WHAT’S IN: In a science fair, the oral presentation and defense with the judges is the students’ “last chance” to
(1) share what their research is all about,
(2) clarify and answer queries
(3) persuade the judges why their research deserves the top prize, and
(4) convince them that their research can change the world. Despite of the fact that the oral presentation and defense only last for minutes, it should be taken as crucial as the months spent for experimentation. However, if the students truthfully and honestly did all the research processes from conceptualizing the research topic to writing the paper, then those minutes will seem to be more like seconds.
An oral presentation is when the students present their research in front of the audience such as the judges. They are given a certain time to present all the important and main information of the research. On the other hand, the oral defense is solely dedicated to the questioning of the audience and usually consumes more time than the oral presentation.
A GOOD ORAL PRESENTATION
➢ It should provide the general overview of the research.
➢ During the science fair judging, the presentation must highlight CONCISE AND DIRECT answers.
➢ It should highlight the parts that the students personally performed.
Parts conducted by adult-sponsor, (if any) qualified scientists and adult-supervisor at RRI must be clarified but do not need elaboration.
➢ For teams, parts performed by each member should be distinguished. - Individual researchers must observe the use of “I” - Important elements to be observed during the oral presentation include:
(1) well-moderated voice, (2) effective gestures and eye contact, (3) clarity in diction, and (4) “show” of guts. - During the Intel ISEF and National Science and Technology Fair, students do not use PowerPoint presentations. Hence, “persuasive powers” of the voice, the eye, the face and the hands will be very crucial.
➢ A complete oral presentation is an energy demanding activity. In science fairs, there are many other types of audience other than the judges such as visitors, fellow science fair participants, and many other interested individual.
➢ Therefore, the students must be ready to have shortened presentations to make it less stressful for their part and more understandable for the general audience. The audience will just follow-up some questions if they are interested to know more about the research.
Common Mistakes During Oral Presentation
➢ Simply reading the abstract for the oral presentation.
➢ Memorizing a script. Prepare an outline instead which can be the guide for a smooth flowing presentation. Scripts are not needed especially if you know the research by heart. Memorizing a script may just result to mental blocks especially if lost in the middle of presentation.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER DURING ORAL PRESENTATION
➢ It is true that the judges will not take it easy on the students, especially during the National Science and Technology Fair, because they are not just choosing winners but possible representatives of the Philippines to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. They will be asking hard questions to test how much the students know about their research.
➢ Make sure to answer directly and concisely. Do not present unnecessary arguments. Remember: “THIS IS NOT A DEBATE WITH THE JUDGES”. However, a backing “compensatory” statement can be used for negative answers. Just be honest all the time.
➢ The judges, especially during the National Science and Technology Fair will try to determine if whether the project is befitting for the Intel ISEF or in short, if it can actually sound international. A tip here is to find angles of the research which can be applied not only to the locality it was made for but to other places as well.
➢ Again, answer questions as honestly as possible. Judges will ask almost any question including those that are not directly related with the research. If you really do not have any idea about the answer, then tell the judges that you do not have any idea. However, if you do not know the exact answer but have an idea, then share this idea to the judges.
Reference : Galang 2014, Practical Guide in Local Science Fair