Tag Archives: 20 Questions for Science Fair Judges

Science Fair – What Will the Judge Ask Me?

Dr, Maille Lyons, The Science Fair Coach

Part III:  What will the judge ask me?

Some judges will be judging their first science fair, while others will have judged several fairs at varying levels.  Nevertheless there are many common questions and, the more you have thought about them, the better your interview experience will be.

 20 Questions you should expect include:

  • Where did you get this idea?
  • How did you come up with this title?
  • What research did you do?
  • What was your hypothesis?
  • Why did you think that would happen?
  • What were your independent and dependent variables?
  • What was your control?
  • What did you measure and how?
  • How did you calculate that result?
  • Why did you choose that amount, (or measurement, or piece of equipment, etc.)?
  • How did you replicate the experiment?
  • What does that graph tell you?
  • How variable were your results and what might explain the variability?
  • What did you base that conclusion on?
  • Why/How are your findings important?
  • Who might want to know this information?
  • What would be the next experiment you would do?
  • What was the hardest part (or most fun, or most exciting, or most surprising, etc.)?
  • Who helped you?
  • If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would do differently?


About Dr. Maille Lyons
My name is Maille, which is Gaelic and pronounced “Molly”. I won my first science fair in 6th grade at Joseph Case Junior High School in Swansea, Massachusetts. My project was called “The effect of acid rain on house plants”. As luck would have it my science teacher (Mr. Fonseca) was also my soccer coach. I loved doing projects and did a science fair project every year (required or not) up through my senior year. I enjoyed it so much, that I eventually pursued a career in science and now get to do the grown-up equivalent of science fair projects almost every day. Today I am environmental microbiologist specializing in aquatic bacteria (which means I can only respond to posts at night and on week-ends). I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Massachusetts (UMD), a Master’s Degree in Biology from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a post-graduate certification in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Drexel, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Connecticut (UCONN). 

Dr. Lyons shares science fair tips, tricks and advice on her blog, Science Fair Coach