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Just Don’t Be Late, Do The Google Science Fair

Google Science Fair

I remember back when I was in school, every year the science fair would roll by and my class would walk through the aisles as the nerdy kids would attempt to impress us with bendable bones, exploding volcanoes, and sometimes stuff that was just plain weird.  Then again, we never had an innovative sponsor for our fair, such as Google.  This year Google is sponsoring their own science fair and some very groovy prizes are up for grabs!

What are the entry rules?

Entry into the 2011 Google Science Fair has the following requirements:

  • You must be a teenage student age 13-18.
  • A parent/guardians approval is required.
  • This contest is open to students around the globe, nearly every country is eligible.
  • Your project team can be 1-3 studentsNote that only 1 parent/guardian will be eligible to accompany each child.
  • Entries must be submitted in EnglishGoogle Translated submissions are fine.

How Do I Enter The Google Science Fair?

The easiest way to learn how to get started is to watch this video from Google.

Google’s written instructions are as follows:

      1. If you don’t already have one, create a Google Account. You will need a Google Account to complete the sign up form.
      2. Complete the Google Science Fair sign up form. After you submit the form, you will see an important link on the confirmation page. This link will create the Google project submission site where you will post your science fair project details. Signed up but can’t find the link? Click here to create your Google project submission site.
      3. Plan your science project, conduct your experiment, and write up your results.
      4. Complete all of the sections of your Google project submission site (see sample project submission site).
      5. Create either a two-minute video or 20-slide presentation giving an overview of your project and embed it on the Summary page of your project submission. A video or presentation is required to enter.
      6. When your project site is done, make sure to submit it via this form by 4 April 2011.
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What are the Prizes?

Submissions will be categorized according to age, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18.  Each age category will have 1 finalist, making a total of 3 finalists in the competition.  Of the 3 finalists, 1 will be chosen as a Grand Prize Winner.

google fair age groups

1st Place

  • An expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands.
  • A $50,000 Google educational scholarship, split equally between team members.
  • Internet Access to the Scientific American Archives for the winner’s school for 12 months.
  • High Speed (as available) internet access for the winner’s school for 12 months.
  • A personalized Lego color mosaic of each winner on the team.
  • First choice at one of the Lifetime Experience Prizes.**

2nd & 3rd Place

  • A $25,000 Google educational scholarship, split equally between team members.
  • Internet Access to the Scientific American Archives for the winner’s school for 12 months.
  • Random selection of one of the remaining Lifetime Experience Prizes.**
  • The same prize as the runner-ups below.
15 semi-finalists will receive:
  • A Lego Goodie Bag
  • A Google Goodie Bag (Chrome Notebook + Android Phone)
  • A subscription to Scientific American magazine for 12 months.

Peoples Choice Award Prize

The “most popular” entry will win $10,000 Google Scholarship, split equally between teammates.*

*We’re not really sure how the people’s choice award will be chosen at this point.

**Lifetime Experience Prizes:
These are the prizes that the 1st place and 2 finalist teams will receive one of.  The 1st place winner will get to pick which one he wants to go on before the other two are randomly chosen.

  • A 3 day expense paid trip to the Google research site in Zurich.  This will involve a tour, and hands on interaction.
  • A 3 day expense paid trip to the CERN laboratory in Switzerland.  Students will get to take part in experiments involving the Large Hadron Collider and other exciting physics experiments.
  • A 1 year internship to Lego’s official Research and Development division.  The students will literally get to aid in the design of new Legos even name products as they are launched.
  • A 3 day expense paid trip to the Scientific American magazine’s office in New York.  For three days they will get to follow the Editor in Chief around and learn how an international magazine is put together.
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So what do you think? Is the Google Science fair worth the effort?  When I look at the prizes, I would say it is.  However, Google is not exempt from the criticism that other Science fairs have received.  Many kids have parents who are more than willing to assist them with their project, and you can bet that this creates an unfair advantage.  But on the other hand, being part of this project can be a great experience, even if you don’t win.  I kind of like the idea of those bragging rights; “Yeah I competed in the very first Google Science fair, my project was all over YouTube…”

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