SARSEF 2021 Winners
2021 Virtual Fair is Now Open
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SARSEF Fair Menu
- How SARSEF Built and Ran a Virtual Science and Engineering Fair
- Meet the 2021 Winners of the Arizona Regional JSHS
- A Message from our Corporate and Community Engagement Manager, Gina Gillis
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Making a Project Presentation
Creating a Project Presentation
Your Project Presentation should include all steps of the Scientific Method or Engineering Design. You should have a page on: Introduction, Background Research, Question and/or Hypothesis, Method or Procedure, Materials, Data and Results (inclusive of some charts and graphs), Conclusion, Discussion — inclusive of Limitation (What would have made the project stronger?) and Implications (Why the project was important). Optional: Definitions
This year, the SARSEF Fair will only be accepting virtual Project Presentations.
Creating a Virtual Presentation
REQUIRED OF ALL PARTICIPANTS:
- SRC Forms
- Single slide deck, PDF document; maximum of 15 pages. (10MB Maximum)
- Create in Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote, or a word-processing application, then export as a PDF.
- Page size 8½”X11” and created in landscape orientation
- Minimum text font size:14 pt. Figure captions or photo credits may be smaller; no less than size 10 pt.
- No links or hyperlinks allowed
- The number of slides per section is up to the discretion of the student. The first slide must be a title slide.
- Order of slide deck:
- First slide: Title Slide
- Background information & rationale
- Research Question & Hypothesis/Prediction
- 10 pages of digital or scanned project journal/lab notebooks; added to the end of slide deck and saved as a PDF. If included, final PDF can be up to 25 pages.
- 2-minute YouTube video explaining the project. This will be accessible only public viewing day only (Friday March 5)
- Research paper (2MB Maximum)
Note: All Project Presentation elements must conform to D&S rules. Passing a Display & Safety inspection will be required to compete.
Creating a Display Board
While these cannot be submitted to the 2021 SARSEF Fair, if you are presenting at an in-person fair, students need to prepare a display board to communicate their work to others.
- In most cases, you will use a standard, three-panel display board that unfolds to be 36″ tall by 48″ wide. High school students may go as high as 108” but still must be no wider than 48” when unfolded.
- Display boards can be found at many office supply stores, craft stores or teacher supply stores.
- You may not use any other space (such as under the table.)
- Organize your information like a newspaper, so that your audience can quickly follow the thread of your experiment — by reading from top to bottom, then left to right. Include each step of your science fair project: abstract, question, variables, background research and so on.
Are You Looking for a Science Fair Project Board?
Many office supply stores carry them!
We particularly like Jonathan’s Educational Resources. They carry a variety of colors in the right sizes, as well as borders that can help jazz up a project board. They even carry lettering for titles, specially designed for science fair projects that follow the scientific method.
Go to the following for some great examples:
- Use a font size of at least 16 points for the text on your display board, so that it is easy to read from a few feet away. It’s OK to use slightly smaller fonts for captions on picture and tables.
- The title should be big and easily read from across the room. Choose one that accurately describes your work, but also grabs peoples’ attention.
- A picture speaks a thousand words! Use photos or draw diagrams to present non-numerical data, to propose models that explain your results, or just to show your experimental setup. But, don’t put text on top of photographs or images. It can be very difficult to read.
Some Notes of Caution:
- Do not put your name on the front of the display board. Instead, place your name and school on the back using a 3-by-5 card.
- Do not include photos of faces. Photos of even yourself should be from the back or side. You want the focus to be on the science, not you!
- Please include captions that include the source for every picture or image.
- Do NOT include acknowledgements of people who helped you on the board. (These should go in your lab book.)
- Please DO include your laboratory notebook.
- Please do not bring equipment such as your laboratory apparatus or your invention. It will not be allowed to stay. Do not bring plants, soil, Petri dishes growing anything, liquids of ANY kind, anything with moving parts, chemicals, or anything that can rot or decompose. They will be removed and possibly not returned.
- Make sure your display does not include anything edible.
Preparing for Judging Day
Judging is the fun part! Although you may think you will be nervous, you will soon learn that you do not have time to be.
Judging is where you get to finally get to show what you did and you may even get to talk about what you did as you are setting up or at your school fair. You are the expert!
It may help to write up a very short summary to give people when they stop by and say, “Tell me about your project.” Your answer should be brief (no longer than one minute) because the judges have already had a chance to tour the exhibition room and read about your project before you arrived. This summary is sometimes called an “elevator pitch,” because it should be brief enough to explain to someone else during a short elevator ride. You may only have a person’s undivided attention for 30 seconds — make the most of it!
Organize a list of questions you think the judges will ask you, and prepare/practice answers for them. Practice explaining your science fair project to others while pretending they are judges.
Practice explaining your science fair project in simple terms so anyone can understand it.
Presenting Yourself During the Science Fair Judging. Be Professional!
- Always dress nicely for the science fair judging period. Do not wear jeans or T-shirts with unprofessional images or words on them.
- Make good use of your display board. Point to diagrams and graphs when you are discussing them.
- Be positive and enthusiastic!
- Be confident with your answers. Do not mumble.
- If you do not understand what the judge is asking, or do not know the answer, it is OK to say “I do not know.” Don’t make stuff up.
- Treat each person who visits you like a judge (even non-scientists.)
- After the science fair, always ask for feedback from the judges to improve your project.
“Preparing for the Science Fair Judging – Practice Makes Perfect!”
By Amber Hess (Science Buddies)
If you can communicate your science fair project well, you maximize your chances of winning.
Write up a short “speech” summarizing your science fair project. Do not restate your abstract word by word. You will give this speech (from memory) when you first meet the judges. Include in the speech:
- How you got the idea.
- How you did the experiment (explain any relevant terms along the way).
- Your results and conclusions.
- Why your science fair project is important in today’s society. (How will it help people today?) You don’t have to cure cancer. Perhaps your work will only help a small group of people, but it’s still important.
- Demonstrate that you understand the theory behind why your project turned out the way it did.
- If you can’t fit all of this into your presentation, be prepared to discuss each of the above topics separately. Expect to be interrupted when you talk to the judges. You will rarely finish your speech.
- Organize a list of questions you think the judges will ask you and prepare/practice answers for them. A few common questions are listed below:
- How much help did you receive from others?
- What does your data tell you?
- Why is this research important? (Who cares if a rocket flies well?)
- What do your graphs represent?
- What problems did you run into while doing your experiment — and how did you fix them?
- What are the three most interesting things you learned when doing this science fair project?
- What further research do you plan on — or would like to do — for future study?
Study your background research as you would for a test. In some ways, presenting your science fair project is like taking an exam. The better you know your background research, the higher the chance you have of winning.
This is the part I usually had trouble with: I would do the research and understand everything, but then I needed to study it. I would eventually learn and remember all the facts I should know, but I had to sit myself down and study. Force yourself to pretend there is a test the next day on all of the information, and you will be prepared.
- Practice explaining your science fair project to others, and pretend they are judges.
- Practice explaining all graphs, tables, your short speech, answers to possible questions judges might ask, etc.
- Practice explaining the theory behind your science fair project. Theory includes everything discovered in your background research.
- Videotaping yourself during practice “interviews” can also be very helpful. Although it can be painful to watch the video, you will see the mistakes you made and be able to fix them the next time you speak.
- Practice explaining your science fair project in simple terms so anyone can understand it.
- Many students do not know how to explain their science fair project to the general public. If you can explain your project in laymen’s terms, you are one step ahead of everyone else!
- Presenting Yourself — Be professional!
- Always dress nicely for the science fair judging period. Do not wear jeans! Everyone will take you more seriously if you look professional.
- Make good use of your display board. Point to diagrams and graphs when you are discussing them.
- Always be positive and enthusiastic!
- Show the judges you are interested in your research, and they will be more likely to remember you.
- Do not be negative unless you are emphasizing a frustrating problem you ran into.
- Be confident with your answers. Do not mumble and say “Umm, I think maybe this is happening … ” Even if you answer a question incorrectly, at least they will not think you are a wimp!
- Emphasize how you were creative/unique/innovative with your science fair project. One of the major criteria on the judges’ list is creativity and originality.
- If you have no idea what the judge is asking, or do not know the answer to their question, it is OK to say “I do not know.” This is better than making something up that probably is not correct. It’s better to get on to the next question for which you probably do know the answer.
- Treat each person who visits you like a judge, even non-scientists. They may be a valuable contact who could give you an internship or assistance later on.
Always ask for feedback from the judges after the science fair. Gather your judges’ email addresses, and ask them how you can improve. (If you know their name and employer, often you can do an Internet search to obtain their email addresses.) In my experience, I hear back from about half of the science fair judges I email. If you move onto the next level, you should update your science fair project and/or display board after receiving feedback. The improvements you make could determine whether you place in the next science fair! If you don’t go on to the next level, their comments can help you on your next science fair project.