Science Fair


Science Fair Timeline


September 7, 2012                   Parent letter signature portion due (10 points if on time 0 points if late) Partner letter due.


September 4-12, 2012             Look at,,,  or other sources for ideas.  Work on an idea bank.


September 12-13, 2012           Meet with Ms. Lannon.  Three (at least) complete ideas/questions are due.  Ideas must be approved before research begins (15 points).  To make sure the proposed project using humans, vertebrates or potentially hazardous biological agents is safe, the SRC needs to review the project details that pertain to safety risks and precautions BEFORE the student begins the experiment. On the endorsement request form the student explains the potentially hazardous aspects of the proposed project and what precautions are in place to prevent harm. Endorsement requests must be handed in to Ms. Lannon ASAP.


September 17-21, 2012           Work in class and at home on research, estimating experimental error, and use of the metric system.


October 1, 2012                      Research for the review of literature and reference list due handwritten in notebook (at least 12 sources) Hypothesis is due in notebook. The typed copy of the reference list is also due (50 points)    


October 1, 2012                      Work on review of literature, in text citations, and materials and methods of procedure in class.


October 8, 2012                      Review of literature rough draft due in notebook.  Must be handwritten (25 points).Materials and methods of procedure, variables, and experimental error plan are due in notebook. (25 points) Peer edit in class.


October 15, 2012                    Typed copy of review of literature and materials and methods of procedure are due (25 points)








October 15, 2012                    Experiment should be started no later than today…if approved by me.



 October 26, 2012                   Experiment needs to be finished

                                                Data is due in notebook

                                                (25 points)


October 29, 2012                    Work on analyzing data for the results section in class.


November2, 2012                    Results due in notebook and typed copy due (25 points)                                              

November 5-9, 2012               Work on abstract and conclusions in class


November 13, 2012                 Rough draft of conclusion and abstract due (25 points). Peer edit in class.


November 19, 2012                 Typed conclusion and abstract due (30 points)


November 26, 2012                 Students will be selected to compete in school science fair


December 5, 2012                   Check list due filled out by you and a parent (25 points)


December 5, 2012                   Final paper, notebook and folder (misc.

                                                papers) are due (100 points from checklist)


December 5, 2012                   Science fair

















All of the following sections of the paper should be included and in this order.


a. Abstract

The Abstract is a concise, one-page abbreviation of the Research Summary. It should contain only information or statements that are an inherent part of the Research Summary. This paper must use the exact form from the CPS Science Fair Handbook. The Abstract consists of three paragraphs (purpose, procedure, and conclusions) having a total of 200 words or fewer. The Abstract is required for allprojects. Words and phrases should be carefully chosen so that the full impact of the research is conveyed in the minimum number of words. The Abstract must be displayed on the front of the exhibitor’s display board.


b. Safety Sheet

The purpose of the Safety Sheet is to keep students aware of all actual and potential safety hazards. Describing hazards involved with the project on the Safety Sheet does not mean the project will be disqualified. The important issue is how the potential hazards were handled. A statement of the hazards encountered and precautions taken in the project is to be prepared by the student and signed by both the student and the sponsoring teacher. The Safety Sheet is foundCPS Science Fair Handbook.  The Safety Sheet is required for all projects and must be displayed on the front of the exhibitor’s display board.


c. Endorsement

Projects using humans, vertebrates or potentially hazardous biological agents often pose risks to the student researcher or the test subjects. For this reason, the plans for such projects must be reviewed by a team of qualified scientists and science teachers before experimentation begins. When permission is granted, the student is provided with a document called an endorsement. A copy of the endorsement(s) must be displayed on the front of the exhibitor’s display board.


d. Research Summary


i. Title Page: Following the CPS Science Fair Handbook guidelines.

ii. Table of Contents: The list of topics or matter contained in the paper, including page numbers.

iii. Acknowledgments: A listing of persons or agencies that gave the student guidance

and helped with this research. It may include a single individual, an organization, a

hospital, or some other agency.

iv. Purpose and Hypothesis: An explanation of what is to be accomplished by doing this

research. A description of the expected outcome should be included.










v. Review of Literature: A discussion of the background information that helps establish the hypothesis and explains procedures adapted for the experiment where necessary. Also

any similar research that helps establish the hypothesis or procedure. Other background

information about the topic that may help the reader understand the project should

also be included. Paraphrased information should be cited as such. No references to the

literature are to be placed in footnotes. Citation to particular pages in the text should

be in the form (Smith, 2002, p. 10); for a general citation in the text (Smith, 2002). This

citation should be placed at the end of the sentence to which it refers. The style for

citations is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association,

6th ed., (APA style) which is the official style manual for the Illinois Junior Academy

of Science. Materials with a copyright date within the last seven years should be used

whenever possible.

vi. Materials and Methods of Procedure: A listing of the materials used in the research. How the materials in the research problem were used should be included. The method used in research should be described in sufficient detail so that others may duplicate this work. Drawings and/or photographs are appropriate if they enhance or clarify the explanation.

vii. Results: A clear, concise presentation of all the data accumulated as a result of the

procedure, including data inconsistent with the hypothesis. All data is valuable. Drawings, charts, graphs, and other items pertinent to the project are important in conveying results and should be included. Caption all photographs. Label all drawings, charts, graphs. Include units of measurement. Always label axes of the graphs.

viii. Conclusions: A concise evaluation and interpretation of the data and results. Opinions of the results may be expressed in this section. The conclusions should be limited to results of the investigation and should refer to the stated purpose and hypothesis. The effects of experimental error should be estimated and considered while drawing conclusions.

ix. Reference List: A list of at least 12 published articles, books, and other communications, including works either quoted or paraphrased that are actually cited in the Review ofLiterature. Use the format described in the Publication Manual of the American PsychologicalAssociation, 6th ed. (APA style). The reference list should be presented alphabetically by author’s last name and should be placed at the end of the paper.












Additional rules for the research summary/paper

Use short, simple sentences in the third person point of view to clearly explain the project. Facts should be grouped logically without being repeated needlessly.


The Research Summary must be typed, using double spacing, on only one side of each sheet of paper, usinga standard font and size, such as Times New Roman and 10- or 12-point font size.


A margin of 2.5 cm (1”) must be maintained on the left and right sides, top, and bottom of each page. All pages must be numbered and referenced in the Table of Contents.


The student’s last name and the title of the project must be typed at the top left of the Table of Contents. Each subsequent page should have the student’s last name and title of the paper at the top left (Example, Smith: The Effect of Sunlight on Plants). Use the last name of the first student listed on the Abstract.

































Scientists have learned the importance of keeping careful records of their research. Most commonly this is done by recording experimental procedures and methods, observations, results, and comments in a notebook. The notebook has several purposes:

·         It is used as a place to track the thought process behind the science fair project. 

·         Your work is less likely to be lost or misplaced.

·         All the most important information for writing a paper or preparing a talk is gathered in one place.

·         It makes it easier for you or someone else to repeat your experiments much later, even long after you have forgotten exactly what you did or observed.

·         It is proof of the work you accomplished.

Here are the requirements for a scientific notebook:

·         Document thought process; how did you come up with the idea, why do you like it, etc…

·         Record all data

·         Include a written rough draft of paper (NOT TYPED AND PASTED)

·         Include all research

·         Place the date on all pages

·         Use a composition journal or spiral notebook, do not use a binder

·         Number each page

·         Save a few pages in the front of the book for a section headed "Table of Contents."

·         If the work you are doing is based on a published procedure or a repetition of a previous experiment, list the reference to the literature or previous notebook page

·         Record all observations even if they do not seem to be relevant at the time.

·         Record the units of measurement (inches versus centimeters makes a big difference!)



















Exhibit Guidelines for students selected to participate in the school fair


Display Design and Evaluation

The exhibit must not exceed dimensions of 76 cm deep and 122 cm wide. Build the

exhibit no higher than 122 cm. No overhang is allowed. If the scientific apparatus exceeds the height limit, use photographs to show what has been done. No part of the project may be placed on the floor.


• Keep the title of your project brief, captivating, and prominently visible on the exhibit. It may contain no more than 45 characters and spaces. Titles in excess of 45 characters will be shortened to fit into available space on the entry form.


• Make lettering neat and uncluttered. Make sure all words are spelled correctly.


• Determine the best way to present the research. The presentation may include graphs, charts, posters, 35 mm slides, PowerPoint presentations, videotape, transparencies, demonstration of apparatus, and other components. Attach a copy of your Abstract, Safety Sheet, and endorsement(s) (if necessary) to the front of your display board.


• Exhibits must conform to size limitations. No easels or tripods are allowed on the floor around the exhibit. Floor-mounted exhibits will not be considered for competition.


• Exhibits must be constructed so that wall space is not required. All exhibits must be freestanding. Objects may not be attached to draperies or the exhibitor identification sign. No lighting of any type may be used to illuminate the exhibit.


Presentation Tips

The exhibitor’s personal appearance adds to the attractiveness of the exhibit. Students should dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion.

• Be well versed in as many aspects of the project as possible.

• Be enthusiastic about the project.

• Prepare not only for direct questions pertinent to the research but also for related questions.











Guidelines for Judging

Exhibits and Scientific Papers

The main objective of an elementary or high school research project is to foster scientific

experimentation. The following criteria include those used by judges at the CPS Student ScienceFair and at the IJAS state science fair. The maximum number of points possible are listed by section.

Evidence of knowledge gained (8 pts)

• Is there evidence the student has acquired scientific skills by doing this project?

• Does the student exhibit a thorough understanding of the topic?

Evidence of scientific approach (8 pts)

• Is the problem or question well defined?

• Has a logical, orderly approach been taken to solve the problem?

• Has the exhibitor solved a problem by using known scientific facts or principles as a basis for newconclusions?

Experimental approach (16 pts)

• Has a single variable been tested for each experimental group?

• Have all other variables been controlled or accounted for?

• Is the method or procedure appropriate and effective?

• Is a control or comparison group in evidence?

Reliability of data (7 pts)

• Is the data collected numerical and metric, if applicable?

• Does the number of trials provide more than adequate data?

• Is the data reliable?

Validity of conclusions (7 pts)

• Are the conclusions based on and consistent with the data collected?

• Does the conclusion explain whether the hypothesis was supported by the experiment?

Estimating experimental error (2 pts)

• Has measurement error affecting the conclusion been considered?

Originality (5 pts)

• Does the project demonstrate a novel approach or idea?

• Does the project demonstrate a high degree of creativity or originality?

• Has the material as a whole been gathered from various sources and reorganized according to thestudent’s own thinking and research?

• If the student has had assistance, are those portions of the exhibit which represent other people’swork clearly identified?

Quality of visual presentation (8 pts)

• Does the exhibit explain the project completely?

• Has data been presented in the most explicit way (graphics, charts and/or photos) for the

particular type of information involved?

• Is the exhibit neat, organized and appealing?

• Is the exhibit free of spelling and grammatical errors?






Oral presentation (8 pts)

• Does the presentation clearly and concisely summarize the project?

• Is the information presented relevant and pertinent?

• Does the student speak fluently with good eye contact?

• Is the student polite, dynamic and interested in the project?

Quality of written presentation (30 pts)

• Do the Abstract, Safety Sheet, Endorsement(s) and Research Summary and the follow theguidelines for format and length?

• Does the Abstract state the purpose, procedure, and conclusion in a concise manner, adequatelysummarizing the project on paper?

• Is a safety sheet present with all safety hazards identified?

• Is a title page and table of contents present?

• Has a problem been defined and has a prediction been made?

• Is the Review of Literature thorough including information pertinent to the topic?

• Are all the materials listed? Are measurements in metric units?

• Is the procedure easily followed with all steps included?

• Are the results organized in tables or graphs?

• Are the results easily read by someone not familiar with the work?

• Is the procedure easily followed with all steps included?

• Is the data quantitative?

• Are explanations about the data given when needed?

• Has the exhibitor searched the literature concerning the project topic by using an adequatenumber of quality sources?

• Are the sources listed actually cited within the Review of Literature?

• Are the sources listed in APA format?

• Has the student used good grammar and spelling?