Your Guide to the Google Science Fair
There are many ways to stand out as a serious STEM student, but the Google Science Fair is among the most prestigious. This online science competition, founded in 2011, is open to most students from around the world aged 13-18. It has significant and prestigious sponsors, including National Geographic, Virgin Galactic, Lego, Scientific American, and of course Google itself. Prizes are awarded across multiple categories, with the grand prize winner receiving a $50,000 scholarship.
Of course, as is the case with any prestigious competition, the Google Science Fair is extremely competitive and to gain recognition, you’ll need to carefully review the guidelines and plan your project well in advance. If you’re thinking of participating and want to learn more about this amazing competition and the opportunities it could lead to, don’t miss this post.
What Is the Google Science Fair?
The Google Science Fair is similar to other science fairs, but it takes place primarily online. The objective posed to entrants is fairly simply—find a problem worth solving and develop a solution. Of course, while this sounds simple, it can be taken in a number of different directions and inevitably the winning projects tend to be exceptionally complex.
Some problems that students have solved in the past include:
- How can rockets be made more efficient?
- How can doctors detect lung cancer earlier?
- How can concrete buildings be made more resistant to impact?
- How can wounds be better cared for by doctors?
Check out Google’s Past Projects to learn more about these and other exciting problems solved by participants in the Google Science Fair.
Essentially, to enter the science fair you will conduct your own research or experiment, write a report that follows the scientific or computational thinking/engineering method, and submit everything through the online entry form. Google provides extensive support throughout the entire process in order to simplify the procedure and level the playing field for students globally.
How to Prepare Your Project
A successful entry starts with a powerful project idea. Choose something that addresses an important problem either globally or within your community. Your project should have real-world impact with the potential to change lives. Google provides some brainstorming tools to help you get started. Check out How to Choose a Winning Science Fair Project Idea and A Beginner’s Guide to the Science Fair to learn more.
Once you’ve gotten a project idea, you’ll need to apply yourself towards solving the problem using either the scientific or computational thinking/engineering method. You should use all available resources for this phase, including enlisting the help of teachers, mentors, and professionals in the field. While the project has to be your own work (or that of a team), there are no rules against gathering resources including tools and advice from people with more experience than you.
When you submit your final project, you’ll need to use the online entry form, but it’s a good idea to have a formal paper written up already. This should be something that has been carefully reviewed and gone through several rounds of edits by you and a teacher or mentor. Once it is complete, you’ll be able to cut and paste specific sections from it into the online entry form. Google provides a slideshow that outlines the submission process.
What Are the Important Dates?
For the 2018-2019 competition, submissions can be submitted anytime from September 13, 2018 to December 12, 2018.
State award winners will then be announced in March 2019, while regional finalists will be announced in April 2019 and global finalists will be announced in May 2019. 20 Global Finalists are invited in the Google headquarters in July 2019 to participate in finalist events before the final prizes are awarded.
What Are the Rules?
Participants between 13-18 years old may enter one project as an individual or as a member of a team comprised of up to three people. To enter, you’ll need to register for a Google account and have parental consent.
When you enter, you’ll need to select one of the following topics as a main topic and up to two sub topics for your entry:
- Flora & Fauna
- Food Science
- Earth & Environmental Sciences
- Inventions & Innovation
- Electricity & Electronics
- Behavioral & Social Sciences
- Energy & Space
- Computer Science & Math
Judges will determine the category that each entry to judged under.
Participants must fill out every field of the entry form, and may also submit either a two-minute Youtube video or 20-slide Google slideshow, if desired.
Submissions may be submitted in one of the following languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Hebrew, Polish, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, Portuguese, Korean, or Chinese (simplified or traditional).
For additional rules including entry restrictions and research guidelines, see Google’s 2018-2019 Science Fair Official Rules.
What Happens After You Submit Your Project?
All submissions are reviewed by an international judging panel. You can view profiles of the judges available here.
Judges will determine the best category for each project and will assess its strengths in each of the following judging criteria:
- Inspirational idea/entry
- Capacity to make an impact
- Passion for science/engineering
- Excellence of method
The highest-scoring projects are reviewed and 100 Regional finalist projects are chosen from them. In the next round of judging, the judges select 20 Global finalist projects from around the world. These finalists then travel to Mountain View, California where the category winners and Grand Prize winner are announced.
What Are the Prizes?
Almost 200 prizes are awarded in total. These range from Chromebooks awarded to 100 Regional Finalists to a $50,000 scholarship awarded as the grand prize. Sponsors also award $15,000 scholarships in special prize categories, along with providing exciting prizes like a tour of Virgin Galactic’s facilities or a 15-day expedition with National Geographic.
The Google Science Fair isn’t just a cool competition; it’s also a prestigious award offering cool prizes and valuable scholarships. For students interested in the STEM fields, this is definitely a contest to consider. To learn more about STEM contests and opportunities, check out these posts:
Prestigious STEM Competitions for High School Students
A Day in the Life of a STEM Major
How to Write a Convincing Science Fair Research Proposal
A Guide to Pursuing Research Projects in High School
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