Be a Judge
We thank you for your interest and commitment. Any adult with training in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics with at minimum of a Bachelor's Degree or equivalent can volunteer to judge projects on the fair day.
You can expect to provide at minimum 4 hours of assistance to view projects and interact with the student participants.
As a science fair judge, you will be provided with a number of opportunities for the small amount of time that you will invest in judging. Also you will gain personal rewards from the experience and interaction with the students that can be found by any other experience.
The Roles of a Judge
The Judging role is multi facetted. Judging is more than putting scores on paper. As a judge you will step into a number of roles through the judging day. Fulfilling all of these roles is important for having a successful science fair. You may not fill all of these roles as a judge when interviewing a student, but through the day you will have the opportunity to exercise all of the roles.
The main role of a Judge is to evaluate the various projects and assign them a score. This is usually done before the students arrive in the morning. You will be evaluating the project on the basis of what you see. Quality of work and presentation fit into this function as a judge.
In the afternoon, you get to meet the students. You will still be evaluating the project, but you will also be a Facilitator, creating an open and positive atmosphere to allow the student to comfortably tell you about their project and the research that they did. This role is important because quality of your facilitation will result in amount of information you will receive to make an accurate evaluation of the project as a whole.
When a student asks you, “What could I have done better in this project?”, you have then stepped into the role of a counselor. You can make a recommendation of what could have taken the project up to the next level of quality. If the Student does not ask how they could have improved their project, then it is your responsibility to give the student one growth point for improvement on the project. (no more – no less).
An important role of a judge is to give the student some compliments that will make them feel good about their work and motivate them to compete again. The students have put in a lot of work to compete in the fair and should be complimented on that as well as the work that they have done. The simplest compliment given to a student can spur them on to future success in life.
Remember that when communicating with the students, you are in the role of the judge, a leader in the community, from business or academia. Your actions portray to the students what the science fair is all about. Take care in what you do and say in the presence of the students.
Provide a good experience for the Competitors
As a judge you can provide a good experience for the student competitors by using the following items:
Let the contestants show their stuff
Avoid value judgments
Give one opportunity for improvement
Recognize 3 Project Strengths
End meeting on a positive note
Judge Behavior with Students
When with the students, there are things that you can do to make the experience a learning experience for the students and an enjoyable experience for you:
These are some good sample questions that will spur on conversations during the judging process.
Personalize your language
Excellent Opportunity to Network
Develop Communication Skills
Develop Analytical and Evaluation skills (Translates into leadership and management skill base)
Sharpen your Investigative Skills
Build Self Confidence
Share Knowledge with Today’s Youth
Have fun while helping others
Judges are an integral part of a science fair. As a judge you are part of the science fair infrastructure. Your time as a judge has impact that goes far beyond the day of judging, your time reaches out and influences students, schools, the community, businesses and science fairs.
Learn more about Science
Are presented with a challenge
Earn Recognition and win acceptance
Gain Pleasure from achievement
Build Self Esteem and Self Confidence
Meet members of the Business Community
Meet members of the Scientific Community
Science fairs create an event for schools to use to raise interest in education. Schools also gain in having better students through their experience of science fair competition and interaction with the judges.
The community gets the long-term benefits of the leadership development of our children who participate in science fairs.
Science fairs are a medium that can be used to promote businesses through raising community awareness of the businesses that support science fairs. Businesses also reap rewards from the communication and leadership skills that their volunteer judges gain through participating in the science fairs.
Science Fair Benefits
The Science Fair gains exposure to businesses and schools. Science Fairs, a network of volunteer organizations, are sponsored by community and business donations. Well run science fairs build fair credibility and solidarity of all of the fair supporters.
Using the Judging Form
As a judge the main tools that you will use are a pencil, a clipboard, and judging forms. All tools are supplied on the judging day. To use the judging form effectively, follow the steps on the following pages. It is just that easy.