Instructions to students for creating videos, presentations and notebook materials for Open projects:

Because the Expo will be virtual, all project materials will need to be created in advance and uploaded to a website where the judges will be able to access and review remotely. Your presentation will be done as a video and your poster board as a set of presentation slides. You may also create pictures of other project materials and your notebook. Instructions for doing all of that are contained in the steps below. Please carefully read and follow the instructions and guidance.

Step 1: Guidance on Creating Videos:

You may record your video using any method you like (iPhone, digital video recorder, etc.). Your video presentation should be as if you were doing the presentation in person. The total time of your video should be somewhere between 7 – 10 minutes; not to exceed 10 minutes. Please follow the instructions below on the required content.

As you proceed with planning and making your video, keep in mind that you will be describing actual research and not just an experiment. A specific experiment is designed to be done by anyone, and always in the same way. Your project is more personal, based on your own thoughts, ideas, and discoveries as you went along. It probably varied from the original path you envisioned. That is OK, and it is worth remembering. 

Before you start doing your video, please review each of the following steps below. All the information is needed, but the steps don’t have to be done in the exact order suggested. It is possible to be describing one step and realize that part of the information for that step ties very strongly with the information for a different step.  Those variations are what might make your presentation even more personal. Just try to make sure you haven’t left out any important information. Judges will be looking for your video to include the information in these steps.

TIP: Outline your presentation first, indicating what specific items you want to include and in what order, and what portions each partner will talk to for team projects, and then start recording. 

A.  State the title and purpose of the project. Do NOT state your name(s).

B.  Tell where the idea for the project came from. 

C.  Explain how the idea developed into an investigation/experiment/prototype. 

D.  Describe the procedure that was followed. 

E.  Explain how the data was collected, and whether it was recorded in a notebook.  

F.  Give a review of data, tables, and graphs in a way that provides evidence for the conclusion(s). One possibility is showing data or table or graph during the video and giving an explanation at the same time. 

G.  State your conclusion by accurately interpreting the evidence shown by the information in Part F. 

H.  What was learned from doing the project?  

I.   If done again, would anything be done differently?

Please time your video to ensure it is between 7 – 10 minutes, and doesn’t exceed 10 minutes. Do it more than once if needed. When finished, watch it carefully to make sure that all items have been included and done to your satisfaction. Check to make sure that what you wanted to present and show is clearly visible in the video. Videos may be edited to remove parts that aren’t needed, and/or add parts that got missed in the initial recording. Check the audio to ensure the judges will be able to hear you clearly when they review your video. Feel free to have others watch it as well to make sure. 

Step 2: Guidance on Creating a Project Presentation

The project presentation replaces the project poster used during in-person fairs. Just like the video outline above, the same kinds of information need to be included in your presentation per the outline below. You may choose to use any software tools that you want to create your slides, but the final document submitted for judging needs to be a single PDF document (usually a selection in “save as” for your file) limited to no more than 15 pages with one slide per page (not including the title slide or references slide). All material to be presented should be on a slide – embedded links should only be used for added reference or extra materials. Please ensure that the view is in Landscape mode instead of Portrait. (Note: PDF provides a number of advantages.  One advantage is that it has a much smaller file size than pictures from cameras, and other file types.  Another advantage is that a PDF can be uploaded or downloaded quickly, and can be opened by programs on almost any type of computer, making it easy for judges to view.)  

All text on the slides should be easily readable when viewing the entire page at once. The smallest allowable font size of body text is 14 pt., but an 18 pt. font is recommended. Exception: You may use a smaller font size, down to 10 pt., for figure captions or photo credits. It is recommended that you use a font such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica or Century Gothic, and maintain a light color background with dark color text. 

The following outline should be used to create your presentation. Do not include information not specified below. If you are submitting a continuation project, include only information related to this year’s research unless otherwise directed in the instructions below. You may include graphical elements as they would explain or illustrate your work and can be contained within the overall page limit. As you create each section of the outline below, a section may extend beyond one page as long as the total for the whole presentation does not exceed 15 pages (not including the title slide or references slide).

1. PROJECT TITLE

The following should be included on the first slide:

  • Project Number. This number will be provided in STEM Wizard and found in your account there.
  • Project Title. The name of your project
  • Student Name (s). List all names for a team presentation

DO NOT include your school name.

2. INTRODUCTION

  • State your scientific research question or engineering problem and goal and tell why this interested you.    
  • For research, what were you trying to find out? Indicate what question you were trying to answer (your research question), a description of your purpose, and/or your hypothesis. 
  • For engineering, what problem were you trying to solve and why?  What were you trying to design, and what was its purpose? 
  • Explain what is known or has already been done in this area. Include a brief review of relevant literature. If this is a continuation project, a brief summary of your prior research and work is appropriate here. Be sure to distinguish your previous work from this year’s project.

3. METHODS

  • Explain your methodology and procedures for carrying out your project in detail.
  • If an engineering project, how did you design and produce your prototype? You may want to include pictures or designs of the prototype. If you tested the prototype, what were your testing procedures? 
  • What data did you collect and how did you collect that data? Discuss your control group and any variables you tested.

DO NOT include a list of materials.

4. RESULTS 

  • What were the result(s) of your project? 
  • Include tables and figures which illustrate your data. 
  • For an engineering project, how well did your prototype meet your engineering goal? If you tested a prototype, provide a summary of testing data tables and figures that illustrate your results.
  • Include relevant statistical analysis of the data.

5. DISCUSSION 

  • What is your interpretation of the results? What do these results mean? Compare your results with theories, published data, commonly held beliefs, and expected results.
  • Discuss possible errors. Did any questions or problems arise that you were not expecting? How did the data vary between repeated observations of similar events? How were results affected by uncontrolled events?

6. CONCLUSIONS

  • What conclusions did you reach? Did your project turn out as you expected?
  • What do these results mean in the context of the literature review and other work being done in your research area? How do the results address your research question? Do your results support your hypothesis?
  • What application(s) do you see for your work?

7. REFERENCES

  • This section should not exceed one page. Limit your list to the most important references.
  • List the references/documentation used which were not of your own creation (i.e., books, journal articles).

Step 3: Guidance on Pictures of Materials and Notebooks 

To ensure that the judges can view any picture in detail enough to understand what is being shown, please take careful aim of the camera and take more than one picture if necessary to show the full item. Review the pictures (or have someone else review them) to ensure they are useful to assist your project.

For your notebooks, please take at least 2 pictures (no more than 5 pictures please) of portions of your notebooks where information may be useful to the judges to see. As a minimum, you may take a picture of the first page of notes and a picture of the last page of notes. Please do NOT take a picture of every page.

Since STEM Wizard has an upload limit of 10 MB per file, students should group pictures together:

  • Insert multiple pictures into a Word (or similar) document.
  • Add captions to each picture to explain the picture to the judges
  • Save the document (using “save as”) as a PDF file, “Minimum Size”.
  • Verify that the file is less than 10 MB in size

Step 4: Post your Presentation and Pictures 

You will be assigned a Project Number (Project #) in STEM Wizard that will be used in the naming convention for all of your files. This is to ensure that the judges can clearly associate all your materials together. Please take note of your Project Number prior to uploading any materials. The project number may look something like “AP-CHEM-563H” or “XP-EGD-5”.

STEM Wizard will guide you through uploading your presentation and the PDFs of your other materials once you reach that milestone (“Upload Project Presentation & Materials”). Please name the file(s) by your Project Number followed by “presentation” or “picture” or “notebook”. If you have multiple picture files, please add a sequential number to the filenames. Example: AP-CHEM-563H-picture1, AP-CHEM-563H-picture2, etc.

Step 5: Post your Video.

You cannot upload your video into STEM Wizard, so when you are completely done and satisfied with your video, name the file with your Project Number plus the word, “video”. Example: AP-CHEM-563H-video. When you have your video ready, go to the “Ready to Upload Video” milestone in STEM Wizard and choose “Yes”. You will receive an email within a day or two from NHSEE containing the link (URL) to the upload site where you can upload your video to. Go to that link and upload the video file. Please follow the instructions you see on the upload site.

A YouTube link will show up in your STEM Wizard account once NHSEE has reviewed your video and created an unpublished YouTube link. Your video will be viewable by the judges using this unpublished YouTube link and will be deleted after judging is complete. 

Once you have successfully completed all 5 steps above, and NHSEE has entered your YouTube link into your STEM Wizard account, your milestone will be complete.

NOTE: The above instructions and guidance are for NHSEE. The above Guidance on Creating a Project Presentation is consistent with but not identical to that of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The full ISEF guidance can be found at https://www.societyforscience.org/isef/