How to put an entry together

There are 3 components to the plant science competition:

  1. Plant Science Project Awards: A series of hands-on experiments and activities about a given topic designed to increase students' knowledge, awareness and interest in the topic and agricultural science in general.
  2. Art in AgRiculTure Awards: An art project with a theme related to the topic studied in the Plant Science Project Awards. Students link science and art in a fun, interesting and creative way to enhance their learning of the given topic. Students can choose to complete one or both components of the competition (both are recommended).
  3. QuestaGame ‘Pest Invaders ’ BioQuest: Play the world’s first mobile game that takes students outdoors to discover, map and ultimately help protect life on our planet. Student’s sightings contribute to real research and conservation.

You can choose to complete one, two or all three sections (recommended).

Contact our Customer Service Centre for the full competition-information-and-instructions document, which outlines the requirements for the various experiments and activities, plus other required resources.

Preparing your project entry

As this is a science competition, we would like to see students set out their research information and experiment/activity results in a scientific report or poster format as outlined below.

A separate science journal must be included with your scientific report entry.

Keeping a science journal

A science journal is a record of observations, experiences and reflections. It contains a series of dated entries which may include thoughts, ideas, notes, drawings, labelled diagrams, photographs, tables and graphs. You can use an exercise book or diary for your journal recording, or a suitable electronic program such as OneNote. The science journal is a separate document to your final scientific report.

Using a science journal provides an opportunity for students to be engaged in a real science situation as they keep a record of their observations, ideas and thoughts about the project.

The science journal is a useful assessment tool if you are considering using the competition project for a curriculum activity.

Layout of scientific reports

Scientific reports are used to communicate the results of science experiments and have a formalised structure usually consisting of the following sections:

  • Title: Either a title page or a main heading.
  • Abstract: Paragraph summarising the project and tasks.
  • Introduction: Predictions or hypothesis, aims of the experiment(s), background information on the topic.
  • Materials and methods: How you set up your experiment(s) and activities and the materials used.
  • Results: A factual account of your findings, observations made, data displayed in tables/graphs, photos/samples/sketches of results.
  • Discussion or conclusion: Interpretation and explanation of your experiment results. Compare outcomes to original hypothesis, explore the importance/significance of your results, compare how your results relate to agricultural/environmental issues and current information on the topic, outline any new research questions that your results have suggested, include answers to questions outlined with each competition activity (if applicable), and suggestions for improving the experiments and how you’d do it differently next time.
  • References or bibliography: Alphabetical list of books, magazines, journals, websites, interviews, etc. that were used to source information for your report.
  • Appendices: Other relevant information that is not essential to explain your findings but supports your results and conclusions (for example: interview question/answer sheets, notes from farm/industry visits), also include results of extra activities/experiments completed.

Note:  If you're aligning this project to the Australian Curriculum, you may need to follow a different scientific report writing format than mentioned above. You're welcome to use alternative reporting structures to meet your curriculum requirements.

Layout of scientific posters

Scientific posters are usually designed electronically, using programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint (or specific desktop publishing programs) and are presented in the following format:

  • 1 single page (not double sided)
  • page direction set to ‘portrait’
  • file saved to PDF for ease of transferring to peers/teachers for review and for ease of emailing to commercial printers for printing at the required size (A0 for most industry conferences). However, for our competition requirements, you only need to set/print posters to A4 or A3 size (to suit standard laser printers).

Just like scientific reports, scientific posters usually contain the same heading structure and contain minimal important information, photos, graphs and diagrams that summarise your experiment findings and research:

  • Title (experiment title)
  • Author/s (list the student/s involved, year levels and school name, plus a photo of the author(s) if permissions allow)
  • Introduction (aims/hypothesis of the experiment, background research on the topic)
  • Materials and methods (how you set up the experiments/activities and the materials used)
  • Results (summary of observations, table/graph of the results, diagrams, photos)
  • Conclusion/Discussion (interpretation and explanation of the experiment results)
  • References (list of reference materials used in your research)
  • Acknowledgements (list of people who assisted you, eg, your teacher, classmates, school gardener, parents, farmers or professionals you may have interviewed)
  • Contact information (your name (if permissions allow), year level, school name, school phone number, school logo/emblem).

Please take a look at our factsheet series that provides useful information, as outlined above, and some extra tips on how to:

Presentation of your scientific report

The following formats are acceptable in any combination:

  • Hard copy: Word processed or neatly hand written documents. Stapled, bound or presented in display folder.
  • Electronic files: Compatible with Windows, Microsoft program software, e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Publisher or convert files to PDF saved to CD, USB stick, or emailed.
  • Posters: Electronically designed or hand written text on cardboard sheets (ideal for young students).
  • Videos or DVDs:  Ensure the sound quality is loud and clear and try to limit the duration to no more than 5 minutes.

Project entry format

The following items need to be submitted to form a complete entry in the competition:

  • Hard copy: Word processed or neatly handwritten documents. Stapled, bound or presented in display folder.
  • Electronic files: Compatible with Microsoft Windows software, e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Publisher or convert files to PDF.  You can submit electronic files via email (if under a combined file size of 10MB), USB stick, or via online platforms such as OneDrive, DropBox, etc.
  • Posters: Electronically designed or handwritten on cardboard sheets (ideal for young students).
  • Video recordings: Ensure the visual and sound quality is loud and clear and limit the duration to no more than 5 minutes.

Competition entry submission checklist

The following items need to be submitted to form a complete entry in the competition.

  1. Plant Science Project Awards (if entering this section):
    • reports/posters/etc. for completed tasks
    • 1 separate science journal
  2. AgRiculTure (art in agriculture) Awards (if entering this section):
    • original artwork(s) (recommended) or
    • video, electronic or hard copy photo of the artwork(s)
  1. Sightings for QuestaGame ‘Pest Invaders’ BioQuest (if entering this section):
    • Submitted via the QuestaGame mobile gaming app
  2. Conference Award Application (applicable only to high-school students, years 10 to 12) – if wishing to apply for these Awards
  3. FEAST Camp application (applicable only to high-school students, 15 years and over) – if wishing to apply for these Scholarships
  4. Online competition entry form
  5. Queensland Government consent form (PDF, 411.6KB) (if unable to complete the on-line competition entry submission form)

All items that form your entry must be clearly labelled with the student's name, year level and school name and submitted to the Hermitage Research Facility, 604 Yangan Road, Warwick Qld 4370 by the closing date.

Do you need your entry returned?

Please specify on the online competition entry submission form if you would like your entries returned. Entries can be collected at the close of the annual Awards Day & Agricultural Science Expo in August, or alternatively will be returned by post in due course.

We may specifically ask for some science and art entries to be kept on display at the Hermitage Research Facility. Any entries that are not required to be sent back to schools may also be placed on display.

Examples of past prize-winning competition entries