What to Expect During the Fair
1. Please remember that the judges are volunteering their time. Their decisions will be based on their bestjudgment and Science Fair guidelines and will be final.
2. Be aware that the judges appreciate a display that clearly shows the intent and results of experimentation, and a presentation that concisely describes what was done and what was concluded. The judges want to feel that you are familiar enough with your project to discuss it comfortably and answer questions about it. Memorized speeches or rambling descriptions of trivial details hinder the work of judges, who need to be able to pose good questions in order to thoroughly understand the project. If you work on a team project, the judges will expect more substantial science.
3. You should prepare an oral summary of important points that you can present in no more than 60 seconds. Your judges will already have read your abstract, so if you've done a good job there your summary will remind them of questions that occurred to them earlier.
4. Following your summary, you may find it useful to present several prepared short descriptions of important aspects of your project. You know your project better than anyone, so you should have the best ideas of what is important. You should prepare answers for such questions as "Where did you get the idea for this project?" "What is special or distinctive about your project?" "What is the next thing you would do with your results?" "What questions has your project now generated?" You might also prepare for the questions you hope the judges will ask.
5. For team projects, one person could act as the team spokesperson and present the oral summary or this job could be shared among the team members. In any case, all team members should understand their roles clearly and be able to carry them out. This summary should include the rationale for the project being a group, rather than an individual, enterprise, and how each member contributed. Each member of the group should be fully knowledgeable about the project and be prepared to discuss his/her part.
6. You will be interviewed by at least two different judges for your category who will spend about five to eight minutes discussing your project with you. The judges may talk to you one at a time or in groups. It is difficult to space these interviews equally, so don't get discouraged if there is a long wait between judges. Don't worry about comparing the number of your judging sessions with your neighbors. You, or they, may be getting Special and Recognition Awards interviews.
7. Many judges prefer to learn about your project by asking questions. Be prepared for them to interrupt your presentation.
8. You probably will not be able to predict all of the questions you will be asked. Some of the judges are experts in their fields, so they may ask you questions you cannot answer. Don't let this bother you. Just answer truthfully and to the best of your ability. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. DO NOT try to "snow" or bluff a judge.
9. The Kern County Regional Science Fair is a major local event. Your interviews with the judges might be covered by newspaper reporters (some with photographers), radio reporters, TV cameras (with their bright lights) and others. Videos might be used in promotional materials for future science fairs. The above section was adapted and revised from material first prepared for the California State Science Fair.
Aerodynamics & Hydrodynamics (grades 4-8 only)
Studies of aerodynamics and propulsion of air, land, water, and space vehicles; aero/hydrodynamics of structures and natural objects. Studies of the basic physics of fluid flow.
Alternative Energy (grades 6-8 only)
Studies of power generation using alternative energy technologies such as solar cells.
Applied Mechanics & Structures (grades 5, 9-12)
Studies concerning the design, manufacture, and operation of mechanisms, including characteristics of materials, dynamic response, and active/passive control. Testing for strength and stiffness used to provide structural capability; studies and testing of structural configurations designed to improve weight and force loading or stiffness capabilities.
Applied Mechanics/Structures I (grades 6-8)
Applied Mechanics/Structures II (Grades 6-8)
Behavioral Science (grades 5-12)
Studies of human psychology, behavior, developments, linguistics, and the effects of chemical or physical stress on these processes. Experimental or observational studies of attitudes, behaviors, or values of a society or groups within a society, and of the influences of society on group behavior. Includes gender and diversity studies, anthropology, and archeaology, and sociology.
Biochemistry (grades 4-12)
Studies at the molecular, biochemical, or enzymatic levels in animals (including humans), plants, and microorganisms, including yeast.
Biochemistry of Degradation (grades 6-8)
Biology/Biochemistry (grades 9-12)
Biology/Human Physiology (grades 6-8)
Chemical Properties (grades 6-8)
Chemical Reactions (grades 6-8)
Chemistry/Phase Change (grades 6-8)
Chemistry/Phase Change/Reactions (5th Grade)
Chemistry/Physical Properties (5th Grade)
Cognitive Science (grades 4-8 only)
Studies of learning, memory, cognition in humans, using human or animal models for human processes. Studies of the effects of chemical or physical stress on cognition. Includes projects on subliminal perception, optical illusions, recall and observations, and the interaction of different senses.
Computational Systems & Analysis (grades 9-12 only)
Studies that focus primarily on the development and use of computational systems for applications in the biological, physical, or engineering sciences such as analyzing big data, modeling and simulations, autonomous navigation, and bioinformatics.
Electronics (grades 4, 6-8)
Electronics and Electromagnetism (5th grade)
Experimental or theoretical studies with electrical circuits, computer design, electro-optics, electromagnetic applications and antennas.
Environmental Engineering (grades 6-8)
Projects which apply technologies such as recycling, reclamation, restoration, composting, and bioremediation which could benefit the environment and/or the effects of pollution on the environment.
Environmental Science and Engineering (grades 9-12)
Environmental Sciences (grades 4-8)
Projects surveying, measuring, modeling, or studying natural and man-made changes on the environment. Studies involving water pollution, geology, seismology, physical oceanography, marine geology, coastal processes, air pollution, atmospheric physics and chemistry, and meteorology, including the impacts of floods, fires, acid rain, and climate change.
General Biology (4th Grade)
General Biology (grades 9-12)
Materials Science (4th grade)
Studies of materials characteristics and their static physical properties. Includes measurements and comparisons of materials durability, flammability, and insulation properties.
Materials Science I (grades 5-8)
Materials Science II (5-8 grades)
Microbiology (grades 9-12)
Studies of genetics, growth, and physiology of bacteria, fungi, protists, algae, or viruses.
Microbiology/Biochemistry (5th grade)
Nutrition/Exercise Physiology (5th grade)
Physics and Astronomy I (5th grade)
Studies of physical properties of matter, light, acoustics, thermal properties, solar physics, astrophysics, orbital mechanics, observational astronomy, planetary science, and astronomical surveys.
Physics and Astronomy II (5th grade)
Physics and Electronics (grades 9-12)
Plant Biology (grades 4-8)
Studies of genetics, growth, morphology, or physiology of plants. Studies of the effects of fertilizers.
Plant Development (grades 6-8)
Product Science - Consumables (4th grade)
Product Science I (grades 5-8 only)
Comparison and testing of commercial off-the-shelf products for quality and/or effectiveness for intended real-world consumer-oriented applications.
Product Science II (grades 5-8)
Product Science- Products(4th grade)
Zoology (grades 6-8)
Studies of growth and developmental biology, anatomy, and physiology in animals other than mammals.