SARSEF

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Communicate your findings

A student’s ability to clearly communicate and present their findings in a persuasive manner is a key science & engineering practice.

Preparing a science or engineering project presentation will entail reviewing the information they’ve documented in their lab notebook and preparing to summarize and communicate that information in a clear manner. This involves being intentional about what to extract from the lab notebook with an understanding that not everything will be included in the presentation.

Create a project presentation

Depending on the requirements of the specific science fair, project presentation submissions may be physical (on a project board) or digital (as a slide deck).

Some school fairs may require a physical submission. Generally, these are presented on a standard, three-panel display board, measuring 48″ wide and 36″ tall, and high school projects go as tall as 108″ and no wider than 48″.

Submissions for the SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be digital only. Slide decks should be formatted as a multi-page pdf, consisting of a maximum of 15 slides with 14 pt font.

Project presentation sections

On the project presentation, the title slide can be fun and show the students’ personalities. Grades PreK-8 should create a Title Card, while High School students should create a Quad Chart. The first slide in your deck will become the thumbnail representing your project in the virtual exhibit hall. Students should not put their name or other identifying information on any of the slides, including the title slide.

Important and relevant information regarding the research question and background research, such as what work scientists and engineers have already completed on the topic, should be discussed here.

Students should state the primary research question and make predictions about the outcome of their investigations.

The step-by-step procedure and materials for the student’s investigation will be presented here. Students should mention the variables they measured and list which are dependent and independent. They should also mention what acted as their control.

This is a presentation of data tables and/or graphs showing relevant trends or patterns (or lack thereof) that students discovered in their investigations. Bulleted summarized statements clarifying trends or observations are encouraged.

This is an explanation of results in more detail, presenting data as evidence for their conclusion, including an acknowledgment of limitations or uncontrolled variables that may have affected their results. Here, students should summarize and evaluate their experimental procedure, making comments about its success and effectiveness, and argue the validity of their claims. It is also an opportunity to connect back to their background research or explain anything else they learned along the way. Here students engage in scientific argumentation.

In this section, the student can explore why their project is important to the real world. They can tell the judges and readers why this issue is interesting or critical to them and their community.

Students should also discuss ideas for future research that would build on their current project. The student could suggest changes in the experimental procedure or design and possibilities for further study. This section is the student’s final message to readers and judges.

All resources and publications should be cited here.

If presenting a physical project, lab notebooks can accompany the project board. If submitting a digital project presentation, scan some key pages of the notebook to upload.

Important notes for digital submissions

  • The student’s name should not appear on the project presentation. If a physical board, the name can be on the back. If a digital submission, the name can be in the file name.
  • Use a font size of at least 14pt for the text on the slides. It’s acceptable to use 10pt fonts for captions on pictures and tables.
  • The first slide must be a Title slide or Quad chart.
  • Slide decks should be in landscape orientation with a page size of 8.5″x11″
  • No links or hyperlinks are permitted (except as a source for an image or on the references page)
  • Photos or drawn diagrams are encouraged to present non-numerical data, to propose models that explain the results, or just to show the experimental setup.
  • Do not include photos of faces. Even photos of the student should be from the back or side and then only if it shows them engaged in their project.
  • Every picture and image should have captions that include the source of the image.

Resources