All students are required to spend time with the judges marking their projects, with years 7-11 interviewed and years 12 and 13 presenting their conference poster.
Students in Years 7-11 need to attend an interview with the judges marking their project. The interview is quite relaxed, it is not formal, but it is important. Interviews are a chance for judges to talk with students to find out more about the project and the depth of a student’s scientific or technological knowledge.
Students in Years 12-13 need to ‘present’ a Conference Poster. This time with the judges is more formal. It is much less question and answer format and students will need to take on more responsibility conveying information about their project orally. Judges will ask questions, but the delivery of the presentation is within the students control and it will be up to them to verbally convey necessary information in a memorable way.
Example Interview Questions
Regardless of being a Year 7-11 doing an interview or a Year 12-13 presenting a Conference Poster, students should be prepared to answer questions like the ones given as examples below.
- What [investigation] observations or [technology] needs or opportunities made you choose this project?
- Where did you get the idea for this project?
- How did you decide which category to enter your project in?
- What more can you tell me about your [technology] researching the need / finding out about existing solutions / coming up with a new idea / developing your solution / checking that it has the qualities those who wanted it thought were important … ?
- How did you decide that your approach was sufficiently original or better than had been done previously to continue?
- What more can you say about your [investigation] experiments / surveys / field observations / apparatus / equipment … ?
- Now can you take me through [investigation] some of the results you obtained / [technology] development steps you carried out?
- How do you know that your data is reliable?
- How did you decide what best met the need/opportunity you had identified?
- What were the major problems in developing your idea?
- What were the main findings [investigation] which helped you reach this conclusion / [technology] helped you decide your solution met the needs of the end-users?
- How are you sure your ‘solution’ meets the needs of your identified users?
- What were the tricky bits of this project?
- Did you have some help in designing the experiments / surveys / development steps … you have used here?
- What did you do to determine if someone had done this before?
- Where did this equipment / material / display item… come from? Did you have help in setting it up?
- Did you start out to investigate / develop… ? Did your ideas change? Are the results what you expected?
- Why did you decide to display the results / development like this?
- If you were going to take this project further what would you do?
- What problems did you have?’ ‘How did you recognise them?
- What performance criteria were most important? How did you measure them?
- What tests/measurements did you do to see if your development was on the right track?
- If it was to be mass produced, what further development do you think needs doing?
- When did you start working on this?
- How many trips / experiments / surveys / design cycles / … did you carry out?
- Have you measured or estimated technological aspects such as: efficiency, optimisation, reliability (and/or mean time between failure), cost-effectiveness, appropriate materials, safety, ergonomics, aesthetics …?
- Where did you get some of the other data / information?
- Did you talk to others about this project? Parents, teachers, family friends, scientists / technologists, others at school … ?
- What records did you keep while doing this project?
- Tell me how these models / items of equipment / display materials … came to be made?
- Have you had any problems with this equipment?
- Tell me about these plants / animals, are they easy to grow or have you had some losses?
- Did you do this typing / word processing / illustrating / painting / layout … ?
- Do you have a home workshop – did someone give you a hand?
- Where did you learn to do this?
- Did you devise / modify the computer program / peripherals yourself?
What if a student cannot attend an interview or the Conference Poster presentation?
At the 2017 AGM, it was agreed that if the Student is not present for the interview or the Conference Poster presentation, then the exhibit will not be considered eligible for any of the Class or Special Awards. However, if the exhibit is a joint project, it will still be considered if only one of the students can attend.