Scientific Inquiry

Scientific Inquiry icon for STEM Expo

The rules and information presented below are for STEM Expo 5 (March 7th 2015).

Rules and information for STEM Expo 6 (March 5th, 2016)
will be released on December 1st 2015.

Although there will be changes, the general concepts (and most of the details) of the rules will remain the same as the 2015 event. But be sure to get the current rules after they are released!



Scientific Inquiry is the basic experimentation category where a question is asked,
a hypothesis is created, an investigation is performed, and a conclusion is reached.

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.