PUTTING TOGETHER A SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT
adapted from Student Guide created by Dr. Maung Htoo, 2005
WHEN SHOULD I START MY PROJECT?
Start as soon as possible and no later than January 5, 2019.
- CHOOSE A TOPIC
Think about something that interests or fascinates you. Oftentimes, these ideas may come from hobbies or problems that need solutions. Speak with your science teacher and/or adult sponsor to discuss ideas for your chosen topic.
The internet or your local library is an excellent resource that you should use to learn everything you can on your topic. If necessary, you can always email businesses for specific information or questions that you may have.
- NARROW DOWN YOUR TOPIC
Organize everything you have learned about your topic and narrow your hypothesis by focusing on a specific idea.
- CREATE A TIMETABLE
We can’t stress this enough. As Thomas Edison said, “What it boils down to is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Look at the calendar and circle important dates. Your topic should not only interest you but more importantly, your project needs to be done in the amount of time you have. Allow plenty of time for experimenting and collecting data. Also, remember to leave enough time to put together a thoughtful exhibit.
- YOUR RESEARCH PLAN
Carefully plan and detail your experimental design. Your research plan should explain step-by-step how your experiments will be conducted and exactly what will be involved.
- CONSULT AND GET APPROVALS
Familiarize yourself with our Rules & Guidelines tab to make sure your experiment is compliant. Inform your science teacher / adult sponsor about your research plan and obtain all necessary approvals before embarking on your project.
- CONDUCT YOUR EXPERIMENT
Use a “Project Data” notebook to maintain detailed notes of every single experiment, measurement, and observation. Include control experiments in which none of the variables are changed. (Be sure to bring your notebook to the Fair; you may need to refer to it to answer questions.)
- EXAMINE YOUR RESULTS
After you have completed your experiments, you will examine and organize your findings. Ask yourself, “Did my experiments provide the expected results? Why or why not? Did I perform my experiment in the same exact manner each time? Are there other explanations that I may have not considered or observed? Were there errors?” Remember that understanding errors and reporting that a suspected variable did not change the results can be valuable information. If possible, statistically analyze your data.
- DRAW CONCLUSIONS
Did you collect enough data? Which were your important variables? Are the results reproducible? Do you need to conduct more experiments? Be sure to keep an open mind and never alter results to fit a theory. If your results do not support your hypothesis, you still have accomplished successful scientific research.
To participate in the Science & Engineering Fair, please complete and submit an application at: https://goo.gl/forms/WksWZrhtdSkOV9h52 by MARCH 10, 2019.
All Intel ISEF forms can be downloaded at: https://student.societyforscience.org/intel-isef-forms. While we will not be collecting these, please complete and retain these for your records.
- Only one exhibit per student / group may be entered. Exhibit must be the work of the student(s) whose name(s) were submitted during registration. The research must be done between September 2018 and March 2019.
- Exhibit is not to exceed 15 inches deep, front to back; 48 inches wide, side to side; and 5 feet high above the table top. Display materials must fit on the table in front of your board. This space is approximately 15” by 24”.
- The exhibit must be self-supporting with or without an attached base. No exhibit can be mechanically attached to table-tops.
- If the student’s name or school appears on an exhibit, it must be covered with masking tape during judging. Awards won at school science fairs are not to be displayed.
- Use of heavy cardboard is recommended.
- Active internet / email connections are not permitted.
- Exhibitors requiring electricity for their exhibit must make such request in their application. Please note that we have limited electrical outlets and may not be able to accommodate your request.
- Electrical Safety:
- Batteries with open top cells are not permitted. High voltage equipment must be shielded with a grounded metal box or cage to prevent accidental contact.
- Large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices must be shielded.
- High voltage wiring, switches and metal parts must be located out of reach of observers and designed with an adequate overload safety factor.
- Electrical circuits for 110-volt AC must have an Underwriters Laboratories approved cord of proper load carrying capacity, which is at least 6-feet long and equipped with standard grounded plug.
- All wiring must be properly insulated. Nails, tacks, or uninsulated staples must not be used to fasten wiring.
- Bare wire and exposed knife switches may be used only on circuits of 12 volts or less; otherwise, standard enclosed switches are required.
- Electrical connections in 110-volt circuits must be soldered or fixed under approved connectors.
- Connecting wires must be properly insulated.
- Any exhibit producing temperatures about 100°C (212°F) must be adequately insulated from its surroundings.
- The use of open flame, combustibles, flammable chemicals or liquids and hazardous substances are prohibited. Examples of hazardous substances for public display are live disease-causing organisms, microbial cultures, or fungi, caustic and acid chemicals. If your exhibit normally incorporates such materials, replace them with harmless substitutes such as colored water, salt, sand, etc. labeled with the name of the material for which substitution has been made.
- Combustion-fuel-operated machinery must have fuel tanks emptied and purged with carbon dioxide before being brought into the exhibit building. Fuel tanks must be sealed by lock or wire.
- Containers for water or other fluids must be water-tight and where necessary, ample drip pans for condensation must be provided.
- Only Class II and III lasers with appropriate safety measures may be displayed and operated. Class III and IV lasers may be used for display purposes only.
- All controlled substances (drugs, chemicals, anesthetics, etc.) must be acquired and used according to existing local, state, and federal laws.
- All experiments involving vertebrate animals, human subjects, and recombinant DNA must conform by the rules of International Science and Engineering Fair and must be approved by the Science Review Committee before starting the experiment. Please have your science teacher email Lydia Chan (email@example.com) for clarification if needed.
- No animals (dead or alive) or animal parts of any kind will be allowed with the project at the fair.
- All tools and equipment for setting up the exhibits must be supplied by the student.
- Each exhibitor must remain with the exhibit during judging hours and is personally responsible for seeing that the exhibit remains in repair.
- At the end of the judging, the exhibitor will be responsible for removal of all chemicals, or substances that could be picked up. Specifically, any item that may be damaged by, dangerous to, or removable by the public, must be removed.
- All exhibits are entered at the risk of the exhibitor. Neither the sponsors of the Fair nor the management can assume responsibility for any loss or damage.
- All exhibits and exhibitors must remain through the end of the Fair.
- All exhibitors must refrain from disorder conduct and must eat in designated areas only.
Strict adherence to the rules is required of all exhibitors. Rule violations automatically make exhibitor ineligible for awards and may cause removal of the exhibit.
Judges will include prominent scientists, engineers, educators, and professional people from the local community. Heavy emphasis will be placed on scientific thought and creative ability as described below. An experiment should be a major part of the work wherever possible. Experimental procedure, results, discussion and conclusion must be recorded properly. The project must be done with little or no assistance from others. When necessary, the experiment must be repeated more than once to establish the validity of the results.
SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT (30 POINTS) – Does the exhibit show a verification of laws, a cause and effect, or is there a presentation of models or methods which give a better understanding of scientific facts and theories? Does it clearly demonstrate an important scientific concept?
CREATIVE ABILITY (30 POINTS) – Creativity in the development of concepts, design, construction and application of the equipment, analysis and interpretation of data and approaches to solving the problem.
SKILLS (15 POINTS) – Does the student exhibit the skills required to do all the work necessary to obtain the data which support the project? This includes design, laboratory, computational and observation skills. How much help was needed from others? Was the equipment built independently by the student?
THOROUGHNESS (15 POINTS) – Does the project carry out its purposes to completion? Are the conclusions based on a single experiment or a series of replications? How complete is the notebook or recording of the data?
CLARITY (10 POINTS) – How clearly is the student able to describe and discuss the project? Is the speech memorized with little understanding of principles? Will the average person understand what is being displayed?
The Science & Engineering Fair will be held on April 14, 2019 (12:00 pm - 4:00 pm) at New York Military Academy, 78 Academy Avenue, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520.
More information will be added to the page in the upcoming months so please stay tuned!
General Inquiry: Lydia Chan
Phone: (845) 534-3710 ext. 4210
Science Buddies has a very useful and comprehensive guide for Science and Engineering projects. We highly recommend that you spend some time exploring it at: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair