Things to Consider

What will make a winning video abstract? While it's hard to say what the winning videos will look like, you can take a look at our judging rubrics for both the initial selection of video finalists (Wave 1) and selection of winners by middle school students (Wave 2) to see what the Ocean 180 team and students will be looking for.

1. Your audience. Ocean 180 challenges you to develop a video explaining your research to middle school students. Thus, student judges are typically between 11-14 years old. During middle school science classes, the scientific method is introduced and most kids get their first experience conducting experiments. You may want to consult with a local middle school teacher or visit a nearby classroom to find out more about what makes middle school students "tick".

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2. Vocabulary. Middle school science introduces new vocabulary to students, like "photosynthesis", "chlorophyll", and "cellular respiration". Yet, many scientific terms will be unfamilar to your audience, so be careful about the terminology you use to describe your research. It doesn't need to be over simplified, but when necssary, explain words or phrases that might be new to middle school students.

3. Where do you work? Think back to your middle school science class. It probably had at least one lab bench, beakers and hotplates galore, maybe a cabinet of vinegar, sugar, salt, and baking powder. There was the occasional frog or fish in a dissection tray, and sometimes a trip outside. Science in middle school is contained to school. It's in a classroom or on the soccer field. Show students where you do science. Is it on a reef? Out on a boat? At a computer or in a chemistry lab? Take your audience to work with you, show them science beyond a Petri dish and beaker.

4. Share who you are! Students are curious about who scientists are. Tell (and show) them a little about yourself and how you got you interested in the topic of your abstract. 

5. Inspire. Not all students who view your video are going to grow up to be scientists. For some, science might be their least favorite subject. Your video doesn't need to convice the audience to love science or even your research, but it can still inspire them. Sharing your research, personality, and experiences could inspire dozens of students to work hard, follow their passion, or just look at their world a little differently. When creating your video, imagine how many students you could impact in those 180 seconds. 


By the Numbers

Over 40,000 students in 50 US states, the US Virgin Islands, and 25 countries participated as judges in the 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge.