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  • Tips for the Project presentation

    Our team was new last year and we realized (both the team members and the coaches) at the end of the qualifying tournament just how unprepared we were for the Project Presentation and RDES. We are trying to help our team prepare more for the presentation part this year, but are struggling with what tips we can give them. We weren't in the room last year for the presentation, so we are still driving a little blind to guide them. I have a few questions:

    1. I know we should guide the team to hit everything on the rubric. What is the recommendation on the order in which the presentation is done? We've had lots of discussions about this, and really don't know. Problem statement, then research done, experts we spoke with, then solution? Or research first followed by the rest?
    2. What happens if the team goes over the 5 min presentation time limit?
    3. Is it helpful/recommended to leave the judges with papers/information? If so, what types of info - sources or overview of the solution or something else? Is this overkill?

    Thanks for any tips you can share to help mentor my team.

  • #2
    1. My team likes to present the Project in the following order:
    - The problem
    - The research about why it's a problem
    - The current solutions
    - Research about why they don't fully solve the problem
    - The team's solution
    - Research about why the solution works
    - Research about manufacturing, costs, etc
    - How and with whom we shared the solution
    Sprinkled throughout are attributed quotes from research and experts which illustrate the research done, experts spoken to, etc.

    2. I assume the judges stop the teams at 5 minutes. I've never been in the judging room (not allowed in my region) but that's how we practice it. We aim for our presentation to run 4:30-4:45 in practice so that we have enough time.

    3. My team leaves a single sheet of paper with the project judges. The front side has our team information which includes a picture of the team and a quick blurb about our project (among other things). The back has a bibliography of our research sources. I have no idea if this is a good idea. We've never gotten any feedback from the judges on it, but we always score very well in research on the rubric, so I think it helps.
    --
    Fort Worth Robotics - North Texas Region Team #455
    Technical coach, baker of the cookies, keeper of the time, transporter of the travel field walls, finder of the spare parts, maker of the pop culture references that only the other tall people understand.

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    • #3
      Rehearse everything. From the order the team will enter the room, who will hand the judges the team information sheet (required in Virginia), the script of course, how will they decide who will answer each question so they don't talk over each other, and shaking hands with the judges on the way out. In Virginia, we officially say the clock starts when the door closes. At our regionals, I think we are kind of lenient for teams that go over the 5 minutes. We tell the judges if it seems like the team is winding down, let them go over if you think they will be done in five-ten seconds. If it has gotten to 5:30 and they are still going, politely let them know that you need to ask them some questions. In either case, mark it on the rubric, even if they go over by only a second. I think states and worlds would be a little stricter, but I don't know that for a fact.

      For the presentation itself, I don't have a specific formula for the best order. This year and last, we had a vignette skit for about 30 seconds which kind of introduces our topic, and then we go into "presentation mode" which gives all of the details. Definitely make sure your presentation covers everything on the rubric. You do not want to depend on the judges asking for information they need. For example, a judge should never have to ask "did you share your project with anyone?". That needs to come out in the presentation.
      Norfolk, Virginia, USA
      FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

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      • #4
        If the Judges are doing their jobs correctly, they should be acting as advocates for your team when they go into deliberation so your team should give them as much ammunition as possible, of the best quality.

        Often, when I have worked as a Judge, one of the two Judges will give the team a quick and gentle "30 seconds left" warning. I don't recall actually cutting off a team at 5:00 sharp. I have seen more teams who seem a bit shy and unprepared who finish (very) early and then we have to ask probing questions to draw information out of them.

        Your team should use the Rubrics to ensure that they have sufficiently covered all the points the Judges will be looking for and not over-emphasized one area. Lastly, ensure that your team does not structure their presentation so that everything is in the order it appears in the Rubrics. The Judges can tell and it makes it seem too scripted in a weird way.

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        • #5
          First, I would recommend you volunteer to be a Judge. Nothing enlightens you more than seeing what a Judge in your region goes through.

          Echoing what has already been said, the three questions a Judge should never have to ask is: What problem are you trying to solve? What is your solution? Who have you shared it with?





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          • #6
            Originally posted by is1c View Post
            First, I would recommend you volunteer to be a Judge. Nothing enlightens you more than seeing what a Judge in your region goes through.

            Echoing what has already been said, the three questions a Judge should never have to ask is: What problem are you trying to solve? What is your solution? Who have you shared it with?
            And "what were your sources of information?"

            Yes, definitely volunteer as a judge! Yes, yes yes!!! Once you see firsthand what is going on from the judge's point of view, it will all make so much more sense. Work your way through all three judged events and you will be much better equipped to prepare your teams in the future.
            Norfolk, Virginia, USA
            FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

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            • #7
              What if the kids have trouble finding someone to share their solution with? For example, with the Into Orbit theme, what if a team with no personal connections to any experts reaches out to multiple experts at NASA or whatever but gets no responses? My team is in that situation. We have one expert we have a personal connection to whom we have consulted as a research resource and again as someone we shared with, but can't get anyone else (since we would get more points for multiple experts in the field). And how would I, as a judge, score a team in that situation?

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the tips! This is very helpful. I was a judge for Destination Imagination for 3 years and I definitely understand the value of "being on the other side" to know how to coach a team. I'll try to do this for future tournaments.

                Is it acceptable if the team asks the judges before they start if they can give the team a sign when 30 seconds are left? Or would that be looked poorly upon?

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                • #9
                  If you are having a hard time getting responses from NASA experts, think a little bigger. You can certainly share with the same exerts with whom your team consulted while doing research. Most teams do and this certainly "counts". I don't know when your regional is, but there may still be time to reach some exerts for sharing. Keep trying! NASA frequently posts email addresses in their articles, so don't be too shy to do a little research and email everyone you can think of. Also, you might get lucky and maybe even find a phone number. Give it a call! It's harder to say "no" over the phone than it is to ignore an email. Are there organizations outside of NASA that your project can apply to? In that case, look for experts there as well. Finally, if none of these work, you can always share with teachers, parents, friends, etc. Simply posting a video on YouTube isn't going to impress many judges, and I believe is specifically "called out" in the rules as in "not good enough", so don't let that be your only source. As a last resort, your team could say that you reached out to this expert and that, but got no responses, to at least let the judges know you tried. I wouldn't count on getting much credit though.

                  @Imsmith327, yes, you can ask the judges to give a sign when 30 seconds are left, and I don't think many judges would look negatively on that. However, I would encourage you to practice enough to give you the confidence that you can end on time without the prompt. Aim for about 4:30 and you should be good to go in case someone forgets their lines, or gets a case of stage fright. It's all part of the experience!
                  Norfolk, Virginia, USA
                  FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tim Carey View Post
                    What if the kids have trouble finding someone to share their solution with? For example, with the Into Orbit theme, what if a team with no personal connections to any experts reaches out to multiple experts at NASA or whatever but gets no responses? My team is in that situation. We have one expert we have a personal connection to whom we have consulted as a research resource and again as someone we shared with, but can't get anyone else (since we would get more points for multiple experts in the field). And how would I, as a judge, score a team in that situation?
                    It would be worth trying some local universities or other organizations doing work or research in the field relevant to your teams Research Project. They may be more accessible to your team. They might not be applying it in space but they can probably make the appropriate extrapolations.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gt0163c View Post
                      1. My team likes to present the Project in the following order:
                      - The problem
                      - The research about why it's a problem
                      - The current solutions
                      - Research about why they don't fully solve the problem
                      - The team's solution
                      - Research about why the solution works
                      - Research about manufacturing, costs, etc
                      - How and with whom we shared the solution
                      Sprinkled throughout are attributed quotes from research and experts which illustrate the research done, experts spoken to, etc.
                      This is great. I met with my team today and used this as an outline to help them organize their presentation. We just made an outline together, recapping what they've already done, and I'll let them fill in the details of how they'll present it, but this gave a good path to follow. Thanks for sharing.

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                      • #12
                        If our team decides to leave info with the judges, should they leave one copy for all the judges to share, or a copy for each judge? How many judges are generally in the project room?
                        Last edited by lmsmith327; 11-10-2018, 03:53 PM. Reason: clarity edit

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lmsmith327 View Post
                          If our team decides to leave info with the judges, should they leave one copy for all the judges to share, or a copy for each judge? How many judges are generally in the project room?
                          If you're leaving something small like a pamphlet, leave a few copies. If you have a binder of research materials or something else substantial there's no need for multiple copies. Make sure your team name and number are on the front of whatever you leave. In Wisconsin we see two or three judges per room.

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                          • #14
                            I would also urge the kids to be creative and have fun with it -- show some personality. Last year our team (Three 5th grade girls) decided to do a skit around the gameshow "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" and had two of the judges come up and play the game "against" them. The kids were much more comfortable presenting in this style. They covered the basics of all the content required (problem, solution, sharing), but did not go really deep. They had a presentation board that they brought in which helped demonstrate that the work had been done. They won the Presentation award at our regional qualifier and were 2nd Runner up for the Champions Award at States.

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                            • #15
                              In our qualifier yesterday, my team was marked Developing in Sharing, even though they had shared with an expert. My thought is that the judges didn't see our expert as an expert -- their project involves sending a therapy dog on those long space missions. So we talked to a therapy dog trainer/owner and got lots of good feedback about what they would need to consider in taking care of the dog's needs in space. We tried to contact NASA (as I'm sure everyone did), but never got a reply. As we prepare for the next event in January, how do I help them over this bump? Should they explain that the expert we talked to is actually an expert? Should we draft a letter or make a video and send it to NASA or something, even if we never hear back from them?

                              Also, in order to take care of the dog, they came up with an innovative solution (IMHO) for feeding a dog in space and for taking care of dog waste in space. I helped them 3D design and print a prototype for each of those two things and taught them to sew a little so they could make a contraption for their model dog to wear. But the judges disagreed and marked them as using an existing solution. This seems like an objective category to me (even as a project judge this season). How should I discuss this with them in our next meeting? Tell them that I think it's great and people just have their own opinions? Just looking for another opinion or two. Thanks.

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