Wisconsin Science Education Foundation Presents

Waukesha Colleges
Science & Engineering Fair
For 2023
Not enough Interest


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.

Role Model

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:


Be Genuine

Let the contestants show their stuff

Encourage conversation

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:

  • Show you are interested
  • Listen actively
  • Give positive reinforcement to nourish self esteem (say what you like about project)
  • Work to put students at ease, (Sit Down)
  • If students are intimidated they will not speak freely
  • Ask students about their Projects, not just what they did
  • Ask students enough questions to satisfy yourself that they understood the project.
  • When you have reached the student’s knowledge limit. STOP asking questions
  • Have 1 Positive Comment for every student
  • Remember when you were the students age
  • Let the student teach you something

Sample Questions

These are some good sample questions that will spur on conversations during the judging process.


  • Why did you decide to study this topic?
  • What are your controlled variables?
  • How accurate are your readings?
  • What future applications can you see from the results of this project?
  • What one outstanding thing did you learn doing this project?
  • How would you improve this project if you would do it again ?
  • How many times did you run the experiment with a different set of parameters? ?
  • How does this experiemnt conform to the process of scientific inquiry? ?

Suggested Wording

Personalize your language

I liked….

I enjoyed….

I feel that……

I see that…..


If asked

I suggest…

A technique I have used…..

The project would have more impact on me if….


Judging Tips

  • Get there early
  • Look at all of your category exhibits before starting to judge your exhibits
  • Set timing goals for your exhibits   (10-15 min per project)
  • Contestants understanding is as important as the project
  • Every Project must receive a passing Mark
  • Revise your scores as many times as you need
  • Don’t tally judging sheet in front of Contestants
  • If stuck on a project, see your Category Chair
  • Monitor time

Judges Benefits

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.

Students Benefits

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

School Benefits

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.

Community Benefits

The community gets the long-term benefits of the leadership development of our children who participate in science fairs.

Business Benefits

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.

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