Statistics Judging at the 2002 Southeast Michigan Science Fair March 8, 2002 

On Friday evening 3/8/02, five DCASA members served as Special Award Judges in Statistics at this 44th annual regional science fair, held at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI. The DCASA Statistics Judges were led by David Fluharty (Chapter Education Committee Chair), and included Les Koska (Chapter Past President), Ellen Barnes (Chapter President Elect), Lance Heilbrun (Chapter Representative), and Karry Roberts (Chapter Secretary). David has performed this community service for 12 years now, Les for 4, Ellen and Lance for 3 each, and Karry for the first time.

The Statistics Judging was done in partnership with another group of volunteers from the Ann Arbor Chapter of ASA, led by John Gillespie. That group also included Marilyn Agin (current Ann Arbor Chapter President), and about 5 graduate students from the University of Michigan who were invited by John Gillespie to participate. We merged our efforts into a single team of Statistics Judges.

There were approximately 300 exhibits on display, from the Senior (high school) and Junior (middle school) Divisons combined. Within each Divison, we each reviewed different subgroups (e.g., Physics and Engineering, Earth Science, Biology, etc.), taking note of the quantity and quality of usage of Statistics in each exhibit. The Statistics Judges gave out many small Certificates of Recognition, for even modest statistical thinking and/or content. We also gave out a few small Certificates of Merit to the exhibits showing the best use of Statistics. The goal of this phase of the judging is to recognize and encourage students to use Statistics in their academic endeavors, and to think statistically.

Those in the latter category were then reviewed by the entire group of Statistics Judges after a quick presentation by the respective initial judge, with discussion of the particular statistical aspects of the exhibit. Finally, the second phase of judging began: a group conference and consensus process which identified 2 exhibits showing outstanding usage of Statistics. Those 2 students received a large special certificate and a copy of a book (The Tea Tasting Experiment). An additional 5 students’ exhibits were chosen as meritorious, and they received an appropriate large certificate, plus a copy of the book entitled “A Cartoon Guide to Statistics”. All of the judges still present at that late hour signed the books of each of these 7 winners who demonstrated very good (or excellent) use of Statistics in their Southeast Michigan Science Fair project.