Regional STEM Research Fair Judging Rubric and Description

Presentation Styles

All projects will be presented to the judges and the audience, using one of three presentation styles described below. Projects must specify which type of presentation style they will be using at the time of registration. All presentations will be strictly limited to 10 minutes, divided as follows: 8 minutes for student explanation and 2 minutes of questions.

Poster A science fair style poster detailing the work. Students will present their project to the judges using the poster during a poster session.

Oral Presentation A verbal presentation of a project utilizing a slideshow as a visual aid to explain the project to an audience of listeners.

Show and Tell A presentation centering on demonstration of a practical device. Students may utilize additional media (poster with charts/photos, tablets with videos, etc.) to communicate analyses, but these presentations should focus on interaction and demonstration of the objects being shown.

The scoring rubrics will judge student communication using the same criteria for each type of presentation. Presentation visual effectiveness will be judged using a rubric with criteria specific to each presentation type. Details of the criteria for each category may be found in the judging criteria.

Project Technical Tracks

In addition to the selection of presentation style, students will be required to choose whether their project is to be judged under one of two technical tracks, Research or Design. Descriptions of these two tracks are:

Research Track Research projects consist of applying a systematic investigative approach toward answering a significant research question. Projects in the research category are expected to clearly formulate a research question, to gather data using experiments or scientific literature in order to attempt to answer to that question, and communicate the results and significance of their work in the context of that research question.

Design Track Design projects consist of identification of a problem and development of a practical solution to that problem. Design projects are expected to follow some type of formalized design process in development of their solution that should be communicated (e.g. a simplified form of the engineering design process might be: define a problem, generate concepts, evaluate solutions and communicate results). These projects must include technical calculations supporting the creation of the design and/or testing and analysis of the solution's performance relative to the design problem identified.

Please note that these tracks do not correlate strictly with a science/engineering dichotomy. Design projects related to traditional science disciplines (e.g. design of a custom telescope), and research projects on engineering topics (e.g. systematic measurements of solar energy collection efficiency) are welcome and encouraged.

Projects in either track will be judged on both their technical merit and their methodology, using separate rubrics that acknowledge the differences between the intent of these two types of projects. This judging approach allows the projects to be fairly compared on equal footing. Details of the criteria for each track may be found in the judging criteria.