Elements of a Complete Project
Judging a project requires that a Judge carefully examine all components of the project. Each component is vital to a complete understanding of the work that the student is presenting.
- The logbook serves as a "diary" of the project.
- It does not have to be neat or perfect. (In fact, neat or perfect may indicate it is not a "real time" document.)
- Each day should start with basic information:
- Adult supervision present
- Other information pertenant to the project, such as Room Temperature, Barometric Pressure, Etc.
- The book should contain:
- all notes and information petaining to background research.
- all notes and information petaining to the project preparation.
- perfomance of the experiment
- all raw data, uncorrected and unedited
- thoughts, ideas and interpretations of the data, including sketches of graphs to be used
- Hypothesis (or, in the case of engineering and computer projects, Statement of Goals)
- Procedures (showing sufficient repetition of tests/experiments)
- Appendix (tables, figures,raw data)
- An Introduction
- Background Information
- Statement of Theory
- Statistical Analysis
- Other topics specific to the individual project
- The display is essentially a compromise of content versus time.
- Ideally, it should stand on its own, describing the major elements of the project and should be easily read from 3 feet away.
- If logically and neatly organized, it should require no more than 1-2 minutes reading time.
- While appropriate graphs, photographs, illustrations and equipment displays are encouraged, gimmicks (e.g., flashing lights) are not.
- If, after reviewing the display, you feel confused rather than hungry for more, it has not served its primary purpose.
- allows students to present their work in their own way
- permits the judges to ask specific questions, review the work done and estimate student's understanding of the field
- encourages verbal communication between exhibitors and judges
- Ideally, exhibitors will be well organized, familiar with their field of study, relatively composed, courteous and eager to learn.
- Please remember, however, that for many young exhibitors this is their first experience in a pressure situation.
- Your own maturity will prove a valuable tool in drawing out theirs.
- The importance of a positive approach cannot be over-emphasized.
Every project should have a notebook, a detailed written record of the scientific study. The contents should be specific and concise and should display the student's use of the scientific method. Among its contents should be:
Additional sections may include:
Although you will not be able to thoroughly examine every notebook, you will find it helpful to check the contents at least briefly.
A genuine interest in the student's work, coupled with the determination to make judging a positive learning experience, is a good formula to use during your judging interview. The interview:
NOTE: The display may be dazzling, the logbook thorough and complete, the notebook neat and well written and the interview eloquent but, if the basic project idea (the question to be answered or the problem to be solved) and method of answering or solving it aren't valid, the student has not become a better scientist or engineer by doing the project. A review of the Judging Criteria on the score sheet should be useful in evaluating the overall project.