Mission Pointers


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Interested in becoming a National Finalist Team and traveling to the Washington Metro Area, for the National Judging and Educational Event? Check out the following pointers from previous winners, Team Advisors and Virtual Judges.

For additional pointers on developing your Mission Folder, use the "Help" section and collaboration tools on Team Talk.

Team Advisors

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Pointers from: Winning Team Advisors
To: eCYBERMISSION Team Advisors

  • Incorporate eCYBERMISSION into your classroom. Use it to teach scientific inquiry and scientific practices.
  • Allow your students to choose their own Mission Challenge so they are vested in the work that lies ahead.
  • Help the team schedule their time so they don't get overwhelmed or try to take on too much. The Team Advisor's guide and Virtual Lesson Plan have good worksheets for this.
  • Stay engaged in your team's progress. Make sure the project is appropriately scoped and help them work as a team.
  • Review the team's Mission Folder before they submit it for scoring. You are not required to do this, but your team will thank you!
  • Make sure your team's hypothesis aligns with their solution and that it is testable, measurable and repeatable.


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Pointers from: Winning Students

  • Set up a structured meeting schedule with your team and try to meet several times a week if possible. This helped our team get everything done.
  • Start working on your Mission Folder as early as possible and use it as a way to keep notes in one central location.
  • Don't hold back and don't be afraid to take chances. No idea is too outrageous and any idea could possibly turn out to be a good solution to your problem.
  • Be committed to your project and do not do it halfway. The more time you put into it, the better your Mission Folder will be.
  • Use the eCYBERMISSION website judging criteria to figure out what the Virtual Judges are looking for in the submissions.
  • Ask your Team Advisor to attend your team meetings, help you find workspace and lab equipment you can use and review your work.
  • Ask your parents, neighbors and relatives to help put you in touch with experts on your problem.
  • Compromise, teamwork and flexibility were big parts of our project. You cannot always get your way, so you have to be flexible.

Virtual Judges

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Pointers from: Virtual Judges

  • Your hypothesis is the foundation for your entire Mission Folder. Allow enough time to develop a thorough hypothesis. Talk to your science teacher and consult the CyberGuides for help.
  • Answers to your Mission Folder questions need to be an appropriate length. One-line answers are usually not enough and 100 lines might be too much. Try to answer the questions accurately and thoroughly, but be concise and avoid including extraneous information.
  • Collaboration and teamwork is an important aspect of the competition but it can be difficult to describe when responding to the Mission Folder question. Be thorough in your explanation of how you and your teammates worked together - providing a single statement, such as "we worked together a lot," is not enough!
  • Be sure spelling and grammar are correct. Spelling and grammatical errors distract Virtual Judges from the content of your Mission Folder. Be sure to check and recheck your answers. Have parents, friends and teachers review your Mission Folder before you submit.
  • If your project includes a survey, make sure that you do more than just ask your friends a few questions. There is a scientific way to design and conduct a survey. The projects that use professional survey methods are stronger and have good data to support their hypotheses.
  • When presenting your data, it is a good idea to include graphs and tables to show what you have found, but it is also important to explain what it means. A common mistake is that teams only include these visual elements and neglect to provide written explanation. The explanation gives Virtual Judges a more complete understanding of the data that you have collected.
  • Work with the CyberGuides! CyberGuides are eCYBERMISSION Volunteers whose sole purpose is to help you succeed! If you have questions about your experiments, project, hypothesis, or anything else then be sure to touch base with a CyberGuide on Team Talk.
  • References are important but be sure you're only including relevant sources. Virtual Judges check the sources that you list. If the list is so big that some sources don't have much to do with your project, it takes away from the value of your data.
  • Although not required, providing attachments can definitely add to the quality of a Mission Folder. Just be careful ‚Ķlike sources, having too many attachments can have the reverse effect. Be sure to only include what is relevant. An example of too many attachments might be including 15 pictures of the same thing, just from different angles.
  • Be sure that your sources are diverse. Virtual Judges like when the sources included are varied (such as books, websites, newspapers, interviews, magazines, etc.). This shows the Virtual Judges that you were thorough in your research.

National Judges

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Pointers from: National Judges

  • Read through the entire list of Mission Folder questions before you start writing.
  • A well-crafted hypothesis is essential to developing a winning Mission Folder.
  • Community experts are there for you; seek out different points of view.
  • If you're going to use a survey, make sure it is well designed. And don't just survey a couple of classmates!
  • Choose attachments wisely; use only those that enhance the Mission Folder.
  • Clear and concise writing is an advantage - Spelling counts!
  • Judges are interested in what you say. Select your words carefully.