STS Resources

STS Judge Information
  • Judging for STS is a great opportunity for professional development. It can be in person or online and requires a minimum of 4 contact hours in early August. 
  • Judges Portal
Forms

You can use these forms to collect Entry (project) and Judge details.

STS 2024 Promotional Poster
About Class Experimental Research Projects

Class Projects are only available for primary schools.

Age divisions include:

  • Lower Primary (F-Year 2)
  • Middle Primary (Year 3-4)
  • Upper Primary (Year 5-6)

More Information

STS Professional Development Kit for Teachers

Professional development kits are available on request for teachers. Please email [email protected] using your school email.

STS has been mapped to the Victorian Curriculum

Download the Matrix

STS Committee

The Science Talent Search competition is run almost entirely by a volunteer committee. Each year 25-30 dedicated teachers or ex-teachers donate their valuable time to administering judging, running Exhibition and Presentation Day, and overseeing the competition rules and guidelines.

Without the committee, the competition cannot operate.

By joining the STS committee you will be helping to ensure that the competition continues to run. Just as importantly you will be having direct input into the way in which it operates and helping to maintain and improve its quality. You will gain in-depth insights into how the competition runs and the rationale behind its requirements. You will also better understand the standards required for bursary-winning projects.

There are also other professional learning and networking benefits. Being on the committee provides a wealth of professional learning opportunities, ranging from coordination and management skills, assessment skills, public speaking, communication and relationship building skills, to the opportunity to network with colleagues from other schools.

Your role on committee will benefit STS and its students, it will help you to develop professionally, and it will allow you to directly contribute to your professional association – the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria Inc.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please email [email protected] 

2024 Theme & Topics

The 2024 Theme is Species Survival: more than just sustainability

Theme and topics MUST be followed for the following two sections (categories)

  • Creative Writing
    • Primary
      1. The Last Dance of the Fireflies: Illuminating the Path
      to Species Survival.
      2. The Unseen Heroes: The Secret Lives of Urban Wildlife.
      3. The Little Penguin’s Quest: Saving the Krill for the
      Ocean Creatures.
      4. Paving the Schoolyard: How the children saved
      the species in their schoolyard.
    • Secondary
      1. I am an endangered species and humans are tracking me
      using eDNA.
      2. My innovation to convert weeds into a sustainable industry.
      3. The Time Traveler’s Guide to Protecting Endangered Species.
      4. A Chronicle of a Resilient Species: following the journey
      of a species navigating through changing environments,
      showcasing its adaptability and resilience.

  • Posters & Scientific Wallcharts
    • Primary
      1. Tracking species using eDNA
      2. Cutting-edge technologies aiding species survival beyond mere
      sustainability efforts.
      3. Exploring how indigenous cultural practices and beliefs
      influence species survival strategies.
      4. Analysing the impact of climate change on species survival and
      strategies to mitigate its effects.
    • Secondary
      1. How can AI assist species to survive and thrive?
      2. Exploring how indigenous cultural practices and beliefs
      influence species survival strategies.
      3. Analysing the impact of climate change on species survival and
      strategies to mitigate its effects.
      4. The Evolutionary Tapestry: the future evolution of a species,
      considering how it adapts to changing environments and
      human influences.
Creative Writing Resources

Below are two good examples of key science ideas and two poor examples. These examples have been provided to give you some guidance in understanding the type and depth of response required to satisfy this guideline for Creative Writing.

PRIMARY (Good example)

In chemical reactions chemical changes occur such as a change in colour, formation of bubbles, an increase or decrease in temperature or light given off and a new substance is formed.

PRIMARY (Poor example)

A chemical reaction in one where a chemical change occurs. For example, sodium carbonate reacts with vinegar.

SECONDARY (Good example)

In a chemical reaction, atoms are rearranged to form new products. For example, sodium metal reacts with water to produce sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. The new substances formed are the hydrogen gas, which produces bubbles and a pop test can be used to test its presence. Sodium hydroxide turns pink when phenothalein is added. Heat is also produced as it is an exothermic reaction.

SECONDARY (Poor example)

In chemical reaction there is a change of colour. For example sodium metal explodes in water and it fizzes.

Explanatory note

The good examples explain the concept thoroughly with definitions, explanations and description of relevant examples. The poor examples are too general, inaccurate and incomplete.

Posters & Scientific Wallchart Resources

Templates have been provided and can be used to refer or adapt to for your own poster and submitted in digital format. Power point is preferred.

If you are hand-drawing and pasting text/diagrams onto your poster, take CLEAR photos of your poster including:

  • At least one photo of the whole poster.
  • Close up of text AND diagrams.
  • Close up of acknowledgements, references, bibliography.

Remember: If you can’t read the text on the photos of your poster, then the judge can’t see it either.

Working Models and Inventions Resources

Some students need a place to start for what to include in their report for their Working Model or Invention. Click on the following links for a sample format. These are only guides, and students can use their own version.

Sample Working Models Report Format

Sample Inventions Report Format

Sample Risk Assessment Format

A risk assessment will be required for Experimental Research, Class Research Projects, Working Models and Inventions. If you don’t know where to start, a proforma is available to be used here.

Do you need to submit an Oral Presentation Video?

Students from country, regional and Jewish schools may not be able to attend a metropolitan venue for Judging Day due to distance and religious reasons.

You will also need to submit a video of your oral presentation.

For some guidelines on what to include in your oral presentation, please check here.

Assessment Rubrics

2024 Rubrics for each of the sections (categories) are provided below.

Content coming soon

STS Judge Information
  • Judging for STS is a great opportunity for professional development. It can be in person or online and requires a minimum of 4 contact hours in early August. 
  • Judges Portal
Forms

You can use these forms to collect Entry (project) and Judge details.

STS 2024 Promotional Poster
About Class Experimental Research Projects

Class Projects are only available for primary schools.

Age divisions include:

  • Lower Primary (F-Year 2)
  • Middle Primary (Year 3-4)
  • Upper Primary (Year 5-6)

More Information

STS Professional Development Kit for Teachers

Professional development kits are available on request for teachers. Please email [email protected] using your school email.

STS has been mapped to the Victorian Curriculum

Download the Matrix

STS Committee

The Science Talent Search competition is run almost entirely by a volunteer committee. Each year 25-30 dedicated teachers or ex-teachers donate their valuable time to administering judging, running Exhibition and Presentation Day, and overseeing the competition rules and guidelines.

Without the committee, the competition cannot operate.

By joining the STS committee you will be helping to ensure that the competition continues to run. Just as importantly you will be having direct input into the way in which it operates and helping to maintain and improve its quality. You will gain in-depth insights into how the competition runs and the rationale behind its requirements. You will also better understand the standards required for bursary-winning projects.

There are also other professional learning and networking benefits. Being on the committee provides a wealth of professional learning opportunities, ranging from coordination and management skills, assessment skills, public speaking, communication and relationship building skills, to the opportunity to network with colleagues from other schools.

Your role on committee will benefit STS and its students, it will help you to develop professionally, and it will allow you to directly contribute to your professional association – the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria Inc.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please email [email protected] 

General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Entering STS:
How do I enter?

Entries are submitted by School Coordinators on behalf of students at their school. Check the STS Handbook for more information.

I didn’t receive a handbook. Can you send me one?

The STS Handbook is available online

Do I have to follow the yearly STS theme? Do I have to do the set topics?

Each year there is a theme for the Science Talent Search, usually based on the National Science Week theme. For Experimental Research, Games, Working Models, Inventions, Computer Programs – Games & Simulations, Science Photography and Video Productions you can choose your own theme and specific topic.

For Creative Writing and Posters – Scientific Wall Charts you MUST choose one of the set topics. The set topics are outlined in the current year’s handbook and these are the ONLY topics that will be judged.

What happens if I don’t follow all of the guidelines?

You may be disadvantaged during judging.

We know the project type and title but will be unable to provide the students names. Is it possible to enter with project type, age group, and school and forward the names and project titles shortly after?

No. We must have all student names and project titles at the time entry registration closes. All details must be completed online.

One of my students has changed the title of their project. Can you please alter your records?

Contact the STS team via email [email protected] 

One of my students has dropped out after entering. Can I get a refund?

Unfortunately no. The entry fee is to cover the costs of processing entries and general administration of the competition. It would cost us more than your original entry fee to process your refund.

My child’s school is not willing to enter students this year. Can I enter my child as an independent entry?

All entries must submitted by a School Coordinator.

Can students work in pairs or groups?

Students can enter as “Individuals” or “Groups”. A group entry is two (2) students. The maximum of two students cannot be exceeded under any circumstances. The only exception is for the Class Research Project which is available to Lower Primary, Middle Primary and Upper Primary.

Can a student enter more than one project in the competition?

Yes, they can enter as many as they wish providing they are able to attend each appropriate judging venue, where necessary.

Can a student enter the same project in two different sections (eg. games & models)?

No, because they’re judged separately, often at different venues.

Can a student enter more than one project in the same section?

Yes.

Does the size restriction on entries apply to each individual entry?

Yes.

Can a year 4 student (Middle Primary) enter a project in the Junior category, for example?

This is not encouraged because the student must compete against students much older & complete a project of higher conceptual level. It may be appropriate for high achievers; however, bear in mind that all projects are open-ended and allow students to extend themselves as much as they wish within their own age division. They can also submit more than one project in more than one section.

Judging and Presentation Day:
I understand that I need to be a judge. The handbook mentions country judging but not the locations. Will there be a judging venue in my region?

Judging will be online or in metro locations. Further information will be made available.

My school only has one entry. Do we still have to provide a judge?

Yes you do. All schools entering must provide judges at the ratio of one judge to every 12 entries or part thereof.

We’re a metropolitan school. Can our judges be allocated to an online judging section so that they don’t need to attend Judging Day?

Coming Soon

I have to play in a final with my sporting team on Judging Day. Can I send my parents or a friend to submit my project on my behalf?

No, when you enter the competition you commit to the rules. One of the conditions for metropolitan students is that you attend Judging Day with your project, unless you have entered into one of the online judging sections.

Our school is on the outer fringe of Melbourne. Are we classified as metropolitan or non-metropolitan for judging purposes?

Metropolitan is defined as within 100km radius of the GPO.

I can’t attend the Presentation Day ceremony and I won a Bursary. Can you please post my medallion?

No, special medallions are presented as a gift to bursary winners who attend the Presentation Day ceremonies.

Other:
Why should I make the effort to ensure my bursary winning students write to their sponsor?

All prizes are funded by our sponsors. Sponsors like to feel that their money has been well spent. Showing appreciation in the form of a well written thank you note, or better still a personal thank you at Presentation Day encourages our sponsors to continue supporting the competition. This is direct feedback that reassures them that the competition promotes enjoyment of science.