INFORMATION FOR PARENTS & TEACHERS
Please read the following from the director of the regional fair:
General Info and WEBSITES for Science & Engineering Fair Participants
First of all, a brief explanation of some terms and the structure of the fair:
1) Students generally first compete at their own local school (or through homeschool).
2) The schools may or may not require forms to be filled out for the science fair – HOWEVER, if the student wins and advances on to other levels, the official ISEF forms will be required and SOME of those are “supposed” to be filled out BEFORE the student ever even begins work. So, if (s)he advances, it is important to check dates on the forms to make sure the ones that are supposed to be filled out beforehand have an earlier date than the ones about the actual experiment.
3) If students win at their schools, they advance on to the regional fair at WCU. (The state is divided into regions – we are in Region 8).
4) At this point, they must register through an online site called STEMWIZARD. The software will help with figuring out the forms.
5) If students win a high-enough award at WCU, they advance on to the state fair held in Raleigh (the NCSEF – North Carolina State & Engineering Fair). They will not have to reload forms – the forms located in the software will be forwarded by WCU to that level. The forms are checked at both levels, and you may be contacted to correct something or provide further information.
6) If students win at the state level, they go on to the highest level of the fair – the ISEF (International Science & Engineering Fair) competition! This is the big leagues! Some amazing scholarship money is handed out for the winners here, along with international recognition.
Here are the relevant websites:
This site walks you through the ISEF forms. When you have an idea for what you will do for your experiment, and BEFORE you do the experiment, go through this online wizard to help you see what forms you will need if you go to the WCU fair. Some forms need to be filled out BEFORE starting your work. You may also find out that your type of idea is not even allowed due to safety reasons. These rules are set by the ISEF international committee.
This pages gives the list of rules (for ethical and safety reasons), along with links to the actual forms you’ll need. If you need to see this in Spanish, please go to the following page and scroll down to find the links to information in Espanol/Spanish:
This is where you will actually sign up for the regional fair held at WCU (if you win at your local school level). On this site, there is software that will walk you through what forms you need (really just a version of the ISEF wizard). These are the same forms that are described on the ISEF site. You will be required to load them electronically. If you are taking photos of your forms, please make sure the photos are clear and upright (not upside down/sideways) when loaded.
This site gives general information about coming to the WCU regional fair (parking, where to eat, schedule for the day, etc.)
This site gives general information about the state level fair in Raleigh (parking, food, etc.)
One thing that often confuses students is the ABSTRACT. An abstract is simply a very brief explanation to explain what you did and what results you got, without a lot of details. Here is an example:
“In this experiment, we wanted to find out if brushing a horse would calm it down. To measure this, we decided to measure the heart rate of the horse after brushing for various intervals of times. We measured an initial heart rate before brushing, then started brushing the animal. We continued brushing for 10 minutes and measured the heart rate every two minutes. We discovered that the heart rate went down over the first few minutes of brushing, but after that remained steady. From this data, we concluded that the brushing did calm the horse, but that there was a lower limit of heart rate and after this, brushing didn’t change it.”
Good luck on your projects – the most important things are to learn something about the process of science and have fun!