Judges Needed for 2011 State Science + Technology, FFA Agriscience Fairs



State Science + Technology Fair of IowaAMES, Iowa – The State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) and FFA Agriscience Fair need judges to review middle and high school science projects during the two events April 1-2 at Iowa State University in Ames.

The science fairs are expected to bring 500 to 600 youth in grades six through 12 and their research projects to Hilton Coliseum and the Iowa State Center. Volunteers can sign up to be judges at the SSTFI website, www.sciencefairofiowa.org.

“During the past few years we have experienced tremendous growth in the number of youth registering for SSTFI. This is great news that brings with it the challenge to register more judges,” said Jay Staker, director of Iowa State University Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET).

“We need 350 to 400 judges to work with youth from across Iowa, as educators; to not only evaluate their projects, but to help the students become better researchers,” Staker said.

Judges should have degrees in science, engineering, technology or related fields. Current undergraduate students in these fields are eligible to judge middle school exhibits.

Judges evaluate how well students followed the scientific method, the detail and accuracy of research as documented in their data books and whether experimental procedures were used in the best possible way, Staker explained. Students are judged on creative ability, scientific thought or technology goals, research thoroughness, technical skill, clarity and dramatic value in their oral presentation.

“One of the most important things the judges do is talk with the students to find out if they have a good grasp of their project from start to finish and can talk confidently about their work,” Staker said.

To register to be a judge, go to http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/judges.html. Staker suggested that judges be flexible and volunteer to judge in high school or junior high and in two sessions. 

SSTFI is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and is open to any student in Iowa in grades six through twelve. The FFA Agriscience Fair is open to Iowa FFA members who are participating in SSTFI.

ISU Extension is a sponsor of the State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa.

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VIDEO: A volunteer judge talks about what it’s like to judge science projects at the State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI).