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Observations from a science fair judge…

Posted by on January 5, 2012

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Tiny Tim recommends biology, physics, and chemistry projects, just not ones on him!

Today I read 300 science fair project boards, and was saddened to find only 4 original ideas. All of the others were ideas from the internet including: how much iron is in cereal, which ball bounces higher, what color do plants grow best in, which music makes plants grow the most, how much vitamin C is in juice, which fruit powers the battery, and so on…

In this case, there was no interview, so all my point-allocating decisions and rankings had to be based on the project board itself. If this is the case for your fair, make sure your board is attractive, easy to read, and well labeled!

Some of my other observations:

1. Leave your pets alone! “Experimenting” on vertebrate animals is not supposed to be allowed. Your cat, dog, turtle, bird, fish, frog, iguana, and/or horse all have a backbone so they should be off limits.

2. Leave Grandma alone! Humans have a backbone too, so they should not be part of your experiment, unless your project was pre-approved. The same goes for your twin brothers, mom & dad, and all of your friends.

3. Don’t kill things. Most scientists love, or at least respect, nature. I don’t want to see that you killed plants because you put them in the closet or didn’t water them, or worse, watered them with bleach. I don’t want to read a conclusion that states “weed killer killed the plants”. I also don’t want to read about how you killed crickets, worms, beetles, oysters, or starfish. Just because they don’t have a backbone, does not mean you should design cruel projects.

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