Be a Judge
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:
- Show you are
- Give positive
reinforcement to nourish self esteem
(say what you like about project)
- Work to put
students at ease,
- 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
- 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
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
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?
Personalize your language
I feel that……
I see that…..
A technique I have used…..
The project would have more impact on me if….
Get there early
Look at all of your category exhibits before starting to judge your
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
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.