Guidelines for Exhibitors

  • investigate or research a scientific ‘idea’;
  • develop a technological ‘device’;
  • involve the application of Science or Technology.
  • an hypothesis
  • a theory
  • a principle
  • a law
  • a process
  • a model
  • a machine
  • a system
  • an environment
  • a prototype
  • original, (you thought of it);
  • proposed, (someone else thought of it);
  • established, (already proven).

The essential feature is the manner in which you investigate the 'idea' or develop the 'device'.

Science Projects

A Science project must illustrate or investigate some scientific idea rather than be just a simple collection, eg: an insect collection may be arranged to show the principle of adaptation...that insects have different methods of feeding, thus reducing competition.

Scientific ideas may be investigated by means of a fair test that involves some or all of the following steps:

  • Make observations of the subject and do background research
  • Ask questions about the subject
  • Propose hypotheses, which are tentative scientific predictions
  • Carry out experiments that test the hypotheses in a “fair test” manner
  • Obtain results, mathematically process results and present these in tables, diagrams, graphs etc.
  • Make conclusions indicating the degree to which the hypothesis is supported by your results. Provide scientific explanations. Indicate the relevance or importance of your findings. Any errors, limitations, and assumptions that have influenced the results should be stated.

Headings for an investigative science exhibit may include some or all of the following:

  • Title
  • Aim
  • Introduction
  • Initial Observations and Background Research
  • Questions
  • Hypotheses
  • Experimental Method or Procedure
  • Results, including observations, drawings, tables, graphs
  • Statistical treatment or analysis of the results.
  • Conclusions
  • Errors, Limitations, Assumptions
  • Discussion, including: scientific reasons for the findings - their relevance and importance.
  • Acknowledgments

Technology Projects

A technology project must develop a new prototype or model, product, device, process, system or environment.

The following steps may develop a technological solution:

  • Identify a need or opportunity
  • Research existing technologies, historical background
  • Survey a target audience
  • Sketch initial concepts
  • Develop concepts and produce a “device” to meet the needs of the target audience
  • Evaluate the solution suggesting any modifications or improvements.

Headings for a technology exhibit may include some or all of the following:

  • Title
  • Need or Opportunity
  • Knowledge or Research
  • Development of a Solution
  • Evaluation
  • Acknowledgments

Display Boards

Use brief concise statements under headings. People will not read more than about 200 words. Present data in graphs rather than tables. Use diagrams and photos. Use colour, arrange logically, and ensure that it is readable from 1 to 2 metres.

Each exhibit must be displayed on a display board no larger than 1.0 m high, 0.50 m deep and 1.00 m wide when set up for display. It must be self-supporting and not attached to the table or walls. Display space is limited so please respect these regulations.


Present background research, observations, results, repeat trials, tables of data, construction details, prototypes and other details too extensive to display on the backboards.

Field or laboratory work unable to be displayed should be photographed and included in your logbook or on the display board.


All work must be your own. You may seek advice and guidance from teachers, reference material, and other people or resources and you may borrow or purchase special components, but the major construction must be your own. Help from other people, references and resources must be acknowledged on the display or in the logbook.

Simple, ingenious, original, and inexpensive exhibits are just as likely to be favourably considered as exhibits with a high content of expensive or special components, (such as electronics and computers).


All criteria are judged in relation to the age of the exhibitor(s), and the resources and facilities available to them. Original work is more favourably considered than direct copying from books, or obtaining substantial help from other people. You can achieve this by:

  • investigating known ideas or techniques in an original manner
  • applying known ideas or techniques to a new or different subject
  • carrying out an investigation or developing a device that is completely original

Your exhibit – display board, log book and items on display - must tell the complete story to the judges.

Certificates for Animal Ethics Approval, if applicable, must be available for inspection.


Science involves validating experiments that lead to the gathering of data to support or refute the hypothesis or to further investigate the aim or seek answers to questions.

A science exhibit should demonstrate clear scientific thought and the application of appropriate scientific methods. It should show evidence of appreciation for accuracy in observation, measurement, data collection, data presentation and reporting; and an understanding of the underlying or related scientific principles embraced within the project.

It should contain

  • replication for an appropriate level of accuracy
  • proof that data is statistically valid
  • identification of variables and sources of error
  • sound conclusions related to the observations and data presented
  • discussion of significance of the findings to other situations, and recognition of any wider implications of the study.

There should be originality in the selection of the topic or statement of the problem. The following aspects should be evident:

  • a uniqueness of approach
  • a resourcefulness in obtaining, handling and interpreting data
  • an ingenious and inventive use of equipment and materials
  • creative displays or creative use of illustrative objects
  • an inventive apparatus
  • a high degree of insight offered by the conclusions and discussion
  • novel or inspired application of the principle, process or product being studied.


Technology involves the development of a useful product, process, or environment. The development should be driven by identifiable human needs.

The project should include sufficient documentation (plans, models, notes, etc.) to verify the development process that has been worked through for a range of technological aspects. At each stage of development, the various prototypes should have been evaluated by valid tests, which measured performance against criteria important to the intended end-users of the 'product'.

The project should clearly identify the shortcomings of existing ‘solutions’. These shortcomings and/or identified needs should be met in inventive, innovative or original ways. Materials and/or processes should be used in new or more efficient methods to achieve the 'solution'.

Also see the statement about originality above.

The project must show how the human need (or opportunity) was identified and validated with reference to the end-users' expectations. Existing solutions should be investigated and their shortcomings identified in relation to the identified need or opportunity and expectations of the users. Information thus gained should be analysed and performance specifications of the ‘solution’ defined from an analysis of the needs and expectations of the users.

The final solution should be judged against the original need or opportunity. How well the ‘solution’ works should be measured tests in relation to the performance specifications. How well it meets the needs of the users should be measured through appropriate tests. Evidence should be provided that the solution meets the needs of the intended users in ways appropriate to the users (it is easy and enjoyable to use.) It should be aesthetically pleasing or this potential should be shown. The ergonomic requirements of a range of people (age. gender, sex) should be considered. Its potential for full-scale use, including key quality control elements, should be evaluated.


The thoroughness of work and effort which has gone into the project should be reflected in the scope of the topic, the scale of the investigation, the detail obtained, the extent of the results, the repetition of the experiments measurements or observations, the construction of the exhibit, and its illustrative items and other displays, and the detail of the written material recorded in a log book.

These will be related to the age of the exhibitor, to the resources and facilities available to them and to the nature of the topic or investigation itself.

The project should be assembled skilfully; equipment and models should be well constructed; graphic materials must be carefully prepared and presented; living plants and animals well cared for; working parts reliable; and the whole display well planned and neatly finished.

The exhibitor(s) should have used their own skills rather than working under expert supervision and demonstrate skilful use and application of techniques or equipment.

The exhibit should be well designed, attractive, visually interesting and informative on all aspects of the investigation; well-illustrated with photographs, models, specimens, or samples; and with wide public appeal and effective communication. There should be a logical sequence, set out clearly and concisely, with all pertinent details displayed in a way which enables viewers to quickly grasp the essentials.

A logbook should provide details to back up the project, but the display must contain all the important details related to the investigation.


The judges will endeavour to interview all exhibitors. If you have not been interviewed as the judging period draws to a close, please notify one of the Organising Committee. However, remember the judges have had a chance to look at your exhibit earlier in the morning so may not need to spend much time with you. Exhibitors must be present for these interviews, so do not stray away from your exhibit to visit friends.



Please submit one 10" x 8 " (20 cm x 25 cm) photographic print, accompanied by a typed (20 font) explanation (maximum 200 words) of the science or technology behind the photograph.  Both the creativity of the photograph and the explanation will be considered by the judges when making their decisions on prize winners.  Entrants do not have to be present for interviews with the judges.  Entries can be delivered to Mrs Julie McLean at Craighead Diocesan School the week before the Fair or taken to the Caroline Bay Hall on the Tuesday of the week of the Fair between 4.30 pm and 6.00 pm.

The theme for 2016 is "Meteorology".  For inspiration, google "meteorology images" on the internet.  Meteorology is the study of the Earth's atmosphere with particular respect to weather processes and forecasting.