The video above is to help students and teachers alike in getting started on project proposals for the 2018 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Dr. Tony Scott has been judging BTYSTE projects since the very first exhibition in 1964, and is here to give you some insight into what the judges are looking for in this year’s competition.
1. Teacher support
Teachers – you are the enthusiastic facilitators. Encourage your students by supporting them in coming up with their ideas. Brainstorm as a group, set up regular meetings and set aside time to guide and advise the students as best you can.
Our exhibition is not only about highly complex and daunting experiments involving white coats and test tubes. Although that is one approach to the BTYSTE, it is not the only approach to projects.
So, our next tip is to be original and trust your imagination.
Students – focus on your idea. What makes you think “how did that happen?” “What caused that reaction?”
Teachers – encourage your students to look at their own hobbies, their interests and their passions when coming up with their idea.
And this brings us to our third point,
3. Be Realistic!
Students, be realistic and use the resources available to you. For example, don’t enter a marine biology project if you have no access to water.
Ask for help with obtaining your resources – bring your parents and peers in to help you with this.
4. Team-work and Support
Our fourth tip for a successful entry – know your support network and what information is out there to help you:
Don’t do it alone! Whether you decide to enter an individual or group project ask for help from those around you.
Ask other teachers for their input and any past participants. Remember to use the website for support- it’s all there.
And leading on to our next tip – research is key.
5. Do your research and know your scientific method
For all projects, it is important to define how you are going to answer your burning question. By doing research on your topic you can see what scientific methods have worked and what haven’t.
I can’t stress enough how favourably judges look upon projects that show well-documented research. And that is why tip number 6 is crucial:
6. Keep your Project Journal up-to-date
Jot everything down and make it easy to understand. The Project Journal will help you stay on top of your project and will make life easier for you, your teacher and us judges. The journey is as important as the destination!
So, you have your project idea, you’ve done your research and now you need to choose a category. Our next point is very important:
7. Know your Category
Think carefully about the category you want to enter in. For example, a lot of people enter in the behavioural science category, but your project might have a technology element and be more suited to the technology category, so check our website to guide you to the right category.
As judges, we want you to really think about your idea and see what is the value that you are adding by your work!
Our number 8 tip therefore is:
8. Know your question and/or objective
Know what you are trying to achieve from your project and plan it out carefully in advance. Things can get very confusing down the line otherwise.
Another important tip, and this is something we also feel strongly about, is:
9. Don’t repeat past projects
Your project idea needs to be unique or at least have a unique angle.
Take inspiration from past projects but don’t reuse other ideas as your own. Remember, as judges we will know.
Remember also that this is your time to show-off your hard-work and ideas. We want to see evidence of your own oringial thought and ideas, not someone else’s.
And finally, Top Tip Number 10 and which is important to help your project, and that is…
10. It Starts Here!
Don’t procrastinate! Research shows that the most successful projects are usually the ones that students started working on early….so get started today and most importantly, enjoy it.
Remember It Starts Here….so many of our past entrants have gone on to huge success and you could too. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibiton is a fantastic platform for you and your school to showcase what a great job they are doing. And who knows, you might be coming home this year with one of the 120 prizes that will be awarded at the end of the exhibition.