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Before you start

Before doing anything, get familiar with the important stuff.

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Before You Start

The Google Science Fair is a global online competition for students ages 13 to 18. We’re thrilled you’ve decided to take part, so here’s what happens next.

First things first, do you have a Google account? If not, you’ll need to sign up for a free one. Once you have your account, you can register for the competition.

I don’t have a Google account yet

I have an account, I’m ready to register

I have an account, I’m ready to register

After registering, please read through all the competition information below. We’ve got a ton of resources to help you get your idea off the ground and give you the best chance of winning. Take a look before you start. You never know, it could make all the difference.

Top Tips

What are the most important things to know? Here are our top ten tips.

1. Follow the rules.

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Review them carefully before you start your project. That way you won’t overlook anything and risk having to make big changes, or even get disqualified.

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2. Don’t procrastinate.

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Plan your project timeline carefully and give yourself a buffer. That way, if any issues arise (technological or otherwise), you won’t have to panic about running out of time.

Make sure you review the important dates and deadline in your timezone and submit your project well before then. Remember, the competition closes on 18 May 2015.

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3. Stay safe.

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Sorry, but certain experiments simply aren’t allowed and if you don’t follow our guidelines you’ll be disqualified. Avoid danger - make sure you read the experiment guidelines.

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4. Get parental consent.

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Submit permission forms from parents or guardians for all your team members before the deadline, or we won’t be able to judge your project. Learn more here.

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5. Go public.

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If you’re submitting YouTube videos and Google Slides presentations and want the judges to see their brilliance, make sure to set their share options to “Public.”

Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube, go to “My Videos.” Select yours, click on the Actions drop down menu, and then choose “Public.”

Open your presentation in Google Slides, click on “Share” (on the top right), click “Get shareable link,” and confirm that it is set to “Anyone with the link can view.

For more information on using Google Slides or YouTube, read more in the FAQ.

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6. Think like a judge.

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Read the criteria to find out how our judges will evaluate your project.

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7. Use Google tools.

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Our tools (including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive and Hangouts) are designed to help you collaborate. Use them to share ideas within your classroom and across the world.

Some ideas aren’t best conveyed by text alone. You can enhance your project site with graphs, charts, images and videos. Just make sure everything is publicly viewable.

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8. Use only your own work.

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Plagiarism means passing off other people’s words, ideas or work as your own. There’s no other way to say this: it’s a very bad thing to do and will get you disqualified instantly. If you need help with any aspect of your project (say, from a teacher, parent or mentor), that’s fine; just include that person’s name -- and mention how they helped you -- in the Acknowledgements section. In other words, say thank you. You’ll be following the rules and showing off your impeccable manners, too.

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9. No logos or music, please--and only your own images and videos.

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Sorry, logos and music aren’t allowed. Images and video are fine, as long as you created them yourself.

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10. P.S.: Have fun!

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Sure, you should work hard. But think of this as a great opportunity to explore one of your passions. Enjoy this time to think independently, publish your work online, and share big ideas with the global science community (a pretty cool opportunity, if you ask us.)

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Idea springboard

Need an idea for your project?

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Experimenting

Official guidelines and tips for running your experiment.

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We want you to have fun experimenting and discovering new things, but we want you to stay safe doing it. So before doing anything, read through and make sure you stick to the official rules. If your project doesn't follow the rules, it will be disqualified.

If you’re not familiar with the Scientific Method or the Engineering Design Method (or you need a quick refresh) the Student Pack is a good place to start. It’ll help you shape your scientific question and, when you’re ready, get things heading in the right direction.

Starting a science project can sometimes feel a bit daunting at first. The trick is to think big but start small. Our Experiment Resources page has more about that, plus guidance for before and during your experiment.

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Building your project site

How to make your project site stand out and how to submit it.

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In order to submit your project and results, you will need to build a project site. It’s easy and all done within your Dashboard here on GoogleScienceFair.com.

Below are some things to think about as you build your project site, plus a few tips to make it stand out and give you a chance of scooping a prize.

Building your project site

Section 1: Summary

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What you could include:

  • Why you chose to investigate this particular aspect of science, computing, or engineering.
  • The question or problem that you investigated, and your hypothesis or predicted outcome.
  • An overview of your research.
  • The method or technique that you used in your experiment or testing.
  • What you discovered.
  • Your conclusion; did the results of your experiment or testing support your hypothesis or predicted outcome?
  • How your findings will be helpful in the area you’ve explored.
  • What you might do next.
  • You can choose to include a Google Slides presentation (up to 20 slides) or two-minute YouTube video.

What will make you stand out:

Be sure to include a clear and concise overview of your question or problem, the stages of your project, what you set out to achieve and whether you succeeded.

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Section 2: About me / the team

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What you could include:

  • Where you live, where you go to school, and what you most love doing most.
  • What originally got you interested in science and engineering, and how it’s influenced your life.
  • The names of scientists or engineers that you admire and have been inspired by.
  • What your future college or career plans are.
  • What winning would mean to you, and how the prizes would change your life.

What will make you stand out:

Present your ideas with passion and confidence. Don’t hold back. What would winning really mean to you? Share with us your love for science and engineering.

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Section 3: Question / Proposal

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What you could include:

  • The primary question you’re investigating or problem you’re trying to solve (make sure this is specific, measurable, scientifically worded and safe to investigate).
  • Your hypothesis, or outcome that you expect; what do you think will happen during your experiment or testing process, and how will your results show this?

What will make you stand out:

Your question or proposal should be interesting (especially to you), creative, scientifically worded, and relevant to today’s world. You should include a hypothesis or expected outcome that’s tightly focused, follows naturally from the question, and builds on existing knowledge.

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Section 4: Research

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You could include:

  • A summary of the work others have already done in your chosen area.
  • An explanation of how your research into this existing work has shaped your project.

What will make you stand out:

Remember that good research validates a project. But great research goes a step further by demonstrating how the real world benefits from it.

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Section 5: Method / Testing and redesign

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What you could include:

  • A step-by-step description of your experiment or testing process.
  • Your variable and independent variables (if relevant).
  • A write-up on how you ensured that your experiment or testing process was fair.
  • Info about where the experiment took place, and the equipment you used.
  • A list of any safety measures that you took.

What will make you stand out:

Show you’ve used good experimental techniques or testing processes. Also, describe your method clearly and in detail.

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Section 6: Results

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You could include:

  • A description of your most important results, like data or observations - plus any patterns or trends you noticed.
  • Your key data clearly laid out in a table, graph or chart.

What will make you stand out:

Accurately record and present relevant data, results or observations - and describe the patterns of trends they support.

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Section 7: Conclusion / Report

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You could include:

  • A summary of your results.
  • An explanation of whether your findings support your hypothesis or expected outcome - and why.
  • Thoughts on any limitations in your results. Are they 100% reliable, or could you improve your method somehow?
  • The kind of future impact your results might have, and if further work is needed. Have your results inspired you to ask more questions?

What will make you stand out:

Your conclusion or report should explain how your experiment answers your original question or problem, and whether it supports your hypothesis.

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Section 8: Bibliography, references & acknowledgements

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You could include:

  • A list of all the books, journal articles and websites you’ve used in your research. Include the author, title and date it was written (or the website’s name and address).
  • An acknowledgement of anyone that’s helped with your project (like a parent, teacher, professor or mentor), detailing what they did, and what you did on your own.
  • Details of any facilities you were given access to (maybe a school or university lab) and any special equipment you used.

What will make you stand out:

It’s important to acknowledge the sources you’ve consulted, and to reveal any assistance you’ve received - whether it was tracking down equipment and materials, making sure your project was safe for everyone involved, or getting help with unfamiliar equipment. Whatever it was, cite your references in clear detail.

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Before you hit submit...

Make sure you’ve carefully reviewed the Official Submission Checklist. You can always make changes to your project until the submission deadline.

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Judging

The criteria judges use to evaluate your project.

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One of the questions you’re probably thinking is, what will the judges be looking for in my project?

During the first judging stage, judges will focus on what you’ve submitted as part of your project site. This is your chance to show off your very best work. Take the time to review your project with these tips and the criteria listed below.

The highest-scoring projects from the first judging round will be reviewed closely before we announce the 90 regional finalist projects. From that group, judges will then select finalists from the top 20 projects across the globe to join us in Mountain View, California to compete for the Grand Prize.

Below you can find the criteria judges will be using as they evaluate your project.

General judging criteria

1. Inspirational entry or idea

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Does your entry inspire and stand out?

We’re looking for entries that make the judges sit up and say ‘wow.’ Did you think big? It doesn’t need to be a totally new area of science or engineering. In fact most breakthroughs simply continue where others left off - and we’re all for that. So, if you’re passionate enough and can prove you’ve explored things in your own way, you might just have a winning project!

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2. Capacity to make an impact

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Is it impactful? Could the science improve the world around us?

Judges will be looking closely to see if your work has value to the real world now or might in the future. So, in your project site, take the time to show how and where your findings could be applied or scaled to real-world scenarios.

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3. Passion for science or engineering

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Are you passionate about your work? Could you be a role model for other young scientists or engineers?

Do you love science or engineering, or both? We’re guessing if you’re reading this then the answer is yes! The judges are looking for young scientists and engineers who are really passionate about what they do and how their interest can shape the future. Here is your moment to be heard - so take a deep breath and let it all out. The “About me” section is the perfect place for this.

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4. Excellence of method

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Have you demonstrated real skill in the planning and doing of your experiment?

Whether it’s a science or engineering project you’ve worked on, we’ll be checking that your Method / Testing and redesign works with your original Question/Proposal - and you’ve discussed the reasons for this. Remember, even if your original idea failed, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good project. Learning from mistakes is all part of succeeding. Just be sure to talk about this, and suggest how it could be improved.

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5. Communication skills

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Is your project presented clearly and with enthusiasm and confidence?

People all over the world are interested in Google Science Fair finalists and winners. You’ll need to be able to explain your project clearly and concisely to people who might not have a science background, but you’ll also have to be able to go into the details for the real experts and judges. Your summary is very important for this. See how well you can communicate your project in just a few words. Google Docs are also available to help you create presentations, graphs and other materials that might be difficult to express in text alone.

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Judging for special prizes

Community Impact Award

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The Community Impact Award, sponsored by Scientific American, honors a project that can make a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge. Submissions should be innovative, easy to put into action, and able to be expanded to other communities. All participants will be considered for this award as part of the main judging process.

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Google Technologist Award

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The Google Technologist Award celebrates a project which has the potential to make a difference, through outstanding and innovative work in the computer science and math fields.

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The Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award

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The Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award honors a project in the area of physics.

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The National Geographic Explorer Award

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The National Geographic Explorer Award honors a project in the natural sciences.

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The LEGO Builder Award

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The LEGO Education Builder Award honors those students who use an innovative, hands-on approach to solve some of the greatest engineering challenges.

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The Scientific American Innovator Award

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The Scientific American Innovator Award honors a project in pure science.

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The Inspiring Educator Award

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The Inspiring Educator Award honors the contributions of one outstanding educator who goes above and beyond to encourage their students to achieve great things.

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The Incubator Award

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The The Incubator Award celebrates a student between the ages of 13 and 15 whose project shows extraordinary promise in a field of science or engineering.

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What happens after the submission deadline passes?

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After the competition closes, make sure to stay in touch! We’ll be having lots of great Hangouts and other events up until the announcements.

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Additional Resources

Want more inspiration and resources?

Learn more

Experiment Resources

More info to help you with your experiment.

Learn more

FAQs

Your questions - asked and answered.

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