Science Expo 2017

2016-2017 Hanawalt Science Expo


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Category Descriptions and Recommendations

  1. Environmental/Agricultural Innovation

1.1. Category Description

The Environmental/Agricultural Innovation category is intended to provide a means of sharing environmentally and/or agriculturally innovative ideas.

These ideas may be new products, procedures, inventions, promotional projects, community events, etc.

1.2. Pertinent Information and Definitions

1.2.1. Definition of Innovation

In terms of this category, an innovation is something that addresses an observed (real-world) or theoretical agricultural or environmental problem in some new manner.

  • It may include ways to minimize environmental impact and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • It can include such issues as ecological restoration, green building, product stewardship, pollution prevention, eco-efficiency, agricultural management, enhancement, etc.
  • The innovation should provide benefits over current methods.
  • This may be a physical construction, a procedure, a community event, or something else.

1.2.2. An entry should include a plan of implementation

A plan for implementing the innovation usually includes the following types of information:

  • A time line
  • Partnerships or required resources
  • Budgetary considerations
  • Comparison of existing methodologies
  • A description of the innovation, including steps necessary to implement or create



  1. Invention

2.1. Category Description:

An invention is a new device, contrivance, process, or an improvement on an existing machine or product that solves a real or perceived problem or need.

This category provides a means of presenting an invention to the public.

2.2. Pertinent Information and Definitions

2.2.1. Project Display

A successful entry display in this category should contain the following:

  • A description of the use of the invention, and the benefits associated
  • A ‘mock-up’, prototype, or construction of all or part of the invention
  • A marketing or promotional concept for the invention

2.2.2. Descriptive Paper

A descriptive paper may be provided to show additional information:

  • Overall invention clearly described including what it is, how it would be used, benefits, and intended audience
  • Description of the design process that occurred in the creation of the invention, including any problems encountered and the solutions
  • Drawings or descriptive text that describes the construction process and any materials required
  • Any further steps taken beyond initial concept, including competitor research, publicity, etc

2.2.3. Marketing Materials

Promotional materials may be provided to show how this invention would be presented for use.

  • This could include signs, video and/or audio clips or concepts, advertising copy, etc.



  1. Reverse Engineering

3.1. Category Description:

Reverse Engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation.

It often involves taking something (e.g., a mechanical device or electronic component) apart and analyzing its workings in detail to be used in maintenance.

3.2. Pertinent Information and Definitions

3.2.1. Project Scope

A Reverse Engineering project should be of enough complexity to allow the student to gain an understanding of how something works in detail, without being overwhelming.

Select and acquire at least one product (typically, mechanical in nature), disassemble the unit, then mount and label all components.

  • A successful entry may have sub-components that are further disassembled.
  • The tools used can be simple or complex, but the methods and sequence for disassembly should be documented.

3.2.2. Project Display and Description

A successful entry will have the components of the product mounted and labeled to show the following:

  • The overall unit and operation of the unit is described
  • Each component is described adequately, material is identified, and its function explained
  • Components are arranged so that they are located to the assembled unit correctly

A paper describing the operation and functionality of all of the components should be created and may include:

  • Illustrations or images of components and how they fit together
  • A description of the steps for deconstruction
  • Any notes or logs that are taken during the disassembly
  • A description of how the original object actually functions


  1. Robotics and Computer Science

4.1. Category Description:

A robot is a mechanical agent that can perform tasks automatically. Similarly computer science is the design of software that can perform tasks.

Computer software and robots can both be operated automatically (autonomous), semi-autonomous, or remotely controlled. Both computers and robots are designed to be used for one or more specific purposes.

4.2. Pertinent Information and Definitions

4.2.1. Physical Design

Good physical design may refer to mechanical functionality).

  • Sensors and/or operator input is appropriate and understandable for the planned purpose(s)
  • Physical or interface construction is appropriate and elegant.

4.2.2. Operational Functionality

Several operability concepts are used to help define the capability of an entry:

  • Operational methods of the software or robot are complete and appropriate for the purpose
  • Design allows for variables in the operating environment and error handling.
  • Operation is repeatable and consistent with the planned function

4.2.3. Display, Documentation, and Software

The project display should show the following and may include a paper with more information.

  • A working robot or sub-assembly or, if software, the working software should be presented.
  • The function or purpose of the robot or software should be described.
  • The description and clarification of any sub-components should be explained.
  • A description of the methodology used to operate of the robot or software may be included.

4.2.4. Additional items that may be explained as part of the entry include:

  • Considerations for alternative operation based on variations in operating parameters
  • Documented code or design information  5.1. Category Description: Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas”5.2.1. Presentation • Description of the entry (an outline, a storyboard, etc. as appropriate) • A copy of the actual story/entry (see first item below in Section 5.2.2) 5.2.2. Media and Format • An electronic version of the primary entry (not the display) should be submitted no later than three days prior to the STEM Expo event. If an entry is over 10 pages (10 minutes if in Audio or Video format) then this deadline is 7 days prior. • Illustrations for written stories, and storylines for non-written entries are appreciated, and collaborative efforts to provide those (and other) combinations are welcomed. This phrase describes a reader’s ability to accept what they know to be untrue (or not yet proven) to be real for the duration of the story. 6.1. Category Description: This is the basic experimentation category where a question is asked, a hypothesis is created, an investigation is performed, and a conclusion is reached.6.2.1. Scientific Method  • Research the topic • Design the investigation • Collect data
  • General Information
  • 6.3 This is the traditional Science Fair project with a tri-fold board.
  • • Make sense of the data and draw a conclusion
  • • Conduct the investigation
  • • Make a hypothesis about the outcome based on that research and/or the entrant’s own knowledge
  • • Ask a testable question
  • The Scientific Method is a fundamental part of this category. It is, in essence, a sequence of operation for any Scientific Inquiry. The steps are:
  • 6.2. Pertinent Information and Definitions
  • The Scientific Inquiry category requires students to use higher order thinking skills as they learn science using a hands-on, minds-on approach.
  • 6. Scientific Inquiry
  • 5.2.3. Definition of “willful suspension of disbelief
  • • There is no minimum or maximum length for any entry, but the quality of the entry should be “grade level appropriate”.
  • This category includes presentations in the form of stories, graphic novels, comic books, plays, videos, etc.
  • • Any illustrations or images that represent the story
  • • References to supporting or similar works
  • As in all categories, the general requirements must be followed for this category as well, including some form of display for the day of the event. This display may include:
  • 5.2. Pertinent Information and Definitions
  • Science Fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary, but more-or-less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic technology, space travel, aliens, etc.
  • 5. Science Fiction
  • • Efficiency of design (software code and/or mechanical design)

Event registration

  • All entries must be pre-registered using the online form at
  • Registration is open from March 8th to March31st.
  • Due to the expanded number of entries, no late or onsite registration will be allowed.


Check-In, Setup, and Teardown

  • All entries must be checked in and receive their title/space locator indicator. Space numbers are distributed during check-in and are on a first come-first serve basis.
  • Check-in occurs Tuesday evening ,May 23rd, between 5:30 and 6:30. Displays open promptly at 6:30.
  • Entries will be located by category.
  • All entries and displays must be picked up at the end of the event on the day of the event. All displays must be taken down and area cleaned by 8:30. Displays must stay up between 6:30- 8:00.




  • Display is attractive, easy to read, and the layout is in appropriate logical order.
  • If illustrations, photos, charts or graphs are used, they are appropriate and add to the understanding of the entry.
  • If any visual images are used, appropriate credit must be given and any required copyright clearances must be provided.
  • Any visual aids promote the understanding of the entry.
  • Organizations is clear and complete
  • Spelling and grammar correct


Space Limitations

  • The space for the presentation display is limited to a maximum of 46” wide and 15” deep (there is no minimum size specified). Smaller entries are appreciated
  • There is no height limit, however the display must be safely self-supporting.
  • The display will be placed on a table with other entries, and may hang off of the edge of the table towards the floor. However, it should not extend more than 1” in front of the table, and it should not touch the floor or provide a tripping hazard.
  • If needed, the space underneath the table may be utilized to temporarily store additional supplies, replacement items, etc. However, this must be stored neatly and excessive clutter will not be allowed.



Parent Involvement


  • Science Expo encourages students to work with their parents. However, the work done on any entry MUST be done only by the student(s).

Descriptive Document

  • Each entry may have a descriptive document that is separate from, but shown as part of, the display
  • This document’s purpose is to provide the viewers with additional insight into the processes, conclusions, details, etc. of the entry.
  • There is no limit to the length of the document, however providing extensive extraneous information is not recommended.
  • This document should be grammatically correct, organized and free from spelling errors.
  • If illustrations, photos, charts or graphs are used, they should be appropriate and add to the understanding of the entry.
  • If any visual images are used, appropriate credit must be given and any required copyright clearances must be provided.
  • Any visual aids should promote the understanding of the entry.



  • No hazardous substances or devices (e.g. poisons, drugs, firearms, weapons, ammunition, and reloading devices) are allowed.
  • No flames, explosives, highly flammable materials, or dangerous chemicals are allowed.
  • No work with live animals, or human/animal parts or body fluids (for example blood, urine, etc.) is allowed.
  • Any inadequately insulated apparatus producing extreme temperatures that may cause physical burns is not allowed.
  • Any apparatus with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains, or moving parts with tension or pinch points must be inactive and for display only.
  • Project sounds, lights, odors, or any other display items must not be distracting


Electrical Power

  • If electrical power for the exhibit is required, it can be provided if requested in advance, however, it must be used as part of the entry (power will not be provided just for lighting). The amperage available for each entry is very limited.
  • If electrical power is needed, the entrant must provide a suitable extension cord that meets local code requirements.


Register for Science Expo