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What the Science Fair Judge won’t tell you

Posted by on December 16, 2011

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As a judge, I will look at 20 to 50 projects at any given fair. Here is what you should do to ensure I am happy to be at your project board.

1. Put the title at the top of the center panel. If it is not there, I will get annoyed looking for it. I might even miss it and assume you have no title.

2. Do not use fancy fonts with swirls, circles, and scrolls. I have to review many boards and that will make my eyes hurt. I will probably just scan it and will miss key points.

3. Do not put anything longer than a heading on an angle. It will hurt my neck. I will not read it thoroughly because my neck will hurt more.

4. Double check your graphs for labeled axes (numbers AND units). It is one of the most common mistakes and I will take points off for it. Also, group your data by treatment (independent variable), not by trial to highlight variation in trial runs for each treatment.

5. Do not change your hypothesis to match your conclusion. I will be able to tell if you do. For example, if you predicted that the blue M&M would be the most common color picked out of a bag, and it was, you either were very lucky, or you did not write your prediction first. If you can not justify WHY you thought blue would be the most common, I will suspect that you did not want to reject your hypothesis, and so you changed it.

6. Make sure the board does not look like an arts & crafts project. As I scientist, I was not good at arts and crafts. I will think you spent more time decorating than experimenting.

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