THE SCIENCE FAIR:

murmerlastUrban and Civil

Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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THE SCIENCE FAIR:


WHAT DO THE JUDGES THINK?

William
F. McComas, Ph.D
.

UA Parks Family Professor of Science Education




58 Judges were Asked the Following:




1) What sorts of things did you consider most when

you were looking at the

projects?




2) What comments did you find yourself making

frequently to the students when you were talking

with them?



3)

What specific things "cost" the students points? (In

other words, what were the common deficiencies

in the projects?)


4)

What could students do better as they describe

their projects?




5)

Other comments?



Hundreds of Individual Comments
Sorted into 3 Basic Categories




Comments about the . . .



A) Project itself


B) Face to face presentations


C) Written Elements of the Project




Comments about the Project Itself



Degree of Completeness


Is the Problem defined


Worthiness


Creative thinking, originality, novelty


Whose work is it?


*Multiple Trials (replication)


*Adequate Number of Subjects


*Statistical thinking where necessary


Organize using standard method


Title (interesting, illustrative, clear)




The Trouble with Titles



Many are trivial


They try to be too
clever


Lack an indication of
the variables


Lack an indication of
the treatment



The Data: Examples

Project Name

Score

Turkeys: Color vs. Consumption Phase V

Marginal

Does Age Affect the Ability for a Human to Pick Up High Frequency?

Marginal

All In The Family: Phase II

Bad

The Affects of Loud Music on Mice

Marginal

High Voltage? A Study of Induced Electromagnetic Fields: Effects on
Drosophila
melongaster
, Phase 2

Marginal

Eggs
-
actly

How Much CaCO
3
?

Marginal

Organic

and Non
-
organic foods which contain genetically modified organisms

Marginal

Big Cells: Little Cells

Bad

The

Effects of Air Pollution on Transpiration Rates in Flowering Plants

Good

Solar Radiation

Bad

How Shocking!

Really Bad

Acid Rocks!

Really

Bad

Weather Prediction Using Homemade Equipment

Marginal

Overall Results (N=242 Titles)

Good

6%

Marginal

48%

Bad 46
%


Comments about the Face to Face
Presentation



Can student explain what he/she
has done in two minutes?


Degree of motivation


Degree of enthusiasm, passion


First impressions (eye contact)


Does the student understand what
he/she has done?


Explain how the idea arose


Appropriate dress


Present the findings don’t read!





Comments about the Written
Elements Project & Notebook)



Include citations from the primary literature
(demonstrate knowledge of the background)


First impressions matter


Drop extraneous materials (simplify)


Organize around Problem > Hypothesis >
Method > Data > Conclusions


Reveal knowledge of the background of the
problem (show the scientific purpose for the
study)


Demonstrate knowledge of how science works
(we don’t prove hypotheses for instance)


THE SCIENCE FAIR:


WHAT DO THE JUDGES THINK?

William
F. McComas, Ph.D
.

UA Parks Family Professor of Science Education