I just got back from judging elementary level science fair (this is like kids in 6th grade or something). Here are some quick notes in no particular order.
- Please, please do not have a 20 item list of supplies that you used on your board including things like thumb tacks, tape, paper and poster board. And then please do not read this list aloud during your presentation. I know you are nervous, I feel for you. Maybe you are trying to fill up time – maybe you think a long presentation is a good one. However, don’t do it. Stick to the important stuff. If you need to fill up space on your board, I would much rather see a picture of your experiment.
- This is the same as above except for the procedure. The purpose of the procedure is so that someone could reproduce your experimental results. It is probably safe to assume that others can do this without instructions like: “open the bag. pour the bag of contents in the cup. Hold the cup with your left hand and shake it to mix the contents.” And then, again do not read all of these instructions. If there was some very important aspect like “you can’t use red plates because that attracts bees outside” or something like that, good. Actually, this reminds me of an awesome post someone sent me. This is a post from the Lansey Brother’s Blog about science presentations from 6th graders. In this, they show students’ science presentation as a list of silly procedures like “open the book and find where it talks about ozone.” Check it out, it was funny in a sad kind of way.
- I think the best advice I could give (assuming the project is already completed) for the presentation is to be simple. Try to give a very short overview of the project. Include as many details as you want in your notebook or on your poster, but just keep to the basics. This will leave plenty of time for discussion – the best part. If the judges want to know more detail about a certain aspect, they will ask.
Caution: All judges are not the same. Some do put more emphasis on how the board looks or quality of the presentation.