Tip #1: RELAX and take a deep breath
The Young Scientist Challenge is simple to enter. But, “the video” you say! Rest assured, even “the video” is easily managed by your independent and incredibly talented young scientist. Read on for some helpful tips, tools, and video examples to help get your budding scientist started.
Tip #2: Learn from the past
Watch some finalist video examples from previous years to understand what makes a winning video and to see the breadth of styles and approaches taken.
Tip #3: Pick a topic with meaning
Passion and enthusiasm shine through in a video medium. Make sure your child picks a topic for which they have a passion or a personal connection.
Tip #4: Select equipment you know
No fancy video camera is needed. We judge content, not video quality. Videos do not need to be “produced” or have a high production value. Many participants have used a cell phone or digital camera. Encourage your child to use whatever device with which they feel most comfortable.
Tip #5: Follow filmmaking basics
Prepare a speech/storyboard ahead of time to maximize the two minutes and use multiple locations, graphics, or the pan/zoom feature to increase visual interest.
Tip #6: Edit like a pro
Make a practice video before you start filming, speed up sections to make your video fit within 2 minutes (if necessary), and don’t overuse transitions.
Tip #7: Follow the checklist
The most common reason for disqualification is that a video runs over 2 minutes. Don’t make that mistake! Follow the video checklist and use these software tools to reduce file size if needed.
Tip #8: Be seen and heard
Young Scientist Challenge entries are judged on effectiveness of communication – so make sure your scientist is seen and heard! Encourage them to speak slowly and clearly and if filming outdoors, account for the sun and background noise.
Tip #9: Use what makes sense for your idea
Using animation is fine, but certainly not required. Same goes for using a prototype. If it best fits your project, then incorporate one, but it is not required. Similarly, the video does not need to include an experiment; your student just needs to be able to explain the science, technology, engineering, and math behind their idea.
Tip #10: Encourage independence
Consent to their participation, register them and then get out of their way! Your bright and talented 5-8th grader is completely capable and will get a lot more out of the experience if they are the one leading the way.