Scientific Inquiry

Scientific Inquiry icon for STEM Expo

Please note: The category descriptions have changed this year, and we are still in the process of updating our Rubrics for STEM Expo 5  (March 7, 2015) - these should be complete soon!.


Scientific Inquiry is the basic experimentation category and covers Scientific
Methodology, Research, Hypothesis, Experiment Design, Data Collection and Analysis.

Scientific Inquiry requires students to use higher order thinking skills as they learn science using a hands-on minds-on approach.

Pertinent Information and Definitions

Scientific Method

The Scientific Method is a fundamental part of this category. It is, in essence, a sequence of operation for any Scientific Inquiry. The steps are:

  • Ask a testable question.
  • Research the topic.
  • Make a hypothesis about the outcome based on that research and/or the entrant’s own knowledge.
  • Design the investigation.
  • Conduct the investigation.
  • Collect data.
  • Make sense of the data and draw a conclusion.

Entry, Review, and Judging

An entry in this category will be reviewed and judged on the following:

  • General requirements and judging points
  • The scientific method (including completeness of thought processes and presentation of cause and effect)
  • Preparation and display of information about the entry

Additional items which will affect the review and judging conclusions

  • Presentation of the inquiry findings for peer review.
  • Understanding of how the inquiry relates to broader scientific principles and real world applications
  • Originality and/or innovative approaches or concepts


Please review the judging rubric for this category for other items that may be considered.