It goes like this...
Testing the situation, I say... "This is a fraud." The student looks baffled, so I back away and continue my rounds about the science fair. It is far from a high powered event, but it does allow students to explore a topic which they love.
I asked staff to pick their favorite exhibit.
Most staff chose a student who explored the Golden ratio.
Is this irrational number real? Yes.
The student had clearly impressed the masses. He had done it through great effort, however, he had not done thorough research.
I saw him at the end of the school day. I said that I had a meeting and had to run. I handed him an article by a mathematician, who wrote about the improper usage of the Golden Ratio (including examples the student had used). I asked him to read it and consider whether he deserved a prize.
I ended up staying late at work so we could chat before I left. I had provided a time bomb to his brain and I wanted to touch base. So I waited in the garden while he was in a meeting.
When he arrived after his meeting, I spoke of the Golden Mean and how science needs to be centered to be beautiful. I showed him the pile of ballots with his name. Praised him for his hard work. And then told him that in the realm of science he had failed. He had shown examples that have been proved wrong. I asked him to write an essay looking at the Golden Ratio from the center. I told him to learn from this experience. Tomorrow when the essay completes his project, he will win first prize.