Advancing to State - What To Expect

Advancing to State: What to Expect

See also: Registration

See also: Choosing the Correct Category for your Project when Registering

STUDENTS: WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Expect to meet lots of bright students from across the state who have also conducted scientific and engineering research projects.
  • Expect to meet other students and learn about their projects, interests, and aspirations.
  • Expect to talk with professionals in science and engineering fields that you might be interested in learning more about.
  • Expect to participate in a lot of activities! See the Tentative Schedule for an idea of what will be happening.

INFORMATION FOR PARENTS

Parents – we want you to volunteer! We have many areas that require extra hands for the competitions to run smoothly. Although we don’t allow parents to volunteer in areas with potential conflicts of interest, we need your help in other areas that don’t have an impact on judging outcomes. Please visit the General Volunteers section of our website or contact@mnmas.org for more information about volunteering.

Because we know parents can’t always be there for the full weekend, we broke down the registration fee into individual portions so you can attend just the parts that you are able and want to attend. For details on the “a la carte” fees, please view the Registration Fees page or watch the Video Registration Guide.

WHAT TO BRING

  • All of your completed Scientific Review Committee (SRC) forms 
  • A USB drive with your paper presentation.
  • Your project board.
  • Dress clothes (see below)
  • Casual clothes and comfy shoes for activities
  • Swim suit for the pool
  • Toothbrush and pajamas!
  • Camera to take pictures or a smartphone to post them on the Twitter feed
  • Extra money for meals that aren’t covered as part of registration. Meals covered as part of registration: Saturday breakfast, Saturday supper, Sunday breakfast.

DRESS CODE

Students should dress professionally for judging day and for both awards ceremonies. For guys, this means a suit and tie or dress pants, a shirt and tie. For gals, it means dress pants and a blazer, a skirt and a professional top, or a professional dress.

Hint: See what students wore last year by looking at the photos on Facebook

General FAQs

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I CHECK IN?

After you check-in, you will set up your project board (unless there is a note directing you to go to SRC). See the Tentative Schedule for a layout of what is happening when.

WHEN IS FOOD PROVIDED?

Some meals are provided as part of your registration fee. Check back closer to the competitions for dates and meals provided. 

WHEN DO I NEED TO GO OUT ON MY OWN FOR FOOD?

Check back closer to the competition for dates and meals not provided. 

WHAT IS GOING ON WHEN I’M NOT PRESENTING MY PROJECT OR PAPER?

See the Tentative Schedule for a full listing of activities and times.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO FOR THE PUBLIC VIEWING PERIOD?

Students need to stay at their boards in professional dress for the entirety of the Public Viewing Period. This is a time when community supporters and family members are able to see the students’ research.

Display and Safety FAQs

WHAT FORMS DO I HAVE TO DISPLAY AT MY PROJECT?

Please see the Display and Safety Checklist on the website for the full list of forms.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE DISPLAY AND SAFETY CHECKS?

Display and Safety Inspectors will look over the students’ boards to make sure it meets guidelines. They will also measure students’ boards to check that it is within code for size. See the Display and Safety Checklist for all the details.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY PROJECT PASSES SAFETY CHECKS?

The Display and Safety Inspectors will approve your board. Once your board is approved, you are able to go outside the exhibit area and pick up your medal and t-shirt. 

The Display and Safety Inspectors will do one last check after students have left the room. If there are any outstanding violations, students will need to go back to the exhibit hall and fix the violations. Students whose boards have a problem will be announced at the end of the Welcome Ceremony and will have time to fix their violation.

WHAT DO I DO AFTER DISPLAY AND SAFETY CHECKS?

After Display and Safety, there will be a Welcome Ceremony. At the end of the Welcome Ceremony, if your project has no outstanding violations, you are free for the rest of the evening.

Judging FAQs

HOW DOES THE JUDGING PROCESS WORK?

PAPERS – Students and judges are assigned to rooms based on the category of their presentation. Students give a 12-minute powerpoint presentation which is followed by 6 minutes of questions from the judges. Judges fill out comment and scoresheets for each student (or team, if students do a team project).

PROJECTS – Students set up their project display boards in the exhibit hall the day before project judging. On judging day, judges will come by to talk with students for 15 minutes about their project. Think of it as more of a conversation – not a presentation. Students will be talking one-on-one with experts in the fields they have done research projects in. Judges fill out comment and scoresheets for each project and the comment sheets are given to the students on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

WHO ARE THE JUDGES?

All of the judges are volunteers from the local scientific community. Many of the judges work at local science and engineering companies (e.g. Seagate, 3M, Medtronic, etc…) or do research at local colleges and universities. Some of them are PhD candidates and others are retired, so students will see a wide range of judges.

  • 6+ years of experience in their field of research or M.D., D.O., D.V.M., Pharm.D., Ph.D., or Ed.D. This includes graduate students in the final year of their PhD program. 
  • Bachelors, Masters or 2+ years of experience in their field to judge middle school projects or papers.

WHAT SORTS OF QUESTIONS DO THE JUDGES ASK?

Each judge will approach a project with a certain background and knowledge about the topic that the student studied, so questions will be based on what the judge is interested in about your project. The questions listed below are examples of what students might be asked.

  • Where did you get the idea for your research?
  • Do your results indicate further study is needed?
  • How is your project different from past studies?
  • What are possible sources of error or bias in your study?
  • What are the limitations of your project?
  • How did you control the variables?
  • What instruments did you use to take your measurements?
  • What did you base your conclusions on?
  • How much time did you spend on your study?
  • Who helped with your project?
  • What would you do differently if you did your project again?