshing out all the information included on your display.

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Sample 1:

1. Shows knowledge of the Scientific Method:

4 pt. Explains all 6 topics easily, shows understanding of conclusion. 3 pt. Explains at least 5 topics easily, shows understanding. 2 pt. Explains most topics with help from the board. 1 pt. Tries to answer questions asked by the judge.

2. Shows use of the Scientific Method through the board:

4 pt. Presents steps of method clearly and completely with headings 3 pt. Presents each step of method clearly 2 pt. Has each step on the board. 1 pt. Has some steps on the board.

3. Shows enthusiasm and interest in the project:

4 pt. Student is excited about the project and eagerly tells about it. 3 pt. Student is pleasant and shares information. 2 pt. Student tells about the project, when asked. 1 pt. Student answers some questions about the project.

4. Speaks knowledgeably about the project:

4 pt. Student eagerly talks with many details of the experimentation. 3 pt. Student shows understanding of the project. 2 pt. Student knows what the project is, giving minimal explanation. 1 pt. Student can answer questions when prompted.

5. Presents scientific data in a well-organized, visually appealing display:

4 pt. Board shows data in clear tables, charts, or pictures with headings. 3 pt. Board is neat and attractive, limited table, chart or pictures. 2 pt. Board has headings, using information stated. 1 pt. Board has headings and limited information.

6. Shows written evidence of research, experimentation and analysis :

4 pt. Booklet has Cover, Table of Contents, Research/Interviews. Thank you page and/or bibliography and experimentation included. 3 pt. Booklet has Cover, Table of Contents and Research/Interviews. 2 pt. Booklet has Cover and Some Research/Interview Data. 1 pt. Booklet is minimal or nonexistent.

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Sample 2:

I. Scientific Thought A. Does project follow the scientific method? B. Is the problem clearly stated? C. Are the procedures appropriate and organized? D. Is the information collected accurate and complete?

II. Creative Ability A. How unique or original is the project idea? B. Is it significant or unusual for a child this age?

III. Understanding A. Does it explain what the student learned about the topic? B. Does the project represent real study and effort? C. Does the project show the child is familiar with the topic?

IV. Clarity A. Does the student clearly communicate the nature of the problem, how the problem was solved, and the conclusion? B. Are the problems, procedures, data, and conclusions presented clearly and in a logical order? C. Does the student clearly and accurately articulate in writing what was accomplished? D. Is the objective of the project likely to be understood by one not trained in the subject area?

V. Dramatic Value A. Is the display visually appealing? B. Is the proper emphasis given to important ideas? C. Are all the components of the project done well?

VI. Technical Skill A. Was the majority of the work done by the student? B Has the student acknowledged help received from others? C. Does the written material show attention to grammar and spelling? D. Is the project physically sound and durably constructed?

For more information go to Science-Ideas.com .

About the author: Jeremy Roehrich holds a B.S. in Computer Security and is currently pursuing research in securing mobile devices.

Science Fair Project Idea articles like this one are available at Science-Ideas.com .

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