Impressing judges is done with your science and, to a much lesser extent, with your project board. Yes, a colorful project board neatly laid out with beautiful photos will draw attention to it, so working towards that goal is good. However, once a judge starts reviewing your work he/she usually starts by looking at your problem statement/hypothesis, then at your conclusion, and after reviewing those two they review your abstract, presentation, data analysis, and try to determine how creative and curious you really were. Judges generally follow the point system laid out in the criteria listed on the web site and here:
NEW 2013 Judging Criteria!
Elementary Gr. K-5 - All Categories
following evaluation criteria will be used for judging at SARSEF 2013.
It has been updated to reflect the latest scientific thinking and
parallels the criteria used to judge Middle and High School projects. Awards’ judging is
conducted using a 100-point scale with points assigned to the research
question, design and methodology, execution, creativity, and presentation.
section includes key items to consider for evaluation. Students are encouraged
to design their posters in a clear and informative manner to allow thorough
evaluation. Judges should take
into consideration the grade level when scoring. Examine the student notebook
and, if present, any special forms if SRC permission is required.
Elementary Class Projects, Judges look for evidence that every child in the class had
some responsibility or part of the project.
I. Research Question (15 pts.)
___ clear and focused
contribution to field of study
___ testable using
scientific methods (follows rules and SRC)
II. Design and Methodology
___ well-designed plan and
data collection methods
___ variables and controls
defined, appropriate and complete
III. Execution: Data
Collection, Analysis and Interpretation (25 pts.)
___ systematic data
collection and analysis
___ reproducibility of
___ sufficient data
collected to support interpretation and conclusions
application of mathematical methods for comparison
IV. Creativity (20 pts.)
(A creative project demonstrates imagination and inventiveness. Such
projects often are ones that are about something that the student personally
cares about, have not been done hundreds of times before or frequently listed
in Science Fair idea books or web. Creative projects offer different perspectives
that open up new possibilities or new alternatives.
___ project demonstrates significant
creativity in one or more Criteria I -III or V
____ idea appears novel – at least to the student (not copied or seen
____ idea appears to be something that student cares about
V. Board/Poster Presentation (15 pts.)
___ evidence of scientific
process, understanding of basic science relevant to project
___ colorful, creative and
logical organization of display
___ clarity of graphs,
legends & graphics
limitations of results and conclusions
___ recognition of
potential impact in science, society and planet/ world
___ thought through
implications, ideas for further research
Data is important in research. The more data you have, and the more sophisticated the analysis, the more accurate in your science. This will impress the judges. If your data shows trends, use good analysis and graphically represent those trends. Be careful about making predictions out of the scope of your project. That is, interpreting a cause and effect that you cannot statistically support with your data. And although statistics are a bit beyond most elementary students, whenever possible report your conclusions using your math skills. Consult your science and math teachers for assistance.
Your abstract, even in kindergarten, can do a lot to influence a judge. Good use of the written language is a key part of a scientist or engineer’s profession.Writing a good abstract will impress, especially if backed up by good data collection and analysis. Check the link regarding Advice on Abstracts.