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Science Fair

Welcome to the second annual Blue Ridge Discovery Center Science Fair to be held December 8th, 2017! We are including all 6th and 7th grade students in Grayson County Public Schools. In the future we aim to include more grades and expand the opportunity to focus on critical thinking skills. We believe that all worthy questions arise from your own experience and context. Although it is not required, we encourage all participants to develop projects related to their home region of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Prizes

GRAND PRIZE:  Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer!

1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes offered at all grade levels
1st Place: $75 Gift Certificate Acorn Naturalists
2nd Place: $50 Gift Certificate Acorn Naturalists
3rd Place: $25 Gift Certificate Acorn Naturalists
Each school will also have their own Best in School Trophy that will be displayed at the school.

Getting Started

Creating a Science Fair Project can seem daunting at first pass. There are technical challenges, material challenges and time challenges. Mentoring is a key part of being creative, curious and excited about a Science Fair Project. Besides seeking inspiration from family and friends, Blue Ridge Discovery Center will help provide scientific mentors that can help develop questions, innovative solutions and research protocol. Access to the mentors will be through the teachers and school personnel.

Students may work as individuals or in groups up to three, but the prize award must be shared among the group. Projects may be based on research or innovation, meaning they can focus on answering a question through scientific method or they can focus on innovative solutions through engineering. Either way, your project must be testable! There is a list of items/ideas that are NOT allowed as Science Fair Projects. The students will be provided this information.

So... it is time to get started! Begin by thinking of things that interest you and develop questions about that interest. For instance… I love camping in the Blue Ridge, but I hate when my hard boiled egg won’t peel! Why do some eggs peel like a charm and others are nearly impossible? People say the older the egg... the easier to peel, but is that really true? I want to get to the bottom of it and prove one way or another what makes an easy to peel an egg!

What is a Science Fair Project

Science Fair Projects are an opportunity to learn more about the world around you through rigorous experimentation and documentation. All projects should answer a question through scientific method or focus on innovative solutions through engineering. Either way, your project must be testable! Although Science Fairs are competitive by design, they are collaborative by nature. Participants seek answers to the conditions and challenges that face us all! With help from peers, teachers, parents and mentors you can solve the hardest of questions.

Guidelines & Rules

  • Work individually or in groups of up to three.
  • Utilize either Scientific Method or Engineering Method (Simply making a model of something is not a Science Fair Project. Projects must be testable)
  • Write a Research Paper.
  • Create a Presentation Board. 
  • Give a verbal or video presentation to judges at the Science Fair.
  • Due to years of repeated projects we are disqualifying certain subjects and materials to encourage creativity and originality of Science Fair Projects. Disqualifying subjects/materials include: living organisms including plant; soil, sand, rock, cement and/or waste samples, taxidermy specimens or parts, preserved invertebrate or invertebrate animals, human or animal food as part of the demonstration, human/animal parts or body fluids; plant materials (living, dead, or preserved) that are in their raw, unprocessed or non-manufactured state, all chemicals including water in any form, hazardous substances or devices, items that have contained or be in contact with hazardous chemicals, dry ice, sharp items, flames or highly flammable materials, batteries with open-top cells or wet cells, drones or any flight capable apparatus, glass or glass objects unless deemed necessary for the integrity of the project, and any apparatus deemed unsafe by teachers, mentors or school personnel.
  • Although it is not required, we encourage you to develop projects related to your home region of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Be inspired! Choose a topic that you are really interested in.  That way, you will have fun while you learn!

Judging Criteria

Science and engineering have different criteria, each with five sections as well as suggested scoring for each section.  Each section includes key items to consider for evaluation both before and after the interview. 

Students are encouraged to design their posters in a clear and informative manner to allow pre-interview evaluation and to enable the interview to become an in-depth discussion. Judges will examine the student notebook. Considerable emphasis is placed on two areas:  Creativity and Presentation, especially in the Interview section, and are discussed in more detail below.

Creativity:   A creative project demonstrates imagination and inventiveness.  Such projects often offer different perspectives that open up new possibilities or new alternatives.  Judges will place emphasis on research outcomes in evaluating creativity. 

Presentation/Interview:  The interview provides the opportunity to interact with the finalists and evaluate their understanding of the project’s basic science, interpretation and limitations of the results and conclusions.  

  • If the project was completed at home or in a school laboratory, the judge will determine if the finalist received any mentoring or professional guidance. 
  • Please note that both team and individual projects are judged together, and projects should be judged only on the basis of their quality.  However, all team members should demonstrate significant contributions to and an understanding of the project.
  1. Research Question/Problem (10 pts)
  2. Design and Methodology (15 pts)
  3. Execution: Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation or Construction and Testing (20pts)
  4. Creativity (20 pts)
  5. Presentation (35 pts)
    • Poster (10 pts)
    • Interview (25 pts)

The Blue Ridge Discovery Center Science Fair Committee

Aaron Floyd, BRDC Executive Director; Lisa Benish, BRDC Program Director; Jay Martin, Naturalist/Educator; Mr. Hale, IMS Principal; Mr. Alexander, Fries Principal; Mr. Cheeks, GHS Principal; Mrs. Cox IMS, Mrs. Perry GHS, Ms. Tignor, IMS,and Mrs Blankenship FMS