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Regional Oral Presentation, Digital Poster and Q&A Guidelines

Up to 10 projects (up to five individual and up to five team projects) from each of six geographic regions, for a total of 60 projects, are selected to compete at the regional level of the Competition. As a reminder, no travel is required for the Regional Finals; all students will be participating virtually from their high schools.

At the regional levels of the Competition, judges evaluate the Research Report (18 page max), Abstract, the References cited in the Research Report, the digital poster board, the private virtual oral presentation (12 minutes) and question-and-answer session (15 minutes). Factors such as knowledge of the science involved, your role in the project, and your ideas extending from the work are also considered.

For individuals and teams selected to participate at the regional levels of Competition, you are required to:

  • Create and upload a supporting presentation slideshow presentation to your Regional Finalist Dashboard. PowerPoint/Keynote slides are required to be saved as PDF before uploading (due October 31st, 2016 at 12:00 noon E/T)
  • Create and upload a digital poster board presentation to your Regional Finalist Dashboard, using template provided (due October 31st, 2016 at 12:00 noon E/T)
  • Transfer your submitted abstract into the template provided on your Regional Finalist Dashboard and upload abstract in template (due October 31st, 2016 at 12:00 noon E/T)
  • Conduct a 12-minute oral presentation via WebEx during your Regional Finals event
  • Participate in a 15-minute Q&A session with University judges via WebEx during your Regional Finals event

**NOTE: All oral presentations and Q&A sessions must take place at the student’s school. (See ‘Oral Presentation’ for more details)

Technical Run Through

You will be required to conduct a technical run-through the week prior to your Regional Final event. The purpose of conducting a technical run-through is to test the school’s equipment, internet connection, troubleshoot tech issues, answer any technical questions in advance of the Regional competition, and allow for a rehearsal of your oral presentation. This is also the time for students participating in teams to work through their communication transitions to ensure they have a seamless session. WebEx should be downloaded to your computer prior to your technical run-through. Please refer to the “WebEx Overview” document for detailed instructions on how to download WebEx to your computer.

Siemens Competition/Discovery Education will send you an email on or before 10/21/16 with your run-through day, time and WebEx log-on information. All students/team members must participate in the run-through. The run-through is mandatory, cannot be rescheduled and each individual or team will receive only one run-through slot.

Students/teams are required to conduct their run-through from the same room that they will be in for their Regional Finals event. Students/teams must coordinate with their school principal to reserve their time, space and gain access to their room for the run-through (and Regional Finals event). Please refer to the “Comprehensive Student Requirements” document for a list of equipment that is needed for the run-through/Regional Finals event. The Discovery Education team will guide you through the run-through session to ensure you are comfortable.

The following must attend the run-through:

  • Student/All team members

If the student/team members choose, the following may also attend the run-through:

  • School representative (Principal/Teacher, etc)
  • Proctor (if they choose)
  • Mentor/Parent
  • No one else may attend this practice session

Oral Presentation

Individuals and teams will be required to conduct a virtual 12-minute oral presentation of their project and provide a PDF copy of their presentation slides via WebEx (by 10/31/16). Participation by all team members is required in the oral presentation. If teammates go to a different school or are located in a different state, they are not required to be at the same location to conduct the oral presentation or Q&A session. They will each be joined to the same WebEx meeting to conduct their portion of the oral presentation.

The oral presentation must be conducted in a room in the student’s school. Students are responsible for working with their school principal to reserve their time, space and gain access to the room located in their school for the run-through and the Regional Finals event. (Students/teams must conduct their technical run-through and Regional Finals event from the same room). This room MUST contain a hard-wired internet connection. If you are a home-schooled student, you will be required to conduct the oral presentation and Q&A session from a public school within your district. Discovery Education will make arrangements with the principal of that local public school to select a proctor. Please refer to the “Comprehensive Student Requirements” document for a list of equipment needed for the Regional event.

For both the run-through and the Regional Finals event, the Discovery Education technician will upload the PDF of your pre-submitted presentation to WebEx. They will then relinquish control over to you during the oral presentation session. When it is time for your presentation, you will be able to control the flow of the slides. Please refer to the “WebEx Overview” document for additional information on how to control your presentation in WebEx.

The following must attend the Regional Finals event:

  • Proctor (additional details are provided on page 4)
  • Student/All team members
  • No one else may attend the oral presentation

Please refer to the initial email sent to you from Siemens Competition on or before 10/21/16 for your Regional Final event day, time and WebEx log-on information. The password and log-in information should not be sent to non-authorized parties. If non-authorized parties join the WebEx during your presentation or Q&A, the student/team may be disqualified from the Competition.

Your oral presentation should primarily focus on the overall importance of the research, but should also include enough detail to engage the interest of the more knowledgeable judges. A panel of judges who have read your Research Report and reviewed the references you cited will watch the presentation.

Your presentation should include:

  • A clear statement of the problem and its importance.
  • A summary of the key elements of your research and your key findings.

Your presentation should answer:

  • What is the most important thing about this research?
  • Is something about this research novel or of substantial significance?

All claims of novelty and/or substantial significance must be documented. If you choose to use superlatives such as “never before discovered,” “state of the art,” “best study to date,” “new and novel idea,” and similar superlatives, be prepared to provide extensive detail to support these statements. Documentation may be requested at any time (including after the Competition, after winners have been selected, and after awards have been provided) including, but not limited to computer source code, software, lab journals, cited references, and/or underlying mathematical formulas, to support the research submission and any unsubstantiated claims. This is also the time in which you acknowledge those mentors and others who have assisted and inspired you in this research.

During the Regional Final event, cell phones are prohibited. You are also not allowed to record the presentation through the computer or use other electronic equipment. You are allowed to have a printed copy of your slides, but you are not allowed to use any notes during Regional Final event – this includes supporting documents (online or print) or websites opened on your computer. There will be a proctor (assigned by your school principal) that will be on-site with you during your oral presentation. They will be responsible for ensuring that all rules have been enforced.

Business attire is recommended for the Oral Presentation.

The Discovery Education Admin will time your 12-minute presentation. They will provide you with a 1-minute warning.

The oral presentation will be recorded for legal purposes only.

Presentation Slides

To assist you during your oral presentation, students/teams are required to utilize a PowerPoint presentation (saved/uploaded as PDF). The presentation must be uploaded to your Student Dashboard by Monday, October 31st, 2016, 12:00 PM E/T. Once the presentation has been uploaded to the Student Dashboard, no changes to the document will be allowed. The Discovery Education Technician will upload this PDF to the WebEx meeting prior to the student’s scheduled oral presentation and Q&A session time. You will be able to control the flow throughout your oral presentation. Please refer to the “WebEx Overview” document for additional information on how to control your presentation in WebEx.

Almost all scientific presentations employ visuals. A well-thought-out graphical presentation helps you communicate more clearly with the judges. You may create your presentation in PowerPoint or Keynote but you must upload your slides as a PDF file.

All information you wish to include in your 12-minute oral presentation must be contained within the slides. You may not include links to display external information from websites. You may not include video clips or animations as they do not work within WebEx. If you would like to visually represent an image you may include still photos/non-animated graphics.

Ensure that your presentation is easy to read:

  • Use thick, block type for visuals; avoid italic, script, and thin letters.
  • Use a combination of capitals and lowercase; avoid only capitals.
  • Use only a few colors; avoid too many colors or light colors, such as yellow.
  • List references on the same slide with the cited information. All other references can be listed at the end of the presentation.

Q&A Session With Regional Judges

Individuals and teams are required to participate in a private, proctored question-and-answer session with the regional judges from each partner university. Each session will be 15-minutes in length and will be conducted via WebEx. The Q&A Session will occur directly after the Oral Presentation.

The following may attend the Q&A Session:

  • Student/All team members
  • No one else may attend the Q&A Session (Proctors will be asked to leave for this portion)

You will receive a small whiteboard and dry-erase marker sent from Discovery Education prior to your Regional Final event. The judges may ask you to demonstrate a drawing or equation during your Q&A Session. You are allowed to use only this whiteboard to illustrate your work.

During the Q&A session, cell phones are prohibited. You are also not allowed to record the session through the computer or using other electronic equipment.

Business attire is recommended for the Q&A session.

The Discovery Education Admin will time your 15-minute Q&A session. They will provide you with a 1-minute warning.

Digital Poster Board

The digital poster must be submitted to Discovery Education through your student dashboard by Monday October 31, 2016, 12:00pm EST.

You MUST use the template provided to you online or through your Regional Finalist Dashboard to create the three “panels” of your poster. You must then upload PDFs of all three panels to your Student Dashboard by the due date. This will allow for easy printing by the judges and also make it easier for you to print your poster should you be selected as a National Finalist.

Please note: the poster board panels should be 72 dpi minimum and 300 dpi max.

Please refer to the “Digital Poster Design” section below for more detailed information on your poster.

Here are some guidelines to consider when creating your digital poster. These are simply guidelines; remember that your content should dictate the format of your poster.

Be Clear: Consider interesting methods to present your research. Some methods include:

  • Combine text with graphics to convey the major points of the Research Project quickly and effectively
  • Incorporate images that help visualize your research
  • Add graphs that support your hypothesis
  • All diagrams and drawings should be completely labeled
  • All elements should be easy to view from a distance of three meters
  • Keep equations to a minimum, use them only if necessary for an overall understanding of your project
  • Maintain a consistent style of presentation to aid the viewer
  • Check carefully for errors in spelling, legibility, and consistency of style

Keep it simple: present the research in clean and simple methods. You want to ensure the judges understand the research clearly.

  • Arrange the sections to tell the story of your project. Your layout should encourage the viewer's eye to move through the boards in order.
  • When using the Template provided, ensure the content reads by panel (as opposed to the full width of the poster board)

Use colors sparingly and with taste: Colors should be used to emphasize, differentiate, and add interest

Font types: ensure all text is easy to read.

  • Use a clean, easy-to-read font for Project Title and Body Copy
    • We propose Helvetica for legibility
    • Emphasize important points via bold and italic fonts
  • Recommended font sizes:
    • Section Header – 48 pt
    • Supporting Image or Graph Title – 36 pt
    • Body Copy – 24 pt
    • Image Caption – 24 pt
  • Avoid:
    • Fonts in light colors, such as yellow
    • More than three font styles
    • Words entirely in CAPS

Proctor

The school administrator/principal is responsible for securing a proctor for each student team or individual participating from his or her school. The proctor must be a teacher, school administrator or educational professional from within the student’s school district. NEW THIS YEAR: the proctor may be employed at the student’s school, but they cannot currently teach the student. The proctor must be present for the student’s oral presentation on Nov 5th, 12th or 19th.

It is the proctor’s responsibility to ensure that a back-up proctor is available as a replacement, if the primary proctor is unable to attend. If neither the proctor nor the back-up proctor attend the Regional Final event, the student may be disqualified from the Competition.

The school Principal/Headmaster must complete the Proctor form (which was emailed to them on 10/19) and send to siemenscompetition@discovery.com by Thursday, October 27, 2016, 5:00pm E/T. Please touch base with your Principal/Headmaster before this date to ensure they have submitted their form.

The proctor will be responsible for ensuring that the student has arrived to the pre-determined location for the Regional Finals event.

During the Regional Finals event, the proctor has the following responsibilities:

  • Arrive to the designated school 30 minutes prior to the start of the scheduled Regional Final event
  • Ensure that the student and all team members (if applicable) are present
  • Ensure that the student does not have a cell phone or any other electronic device present
  • If the student /team members have a print out of their presentation slides, ensure that there are no notes included on the print out
  • Ensure the student /team members are not using ANY notes during the oral presentation or Q&A session
  • Ensure that the printed copy of the slides is removed once the oral presentation ends and the Q&A session begins
  • Confirm that no one else is in the room besides the student/team members and the proctor
  • Provide a visual sweep of the room using the webcam to show compliance with stated guidelines
  • Ensure the student/team members are not recording the oral presentation or Q&A session on their computer or through other electronic equipment
  • Confirm that the student/team members do not have any documents or websites open on their computer during the oral presentation or Q&A session
  • Confirm that the whiteboard is blank prior to beginning the oral presentation
  • Refrain from sharing any details of other sessions they proctored
  • Leave the room for the Q & A session

Digital (PPT) Poster Template Usage

Download the Poster Board PowerPoint templates using the links below:

Usage of this template is required. There are three PPT template slides for the three-panel poster board. We’ve provided one slide for each panel; left, middle, and right. More specifications to consider for the template:

Digital Poster Template - Margins:

  • Keep 1” margins around the outsides of the panels
  • Keep 0.5” gutters in between the content on panels
  • Do not use more than two columns on the side panels
  • Do not use more than 3 columns on the middle panel

Exporting PPT as a PDF:

On a Mac:

  • Open File -> Select Print
  • In the dialog box, select the drop-down “PDF”.
  • In the drop-down, select “Save as PDF”.
  • Save the file with the file name of “Last Name_RightPanel”, “Last Name_CenterPanel” and “Last Name_LeftPanel”. Also save the file in the location of your choice. Click Save.

On a PC:

  • Open File -> Select Save As
  • In the Save As Type, select the drop-down “PowerPoint”.
  • In the drop-down, select “PDF”.
  • Save the file with the file name of “Last Name_RightPanel”, “Last Name_CenterPanel” and “Last Name_LeftPanel”. Also save the file in the location of your choice. Click Save.

Printing Specifications: If selected as a National Finalist, you will be required to print this poster for Nationals. Only grammatical changes will be allowed to your Regionals poster.

In order to print your digital poster for Nationals:

  • Provide a PDF to a printing facility (FedEx Kinkos, etc)
  • Ensure the printer will be applying the printouts to a three-panel poster board.

Digital Poster Content

  1. Title: Research Report title as it was submitted at registration.
  2. Your Name: Provide your name as it appears on your Research Report.
  3. Introduction: State the problem with an optional short explanation (one to three sentences) and your hypothesis. You may include a short explanation of the importance of the problem.
  4. Materials and methods: Summarize your methods and procedures.
  5. Results: Summarize the data through headlines, illustrative graphs, and pictures. Be selective. Display only those results that illustrate your main findings.
  6. Discussion and conclusion: Summarize the key conclusions from the data and relate the data back to the original problem and hypothesis.
  7. Literature and acknowledgments: List references for all sources cited, and acknowledgments of all individuals, departments, programs, and funding resources that contributed to the project.

Abstract

Your abstract must be submitted to Discovery Education through your student dashboard by Monday October 31, 2016, 12:00pm EST.

The Abstract is a synopsis of the problem, methods, results, and conclusions in your Research Report. It should be 100-200 words long, include the project title, and stand alone on a page. Do not include identifying information, such as your name, high school, research facilities, mentors, or advisors. Do not use gender ("he" or "she") in the abstract. The Abstract is not counted as part of the 18-page report. Click here for sample Abstracts for previous winners.The Abstract is part of the Research Report, but is not counted as part of the 18-page limit. As a Regional Finalist, you will submit a new version of your abstract in a specified format that will be shared with you. The content of the newly formatted abstract must be identical to the abstract you submitted with your original Research Report submission.

Tertiary content

Register

2016 Siemens Competition registration is now closed.

Academic Integrity

Competitors must demonstrate academic integrity. Read our policy about plagiarism and other violations.

Video Highlights

Siemens shieldView the 2016 Siemens Competition National Winners at the national competition in Washington, D.C. Click to view the list of winners.