Judging Criteria

Kindergarten – Grade 3
Both groups (Kindergarten-1 and 2-3) will have the following judging criteria, but will be judged according to their appropriate level and within their own division.  Kindergarten and grade 1 will be allowed to create a scientific display or demonstration instead of the same criteria as grades 2 and 3 if they wish.

The intent of grades 2 and 3 is to get the student to ask and answer a question about some facet of science. They do not have to do a research project. They should, however, have a specific question and answer that question.  They will be judged on:

  • appropriateness of topic
  • data collection and interpretation
  • clarity of presentation

Grade 4 – Grade 5
This age group should be establishing an understanding of the scientific method. The student should show both experimentation and book research in his/her project. A log book (containing dates, times, places of experimentation, lists of materials, procedures, thoughts, etc.) will be required. A formal report is not necessary, though the following information should appear somewhere in the project: a clear statement of the problem, experimental methods, presentation of data (graphs, pictures, etc.), results, summary, acknowledgments (including any parental help), and bibliography. They will be judged on:

  • appropriateness of topic and question
  • appropriate use of log book
  • overall thoroughness of data collection and interpretation
  • clarity and organization of presentation

Grade 6 – Grade 12
Both groups (6-8 and 9-12) will have the following judging criteria, but will be judged according to their appropriate level and within their own division.

At this level of age and experience, students should be exploring more creative attempts at problem solving that utilize the scientific method. The project should show evidence of laboratory and analysis skills, be supported by a well documented log book (required) as well as a review of scientific literature that relates to the question asked. Note: an adequate review will include information from journals and/or reference texts. This information can be obtained online or in print.

A typed formal report is required for grades 9-12, which should include the following: A clear statement of the question / problem, experimental design and methods, presentation and analysis of data, statement of results and conclusion, acknowledgements (including all help received) and a bibliography. See high school entrant information for more details. While the 6-8 division is not required to have a formal report, it is encouraged, and the expectation is that this information will be presented somewhere within the project display.

Judging criteria for both groups will be as follows:
Research topic / question
The project will be judged on the originality and depth of the question asked, as well as the suitability of the question to controlled, scientific experimentation.
Experimental design
The basic science relating to the experiment should be well understood and explained, and used to design an experiment hat can be expected to produce relevant results. The potential variables should be identified and controlled in order to limit the variations of the results obtained, and a hypothesis shall be created based upon this understanding.
Data collection and interpretation
Good laboratory practices should be followed in collecting data, including evidence of accuracy and thoroughness. The data should be analyzed properly, utilizing appropriate tools and methods, and the analysis shall include the recognition of unexpected results. Do the conclusions derived reflect this analysis as well as an understanding of the underlying scientific principles?
Clarity, organization and presentation
The display and report (if relevant) shall clearly and accurately present the questions and underlying scientific principles involved, as well as the experimental procedures. Are the analysis and the resulting conclusions clearly presented, and do they flow logically from the question and experiment? References, sources of ideas and other assistance shall be adequately identified.

Special Education Science: Kindergarten – Grade 5
This division is designed for Special Education students. Participants allowed in this category shall be either cognitively delayed or are learning disabled students receiving science instruction in special education. All entry forms submitted in this category must be signed by a special education instructor. The form may be signed next to or below the the parent or guardian’s signature. This additional signature is necessary to ensure only those students who are eligible for this division are entered in it.

Students will ask and answer a specific question relating to science. Their project should reflect research and experimentation. Use of a log book is encouraged, but not required. These entries will be judged on:

  • appropriateness of topic
  • data collection and interpretation
  • clarity and organization

Special Education Science: Grade 6 – Grade 12
This division is designed for Special Education students. Participants allowed in this category shall be either cognitively delayed or are learning disabled students receiving science instruction in special education. All entry forms submitted in this category must be signed by a special education instructor. The form may be signed next to or below the the parent or guardian’s signature. This additional signature is necessary to ensure only those students who are eligible for this division are entered in it.

Students will ask and answer a specific question relating to science. Their project should reflect research and experimentation. They should keep a log book. They will be judged on:

  • appropriateness of topic and question
  • thoroughness of data collection and interpretation
  • clarity and organization of presentation
  • appropriate use of log book

THE LOG BOOK
The log book should be an informal recording made each day. It should show the scientist’s work. The log book should start with the observations and questions that are the beginning of planning the experiment. It should also include any reference material you use to help you, the materials and methods you are using to answer the question, and measurements and other data as they are collected.

Since the log book is a daily diary of the project, it is not expected to be neat (but it should be legible), and it should not be recopied. As when entering anything in a diary, a date and time should be entered each time you write in your log book. Every time you work on your project, it should be recorded in the log book.

At the end of the project, the log book should contain all the information you used to prepare the display and write the formal report (if one is required).

THE PRESENTATION
The poster presentation should include the research question, an explanation of the experiment, and the results. Data are best displayed in a visual way using charts, graphs, or diagrams. The presentation should be brief and clear enough for viewers and judges to understand the project.

SAFETY IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY!