There are three major categories in the Young Scientist Awards: STANSW Scientific Investigations, Innovations and Engineering Design and Working Mathematically.
Surveys have been included as a subsection within Scientific Investigations. These projects involve the gathering of data in a specific area of interest using a range of sampling techniques to locate and classify features of interest, identifying variants.
There are six age groups in the Young Scientist Awards, each is judged separately:
- Years K-2
- Years 3-4
- Years 5-6
- Years 7-8
- Years 9-10
- Years 11-12
Within the Scientific Investigation category in the Years 7-8, Years 9-10 and 11-12 age groups, judges will be allocated to one of the following categories:
- Earth and Environmental Science
It is important to note that the same rubric and judging criteria applies to each of these four disciplines. For instance, students entered into Chemistry will be judged primarily on their investigative skills and not necessarily on their chemistry knowledge and use of chemical formulae.
The judges will only assess entries according to a set of published judging criteria. The judging rubrics are used by the judges to assign a Level 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 to each student project. These criteria are closely tied to the processes of Working Scientifically, Working Technologically and Working Mathematically in the respective NSW Syllabus documents.
It is essential that you read the criteria before you start your project, and also at the end as a checklist to ensure that you have included everything. Ask your teacher or parents for help if you do not understand what is required. The best entry will be one that meets the criteria at the highest level.