There are two main categories available for entry at the Central Northland Science and Technology Fair. The categories are Investigation and Technology.
A third category ‘Research’ has been re-introduced and is only available to year 7 & 8 students.
It is important that the correct category is selected. Selection of the correct category demonstrates a certain degree of scientific knowledge, but more importantly exhibits which are place in the wrong category will be disadvantaged.
Exhibits cannot be moved to other categories on the day and the judges will need to mark for their respective categories. An outstanding investigation project for example will perform poorly in a technology category for example – it won’t deliver what it takes to win the technology prize, the requirements are different.
Each exhibit may be entered by one or two students, an exhibit presented by three or more students will not be accepted.
This is a scientific investigation of a chosen topic using fair testing methodology to discover a result and draw conclusions. All activity on the investigation MUST be recorded in a log book that accompanies the presentation board.
The exhibit needs to cover:
- Aim – what is the investigation trying to achieve?
- Variables – independent, dependent and constant factors of the investigation
- Hypothesis – what does the student expect to find coupled with a scientifically based justification?
- Method – written record of the experiment steps.
- Diagrams – of experiments and equipment used
- Unit of measure – how have results been recorded?
- Results – using words and graphing
- Conclusion – directly linked to the results thereby proving or disproving the hypothesis
This is NOT an investigation therefore it does not have an aim, hypothesis or method. All activity on the process MUST be recorded in a log book that accompanies the presentation board.
The exhibit needs to cover:
- Problem – an identified problem the student will attempt to solve.
- Possible solutions – identification of a number of solutions that could be attempted.
- Market Research – what is already available in the market place to solve the problem? How is the student improving upon that?
- Opportunity – an identified solution pathway the student will pursue to production of a prototype model
- Design brief – specifications for production of the prototype model including diagrams
- Production materials – identified materials used in the production process with consideration of such things as safety, availability, aesthetics, practicality and costs
- Testing – how well does the prototype meet design brief specifications and solve the identified problem?
- Modifications – changes to the original prototype to improve testing results
- Market Research – does the end prototype meet user expectations?
- Conclusions – directly linked to the end point market research and testing results
- Log Books
- Log books are an integral and essential part of your project is an important support document to the final written project presented on the exhibit board or Conference Poster.
- Log books provide an important record of how you planned your project, how your project progressed, how important information was collected and interpreted and any assistance you had completing your project. A log book should contain (as a minimum) evidence of:
- Focusing and Planning
- Collection of background material leading to an hypothesis, aim or testable question
- The development of a method that tests the hypothesis
- An outline of the method used to investigate the hypothesis
- Carrying out an investigation
- Tabulated raw data
- Amendments to the draft method that have been made during the investigation
- Interpretation of data
- A statement of findings
- Collection of background material that assists in correlating the findings to established scientific knowledge
- A draft of the discussion and conclusion.
Research (Year 7 – 8 only)
A research exhibit comprises selected information to give a factual account of relevant scientific ideas, concepts or theories; data collection and reporting. The research process should be recorded and presented in a log book. This log book must be presented for the Judges to review.
The research findings should be in the format of a scientific report that has:
- A title
- A clearly stated purpose or focus question.
- An introduction or abstract that summarises the intent and findings of the research
- Separate sections and sub-sections, each with a heading, that address the different parts of the research findings.
- A conclusion that presents the research findings
- A list of references in a systematic format that makes them accessible to readers