A student’s guide to the NIWA Waikato Science & Technology Fair


Regional NIWA Waikato Science & Technology Fair



 The NIWA Waikato Regional Science & Technology Fair is held each year in August and is open to all year 7 to 13 students.  Get excited about an idea and decide what you will investigate for your science fair project.  Talk with your science teacher. They will help you to decide which class of entry your project belongs in and fill in the necessary entry forms with you.  Start work on your project straight away! It is important to keep a diary (log book) of everything you do.  Prepare your project for completion by the end of July. It must then by selected by your school as one of the school entries to go on to the Waikato Fair.  Leading up to the fair you may like to practice talking about your project to the judges. GOOD LUCK   Scientific Wall Charts, Observational Drawings and Scientific Photography entries must be entered 2 weeks prior to the fair date


Science investigation and research exhibits are entered in classes 1 –10 and are dependent on the area of science you focus on and your year of entry. Technology projects are entered in an open age category in Class 15, the Technical Innovation and Inventions section. The remaining classes include entries entered in the Scientific Wall Charts, Observation Drawings and Scientific Photography.

Classes 1-10, Science investigation and research

CLASS Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Class 5 Class 6 Class 7 Class 8 Class 9


INTEREST AREA Living World Material World

Year 7 - 8

Physical World *Planet Earth & Beyond Living World

Year 9 - 10

Material World Physical World Planet Earth & Beyond Biological Sciences

Year 11 - 13 Class 10 Class 11 Class 12 Class 13 Class 14 Class 15 Class 16 OPEN Age Group Year 7 -8 Year 9 – 10 Year 11 – 13

Physical Sciences
(includes Earth & Soil sciences & Astronomy)

Scientific Wall Chart

Observational Drawing Inventions & Technical Innovations Scientific Photography

LIVING WORLD includes: Horticulture, Forestry, Plants, Animals, Marine Studies, Conservation, Agriculture, Behaviour, Health. MATERIAL WORLD includes: Chemistry, Metals, Corrosion, Water Pollution, Chemical Product Testing, Fabrics, Chemical Change. PHYSICAL WORLD includes: Electricity, Light, Heat, Material Strength, Insulation, Magnetism, Speed, Friction. PLANET EARTH & BEYOND includes: Geology, Soils, Pollution, Astronomy, Resource Extraction, Weather. *Note: Science exhibits should show data gathered through experimentation and/or observation, analysed results and a conclusion. The exception to this is in Year 7-8 Planet Earth and Beyond,


which allows entries to have a non-experimental research only focus acknowledging the difficulties of original experimentation in this strand.

Classes 11-13, Scientific Wall Chart

Topic: How does it work – topic? Water,       

water everywhere.

Give a scientific description/explanation of the processes involved in the working of this thing/object. Be concise. Include at least 3 diagrams which help your explanation of the scientific processes involved. Draw these yourself. The wall charts need to be flat – no 3D models or extras that can fall off. List references used. Put these in a small box at the bottom right hand corner. Diagrams should be clear and well labelled. Text should be concise, easy to read, and be able to be understood by a non-science person. Judges will look for innovation and originality, clear communication, and good scientific content. Chart size: A2 paper (no larger). Use cartridge or similar weight paper.

Label the back of your chart with your name, year level, home phone number & school name and deliver or post to the Fair Manger, at least 2 weeks before the fair. Note: Maximum of 10 entries per school in each of the year classes. Only the finalists will be on display at the fair.

Class 14, Observational Drawing

Drawing from real life. The drawing should show an insect.
Topic?     Clear, sharp, accurate outlines in pencil on A4 paper (no larger please) Use correct proportions and show a scale. Label your specimen with its scientific name if possible. Remember, your drawing must be from a specimen that you are observing and your teacher must sign the back of the your drawing to authenticate this. No copying from a photograph.

Label the back of your drawing with your name, year level, home phone number & school name and deliver or post to the Fair Manger, at least 2 weeks before the fair. Note: Maximum of 10 entries per school. Only the finalists will be on display at the fair.


Class 15, Inventions & Technical Innovations
Inventions and innovations are applications of science and technology which solve a problem. (This OPEN CLASS replaces all Technology Classes) You are asked to apply your knowledge to make a device that has a practical application. You will need to describe how the invention or innovation uses scientific principles and ideas in solving the original problem that was identified. The steps and stages in development should be recorded so that it is clear how you overcame any problems that were encountered. Originality and creative thought are important aspects of this Class. Exhibitors will use the standard display board to present their invention/technical innovation.

Class 16, Scientific Photography
Theme: Water,

water everywhere.

 Submit 2 photographs mounted on black A2 sized card.  Link the photographs to the theme.  Include a caption beneath each photograph to briefly explain the photo and include information on how you took the photo and with what kind of camera.  Please ensure that photographs have a reasonable resolution and are printed on photographic paper.  Photographs must be taken by the exhibiting student!
Judges will look for: 1. Technical quality (Is the photo in focus? Is lighting in balance? Is depth of field considered/used?) 2. Composition (Are the objects of interest placed well in the photo? Are there distracting elements?) 3. Creativity (Does the photo demonstrate originality?) 4. Relevance to theme (Does the photo ‘fit’ within the photography theme?) 5. Overall impression (Does the photo have a ‘wow’ factor? Is it able to grab viewer’s attention and hold it?)

Label the back of your photography card with your name, year level, home phone number & school name and deliver or post to the Fair Manger, at least 2 weeks before the fair.

Note: Maximum of 10 entries per school.


One of the easiest ways of thinking up ideas is to find a general topic that you enjoy or have an interest in and start brain storming for ideas. Come up with lots of ideas first. This can be done by jotting down everything you can think of that relates to your broad topic, any questions you would like answered and highlighting anything that interests you about it. If you are still stuck on ideas there are many resources available that can assist you in finding a science fair idea. Use your teachers, library books, relevant news or the internet but remember – your science fair work must be your own!

KEEP A LOG BOOK - this is very important!
This is like a diary where you can record everything you do from the day you choose your project to the day you present your exhibit for marking. Include all of your ideas and attempts (even failed ones), methods, raw data, calculations, problems you encountered, help you received, tentative conclusions, etc. A simple school exercise book does the job fine. Remember to date every entry as well.

Before choosing an idea from your brainstorm, you need to be aware of three different categories that your idea should fall into: 1. Experimental Research: a project that involves a controlled experiment E.g. the battery of which brand lasts the longest 2. Technology Development: this is where your idea involves creating or designing something to help people or make life easier: E.g. inventing a new, more user-friendly mailbox 3. Research to increase knowledge for environmental or social systems : this is where your idea is tested by gathering and analysing data instead of using controlled experiments, such as doing a survey. When looking at your ideas ask yourself: 1. Does my idea fall into one of the three categories? 2. Can I design a method that is feasible? 3. Can I finish the project within a few months, in order to meet the deadline? 4. If I have to buy equipment to do the project, will it be cheap? 5. Is the project appropriate for my year level? 6. Do I really enjoy finding out the answer or the solution? When you can answer ‘yes’ to all six questions and are satisfied with the idea, then use that as the topic of your project . The topic of my project is:










This is a very important step as your entry can only be judged on the information you communicate – so communication is very important. To give you an idea of how to start, have a look at the board below and see how different sections are typically arranged:
Maximum width is 1.2m

Title Research Pictures Aim

Results/ Testing

Maximum height is 1.5m

Conclusion Method/ Concepts

Graphs/Diagrams Bibliography/

You are limited to a table space of 1.2m wide X 0.75m deep X 1.5m high.

MAKE SURE:          Your display is free standing and robust Your display is eye catching Your display is free standing and robust There are no spelling mistakes or errors Nobody will be offended by any of the content. Any graphics are relevant The information is clear and easy to read. All extra material/models/support information must fit inside your display area.
Oversized entries will not be accepted unless you have written permission from the science fair organisers.

Please check safety rules for any that may apply to your exhibit. (refer to pg 15) Display boards are available from Kiwians Club brian-barb@actrix.co.nz or Phone 07 829 7166 or 07 854 3634




It’s a good idea to look at your project carefully along side the judging criteria and look to improve any areas you feel you might not have covered strongly. Judges will generally use the following criteria in assessing your project: Scientific Thought & Understanding  clear scientific thought, the application of appropriate scientific methods, an appreciation of the need for accuracy in observation, measurement, data collection and reporting  an understanding of the underlying or related scientific principles embraced within the project Technical & Graphic Skill  assembled with skill and dexterity, equipment, models and the frame of the project have been well constructed  graphic materials have been carefully prepared and presented  living plants and animals have been well cared for  working parts are reliable  the whole is well planned and neatly finished Originality  uniqueness of approach  resourcefulness in obtaining and interpreting data  ingenious use of illustrative objects, inventive apparatus  insight conclusions  inspired applications of the principles, process or product Thoroughness & Effort This is 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  the construction of the project and its illustrative items  written material and other displays Presentation  well designed and developed to be attractive, visually interesting, informative on all aspects of the investigation  well illustrated with photographs, models, specimens or samples  has wide public appeal

NOTE: In Year 7-8 Planet Earth and Beyond Projects the criteria are widened to include nonexperimental investigations. I.e. A question is still posed, but information may be gathered from sources other than experimentation.


Class Prizes For Classes 1 -10, 15 & 16 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd $60.00 $40.00 $20.00 $50.00 $30.00 $10.00

For Classes 11-14

NOTE: Second and third placing, merit certificates and special prizes are awarded at the discretion of the judges.

Special Prizes (Award focus and sponsors from previous year as indication ONLY) Award focus Sponsor 1. Water/Atmosphere 2. Biological Investigation 3. Chemistry 4. Engineering/Construction 5. Earth Sciences 6. Mining 7. Natural Resource Management 8. Conservation 9. Statistics 10. Biotechnology 11. Agricultural Science 12. Senior Material World 13. Life Sciences 14. Inventions 15. Technological Innovation 16. Food Safety 17. Native Plants 18. Food Science 19. Soil Science 20. Special Award 21. Flour Products Use NIWA Waikato University – Biological Sciences Dept NZ Institute of Chemistry NZ Institution Professional Engineers Waikato University – Earth Science & Oceans Dept Australasian Mining & Metallurgy Environment Waikato Department of Conservation NZ Statistical Association Biozone NZ Institute of Agricultural Sciences Waikato Uni – Materials & Process Engineering Ag Research WaiCAM Waikato University – Physics & Engineering Ecolab Waikato Botanical Society NZ Institute Food Science & Technology NZ Soil Society Ulrich Aluminium NZ Bread & Flour Users


Best in Fair Best in Fair Runner Up NIWA work experience scholarship for best senior student (Age 16+) Best Living World Exhibit Best Material World Exhibit Best Physical World Exhibit Best Planet Earth & Beyond Exhibit Best Inventions and Technical Innovations Exhibit Best Senior Biological Services Best Environment Exhibit $500 + medallion $300 + medallion Paid holiday work $200 + trophy $200 + trophy $200 + trophy $200 + trophy $200 + trophy $200 + trophy $200 + trophy

If you are a prize winner your school will be notified for you to attend the prize giving ceremony. This takes place on Friday Pricewaterhouse coopers Lecture Theatre (different room to last year) at the University of Waikato at 7pm.

Each year top entries from the Waikato Science and Technology Fair are nominated for the ‘Realise the Dream’ competition in Wellington. This is a five-day national science and technology event paid for and organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand. It is run each year in December and the programme includes a wide range of activities like hands on workshops, media training and lectures on communication and science related topics. The finale is marked by a formal celebration dinner, where many big prizes like study grants up to $7000 and travel awards are handed out.



Animal ethics approval
If your investigation involves animals, including humans you many need animal/human ethics approval prior to beginning your project. Refer to the flowchart below to determine whether or not you require ethics approval. Online application forms, information and ethics approval be obtained from www.nzase.org.nz.

Human ethics approval
If your project involves adults and children as subjects (e.g., taste testing) then you need to get the informed consent of all participants. There are no human ethics committees but information and guidelines are available from the above website. Select Royal Society of New Zealand, then students (secondary) then Science and Technology Fairs and scroll down to Human Ethics.



The following safety rules for construction of projects are necessary to prevent electrical fires and prevent injury to exhibitors and visitors: 1. Construction must be durable and stable when on display 2. Electrical Rules:
   Apparatus must be constructed following standard electrical safety laws. Check with an electrician or other qualified person. An AC 230 volt supply is available if required, but only NZ standards approved switches can be used and these must be suitable mounted. All wiring, switches and metal parts that carry current from a supply of 230 volts (or higher) must be completely enclosed by barriers that positively prevent observers from reaching into the exhibit and receiving an electrical shock. The barrier material can be clear to allow working parties to be seen. Properly solder and tape electrical joints. Wire used must be properly insulated for the voltage in use. A clearly visible sign must warn of voltages higher than 230 volts. Heating elements and light bulbs must be well ventilated and insulated to prevent hazard from fires.

   

4. Dangerous chemicals and explosives must not be exhibited. 5. No gas supply is available. You may only use a portable gas supply with permission from the organising committee.

6. Animals must be fed daily and their containers kept clean. A certificate of approval from the NZASE Animal Ethics Committee is needed for projects that involve manipulation of animals (See pg14). 7. Human participants in projects must be fully informed – see your teacher for information and before carrying out your investigation, get approval. (See pg14) ALL PROJECTS WILL BE INSPECTED BY THE SCIENCE FAIR COMMITTEE AND THOSE THAT DO NOT COMPLY WITH THE FOLLOWING RULES WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

Responsibilities: The Science Fair Committee will take due care of equipment and exhibits on display, but does not take responsibility for loss or damage.



http://www.projects.org.nz/ This student-run website was designed by the 2008 Waikato Science & Technology Fair winner – Jake Martin – to help you through the process of doing a science and technology project. It has information to help you through every stage of doing your project. http://www.realisethedream.org.nz/ Visit this website if you want to find out more about the national Realise the Dream Science camp. You can also read about past participants’ projects there and perhaps use them as an inspiration for yours! There are many websites you can surf through to help inspire you you’re your own science fair idea. Remember though – the best idea is your own!
www.all-science-fair-projects.com www.super-science-fair-projects.com www.ipl.org/div/projectguide/

www.nzase.org.nz/safety.html This website has all the safety guidelines you need to know when doing experiments in laboratories. And of course, when you’re stuck or unsure, you can always ask your teachers or parents for help!


Remember to thank all the people or organisations who have helped you with your project. Acknowledgements are important as the judges need to know how much help you’ve received, in order to avoid any suggestions of plagiarism.

For further information about the NIWA Waikato Science & Technology Fair please contact the Fair Manager – waiscifair@vodafone.co.nz