Science projects and science fairs are a great way to get kids to learn. They engage the mind and help raise interest in different fields. The events are friendly, but the inherent competition is also a great way to get students to push themselves. However, scoring fairs is never easy. To help with that, the following sections will cover how to judge science projects in the most honest way possible.
Types of Award Ribbons
When scoring a science project or science fair, there are several different ribbons you can give out. The basic award ribbons are the first place ribbon, the second place ribbon, and the third place ribbon. However, you can also branch out from that convention.
A participation ribbon is a great way to give everyone who entered the contest a sense of accomplishment (likely giving them the confidence to participate in future fairs) and you can give also administer a range of specialized awards as well.
For example, you could give a ribbon to the project that took the most time to put together, or you could give one for the experiment that had the highest-reaching goal. You can find many different prize ribbons and awards online. Simply pick the ones that best suit your needs.
Correctly Judging a Science Fair Project
Once you know what awards you can get, or what awards you want to give out, you next need to be able to accurately judge and analyze science projects. This is not an easy process, but it is critical to understanding the final scoring (and who gets what ribbon).
Typically, judges create a benchmark score and then add or subtract points from there. If a person fits all of the criteria, they get a perfect score (and likely a top three ribbon). If they are lacking in a specific area or areas, the points are deducted accordingly.
The first thing you want to look at is how well the idea or goal of the project is presented. Ideas need to be clear and well-defined. Science is a world of definitions, and not knowing what everything is or what it means can cause a lot of confusion.
Continuing with that idea, it is also important that the person putting together the project gives a brief description of the background relating to the problem put forth in their project. They need to show their solutions as well. Each step of a project should be outlined so that the entire process can be easily followed.
The Importance of Data
The next part a judge needs to look at it how well the person running the project collected their data. If the entire process is documented, they get a good score. They also get high marks for independently performing experiments, showing they have the right skills to perform their experiment, and revealing they are knowledgeable about the topic at hand.
Collecting and interpreting data are also important parts of this process. Data is at the heart of all science, which means it should be at the heart of a good project. Those who accurately documented their process should get higher scores. As should students who correctly kept thorough records, repeated experiments, and put a lot of effort into their work.
It is also important that the project is accurately interpreted with charts, tables, and/or graphs. However, that is not enough to earn a prize ribbon. Research also has to be used to correctly interpret data, and the results need to be honest to such results
Putting Together a Proper Presentation
The last factor of any good science fair project is proper presentation. There are several parts here, but the biggest is that the project looks professional and well-organized. Science fair projects need to pop, which means they have to be attractive. If something does not have a great look or solid feel, it should have points deducted.
The best presenters also typically use the display to aid them in the presentation, and all of the conclusions should be based on the data and results. They should also be able to summarize what they learned, and any questions should also be answered accurately, politely and confidently.
Giving Out the Correct Prize Ribbons
Judging a science fair is never easy. There is often a range of creative and well put together projects. That makes passing award ribbons that much more difficult. However, it is a competition, which means somebody has to win. Using the above criteria, you should be able to make that choice. If there are two or more projects that are hard to differentiate, take the ideas outlined in this guide in order to figure out which one should come out on top.