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Tips for the Project presentation

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  • #16
    What was the team's score for "Sources of Information"? It's possible the judges considered your expert as a source of information rather than an audience for "Sharing". Have them find someone else to share their solution with.

    I'm encouraging my team to use a placard during the skit with one side listing the experts they consulted and the other side listing who they shared their solution with. It's been a challenge for prior teams to successfully communicate both categories of people in the judging room, especially if there are several people in each category.

    Lastly, it seems like your team should make the case for innovation during their presentation, the key point being to describe what added value their solution provides.


    • #17
      "Second guessing" judges is going to be problematic. Those same judges may have seen many excellent presentations that day. In comparison to other teams, your team may have been viewed as "beginners" in the area of "Sharing" even though your team may have shared their idea with an expert. Other teams may have shared their ideas with larger communities, or associations, or multiple experts over a longer period of time. If you want to score "Accomplished" on the Sharing measure you should have the team explain why the individual they shared their idea with is an expert. If possible, find other "experts" to share their idea with. Remember, you are competing against teams that already are sharing their ideas with the world. Setup a website. Waiting for a response from NASA is probably not a viable solution for you.


      • #18
        Our team used to leave some information on paper with the judges. We left a one page summary of the project, that briefly provided information in the following areas:
        • What is the problem?
        • How was the problem researched?
        • What is the solution?
        • How is the solution innovative and different?
        • Who was the solution shared with?
        There wasn't anything on the one page overview that was not presented or discussed during the judging session, but it gave the judges something to refer to once the session ended. As a judge, I know it can be hard to ask questions and take notes accurately during the session.

        There was an additional page that was a more formal list of citations for research and expert sources.

        We also had a big three-ring binder with more info that we let the judges look at during the judging session, but did not leave with them.


        • #19
          The rubric for project oscillates wildly from being really vague to too specific. So if I share my idea with ONE person/group that may benefit or an expert that is "Accomplished" sharing, but if I share with a dozen groups who really only benefit from learning more about FLL that is "Developing"? That almost forces a judge to use Accomplished or Exemplary for any team that communicates with an expert. Every team will talk at least a little bit about their problem and solution, and isn't that sharing?

          Judges chafe at being forced to do anything. Maybe your project judge doesn't think you should get to "double dip" and use an expert as both a resource and an audience. Maybe it wasn't made clear in the presentation that this person was an expert with whom you shared your solution. Maybe it was only implied, and the judge didn't pick up one it. Unfortunately teams are really horrible when it comes to evaluating their own presentation. You are too involved, you know all the decisions that went into the solution and all the resources and all the interviews and when you see and hear the presentation all this context flows through. Judges weren't involved at all in your project and the only thing they see and hear is what you actually show and say. They have no context. They don't know that Person A should be viewed as a resource or an audience or an expert or any combination of the three unless you point his out during the presentation. They also don't know what that a big list of articles and web sites and peoples names means. I know you carefully wrote it all out on the big poster, but if it was never mentioned during your presentation is it actually part of your presentation? I know many project judges that would say no.

          I am a great audience for the research presentation. For some reason being obtuse and ignorant comes natural to me. I do not pick things up quickly and I don't read between the lines. If you don't present information I am not going to fill in the blanks. I cannot count the number of teams who were very proud of their presentation, justifiably so, only to be shocked that I didn't know what problem they were solving, or why it is important to solve their problem, or how their solution was supposed to solve their problem. At the very least your presentation needs to answer those three questions. That is more important than being cute or funny or creative.

          And about those handouts, they are at best a memory aid. Information on a bullet list or in a short booklet is not information in your presentation. It think it is good to answer the critical questions, and as long as you are doing that you may as well write it in a document and you may as well hand a copy to the judge, but that information has to be part of the presentation or a lot of judges say it doesn't count.
          Last edited by Dean Hystad; 12-04-2018, 05:50 PM.


          • #20
            I left the papers at school. I showed them to the kids today and they discussed what they wanted to do better at our district event in January. Their thought was that maybe they need to explicitly name our expert as "an expert we shared with." I also told them that the only things that count in the presentation are the things they tell the judges. When I judged project last month, there was no time to examine their boards or even look over the thick binders that a couple of teams left for us. It is so fast paced as a judge that the kids need to say it or it doesn't count.


            • #21
              At my state tournament the judges seemed to like our project a lot. We thought we had better try to step it up even further to get ready for Detroit, so the kids ran some cool experiments, the results of which were used to validate and modify the design of their solution. The end result was a fact packed presentation that detailed how their experiments, as well as talks with experts, led to a their specific design for their solution. They also presented the judges with an 80-page binder that gave a more detailed look at this evolution and the design choices that resulted.

              However, looking at the judging sheet from Detroit, the judges did not seem to have noticed the experiments. I was a bit surprised by this. Maybe that just comes from being a science teacher. I am naturally drawn to the idea of presenting hard data. The kids felt a bit bad that they had spent so much of our time taking data, creating graphs, and that sort of thing. It took a lot of time and seems not to have been the best approach. Which, I think is basically my inexperience showing. Don't get me wrong, they loved being in Detroit. It was an honor and felt it keenly.

              Does anyone have any suggestions on the optimal way to spend time when doing the project? This is just my second year as a coach, so I really need the guidance. Where does it make the sense to invest time when doing the project? Where does your team invest its time on the project?
              Last edited by fasvi; 06-23-2019, 04:36 PM.


              • #22
                I have had teams that have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other on research, experts, experiments, engaging presentations over the last 5 years. I have also judged many presentations at regionals and state. I look for balance between all the rubrics. I have seen extraordinarily engaging and imaginative presentations without any data/tests/research and likewise have seen dry power point presentations with stunning science/research/experts. Finding the balance is key.

                For my team, they usually plan out the season and break it down to three equal steps, 1) problem identification/solution ideas, 2) final solution selection, research, experiment, and 3) project presentation creation. All three involve discussions with experts and feedback. Each one is about a month long since we don't start teams until mid-September.
                One of the most important parts is incorporating the knowledge from the experts into the solution. Several times, they found that the solution would not work and had to pivot to a new solution. They discuss this with the judges and talk about what they learned.

                When they do experiments (grew shrimp last season for space) they do not discuss much on the experiment process but, on what they learned from the experiment and how they used that data. How it supported or did not support their problem. As a judge, I want to know what they learned from the experiment. The description of the experiment can be just a few words, tell me what was learned. For example, a team says, "We tested 300 fabrics to see what would burn." Ok, I get the experiment, tell me the final detail such as "We learned that fabrics with 20% polyester, 10% cotton and 70% rayon burned the fastest because... (this is the really important part to me, why?). Then, tell me how you used this data in your solution. The kids always seem to get caught up in describing the experiment process, what they did, how they set up the experiment. I understand this because this is the cool, we did stuff part of it and make a memory impression. But, they need to get to the I learned... part fast.

                The type of solution can also have an impact. As a judge, I am open to any kind of solution, a process, a product, heck, even just a simple math formula (E=MC2 took one guy pretty far) if it fits all other aspects of the challenge. But, other judges sometimes seem more comfortable with a tangible tabletop size product. As a coach, I make sure that the team can somehow "package" the solution into something tangible. Give the judges something they can hold onto. A model, a physical representation something they can wrap their heads around very quickly. Test it out on other audiences. If they can't get your problem and then solution in about 20 seconds for each, rethink how they are presenting it. The light needs to come on pretty quick with the judges. The kids should be able to create a single sentence that fully describes the problem and a single sentence that full describes the solution.

                Take a look at all the videos on FIRST and youtube with all the presentations from state and world. Good Luck this season.
                FLL coach Trash Trek on, State 4x, World 2x, state ref, state judge.


                • #23
                  Originally posted by DJR View Post
                  Test it out on other audiences. If they can't get your problem and then solution in about 20 seconds for each, rethink how they are presenting it. The light needs to come on pretty quick with the judges. The kids should be able to create a single sentence that fully describes the problem and a single sentence that full describes the solution.
                  I would further recommend that the people your team test the summary of the Project and solution out on be people who are not experts in the field, have no prior knowledge of your project and have, at most, a basic understanding of FLL. That's your worst case judge and the person you want to be ready to present to. Ideally your judge will know more about FLL and the project. They're unlikely to be experts in the field you choose, so you need to make sure you can quickly, clearly and easily explain things to people who start off mostly clueless. If you can do that, it should be clear to the judges.

                  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.