The Care and Handling of Science Fair Projects

Last month, nsshere got her science fair project into the Los Angeles County Science Fair. Her project, titled “Dyeing Fabric and the Effect of Threadcount”, was in the Junior Product Science division. Alas, she was disappointed because she wasn’t called back for an interview (meaning her project wasn’t going to the State Fair), and was doubly disappointed in that there were no judges comments on the project. She went from being on a high about science to having a very negative experience. We did contact the judging chair to find out where her comments were, and he indicated he would look into finding the judging sheet.

Last night, gf_guruilla got the answer. There were no judges comments because the judges were running behind on time during the judging, and thus didn’t prepare a comment sheet. There were 5 projects where the judges knew they weren’t going to have interviews, but lack of time prevented them from giving comments. They focused their time on the call-backs.

Now, I’m a judge at the state fair (you can be too). At our level it is emphasized that this should be a positive experience for the kids. It is emphasized how we must see all the projects, and attempt to have an equal number see all projects. We don’t do judging sheets, but we interview and talk to every kid in our category. I find it poor form that the County judges couldn’t provide feedback, either verbal or written, to all participants.

I do intend to bring this up to the directors of judging at the state level. This reflects badly on the entire enterprise.