Attention Students Using Human subjects, invertebrate or non-human vertebrate animals, recombinant DNA, tissues, pathogenic agents, or controlled substances:

The Science Review Committee (SRC) Form must be completed by any student, grade 6 through 12, whose project involves (even if only observing) human subjects, invertebrate or non-human vertebrate animals, recombinant DNA, tissues, pathogenic agents, or controlled substances.

This form must be completed and filed no later than February 10, 2017. You will be contacted by the SRC if any issues need to be resolved.

Student/Project Registration

Registration Is Closed

See you at the fair!

Fair Schedule

March 5

(11:00AM - 5:00PM)

Project Check-in and Setup




March 6

Judging & Interviews

(5:00PM - 9:30PM)

 

March 7

Open House

(5:30PM - 7:30PM)




March 9

Awards Ceremony
@ Hiller

Schedule Details

Sunday, March 5, 2017 – 11:00 – 5:00: Project Board Drop Off and Student Check In. Depending on the number of students that are present at the museum at the time that you arrive, the process should take between 15 – 30 minutes. This is the only period in which you can drop off your project and check in. If you cannot be present during this time period, please make sure that another individual drops off your project and checks you in. There will be no other period in which you can drop off your project. All projects must be at the museum by 5:00. Failure to drop off your project during this period will result in disqualification.

Monday, March 6, 2017: Project Judging and Student Interviews. You are expected to be standing in front of your project board for the time period assigned to your grade. DEVICES WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ON THE STEM FAIR FLOOR UNLESS IT WAS PRE-AUTHORIZED (for judges to view videos related to projects). All students will be interviewed at least twice by two different judges. Some, but not all, students may be interviewed more than twice. Please adhere to the times and directions listed below.

  • Students in Grades 5 and 6 and ALL students from the Ravenswood School District
    • Arrive at the Hiller Aviation Museum between 4:30 – 4:50. Students will not be permitted entry into the museum until 4:50 – 4:55.
    • Remain in front of your project, prepared to be interviewed by a judge, from 5:00 – 6:30.
    • Parents/Guardians/Teachers will not be permitted on the STEM Fair floor at any time during the STEM Fair. Parents/Guardians/Teachers are not allowed to communicate with students during this time. Any communication during this time period will result in disqualification. Parents are permitted to stay in the foyer of the museum during this period.
    • Students must leave the museum at the end of the judging period, which may be prior to 6:30, but no later than 6:30.
  • Students in Grades 7 -12
    • Arrive at the Hiller Aviation Museum between 7:00 – 7:20. Students will not be permitted entry into the museum until 7:20 – 7:25.
    • Remain in front of your project, prepared to be interviewed by a judge, from 7:30 – 9:30.
    • Parents/Guardians/Teachers will not be permitted on the STEM Fair floor at any time during the STEM Fair. Parents/Guardians/Teachers are not allowed to communicate with students during this time. Any communication during this time period will result in disqualification. Parents are permitted to stay in the foyer of the museum during this period.
    • Students must leave the museum at the end of the judging period, which may be prior to 9:30, but no later than 9:30.
  • Tuesday, March 7, 2017: Open House, Award Announcements, Project Removal. During the assigned time period, students will be notified if projects have received an award. An invitation to the Award Ceremony may or may not accompany this notification, depending on the level of award. Students are expected to be present in front of their projects, with the purpose of discussing the project with the general public. At the end of the time period, students will remove the project from the museum and exit the museum. Projects that have not been removed from the Hiller Aviation Museum by 7:00 will be brought back to the San Mateo County Office of Education and retained for one week.
    • Students in Grades 5 – 6: 5:00 – 6:00
    • Students in Grades 7 – 12: 6:00 – 7:00
  • Thursday, March 9, 2017: Awards Ceremony. Students who receive an invitation to attend the Award Ceremony are expected to be present for the ceremony during the time assignment. Students will be called up on stage to receive the award, and may be asked to speak very briefly about the project.
    • Students in Grades 5 – 6: 6:00 – 7:15
    • Students in Grades 7 – 12: 7:30 – 9:00

Project Timeline

  • Project Preparation

    Teachers should start prepping the students for their projects. Talk to them about areas of science that interest them, things they wonder about, or are interested in knowing more about. Consider doing a class experiment to teach about experimental design.

    By September, students should complete project question, the claim/hypothesis and initial research related to the topic.

    Start keeping a science journal to record notes throughout your project, including observations, research notes, measurements, sketches and diagrams. Your background research should be summarized in a page or more, as this will be a part of your display board. Remember to keep track of your references.

    Submit student project proposals (fall submission) involving human subjects, tissues, vertebrate animals, and hazardous chemicals for pre-approval to the Science Review Committee (SRC) if applicable.

  • Experimental Design

    Students should propose an experimental design. Determine what materials you will need, what kind of data will be collected and how will that data be displayed. Collect materials, and build anything that needs building. You may need to do a couple of “scouting” experiments before you settle in on the best set of experiments to conduct. Meanwhile continue researching your topic for more information and record notes in your science journal.

    Check rules for County Science Fair so that teachers are well informed on regulations, requirements and timelines.

    Help students conduct a review of the literature using previously identified library and Internet sources.

    Advise students regarding contacting professionals who can help guide their project and supply necessary background (optional for teacher).

  • Collecting Data

    Teachers continue to work with students to understand the components of a science fair project. Assist students in selecting a suitable topic. Students should be conducting the experiment and collecting both quantitative (numbers and measurements) and qualitative data (descriptive observations).

    Discuss the nature of experimentation with students, explaining the difference between controlled and uncontrolled experiments.

    Review the process of observing, measuring, and collecting data.

    Provide time, space, and guidance for experimentation.

    Make arrangements for regular (weekly) progress reports from students.

    Special forms may have to be completed. See SRC form and Informed Consent form.

  • Writing The Abstract

    All students participating in the STEM Fair must submit an abstract.

    Assist students in writing a project abstract. Students should analyze data, draw conclusions, make graphs, diagrams and run more experimentation if needed.

    Check to ensure that all projects conform to safety rules and proper care of human subjects, animals, tissue, and hazardous chemicals (Any experiment where animals or humans might be injured or experience pain should not be allowed.)

    Schools fill out the Intent to Participate form from the SMCOE website in order to receive their allocations for the County STEM Fair

  • Project Display

    Complete all of the components of the display board. Be sure projects involving humans have Informed Consent form for each participant.

    Conduct school and/or district Science Fairs and select projects that will advance to the San Mateo County STEM Fair.

    Schools will be notified of their final allocation (number of projects they can enter in the county STEM Fair.)

    Students register online for the San Mateo County STEM Fair.

  • Fair Time!

    Conduct school and/or district Science Fairs and select projects that will advance to the San Mateo County STEM Fair by early February.

    Scientific Review Committee (SRC) forms due February 1st for projects involving humans, invertebrate and non human vertebrate animals bacteria, recombinant DNA, tissue, pathogenic agents or controlled substances.

    Students that advance to the county STEM fair must register online at the SMCOE STEM Fair web page.

Categories

The San Mateo County STEM Fair project categories are aligned to the four Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) from the Next Generation Science Standards. They are also compatible with San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair categories and the California State Science Fair categories.

Each Disciplinary Core Idea has one or more STEM Fair Categories. Each category has a brief description and Examples of project titles. Please note that it is the teachers’ responsibility to determine the appropriate category for each students project. However, the fair director has the discretionary right to re-classify projects if they are not categorized correctly.


Physical Sciences

Chemistry

Sphysical chemistry and chemical reactions - thermodynamics, non-biological and inorganic

Ex: Conductivity of Electrolytes, Does Water Rotation of Determination of Ricinoleic Acid


Physics

motion, force, energy, waves (electromagnetism), stability, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics

Ex: Chaotic Pendulum, Effect of Fins on Water Rocket Stability, Transmission of Information by Laser


Materials Science

static physical properties, characterization of static materials

Ex: Can Foam Make Steel Bridges Stronger?; Which Metal Conducts the Most Heat?


Life Sciences

Biological Systems

pharmaceutical, heredity, molecular biology, microbiology, botany, zoology (non-behavioral)

Ex: Determination in Orange Juice Using a Redox Reaction; Vitamin Deficiencies; Transpiration of Plants Under Different Light Sources


Behavioral Sciences

cognitive, social, & health science, survey projects

Ex: A Study of Senses in Stress Management; AIDS Awareness in Teens; Does Age Affect Implicit Learning?


Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences

Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences

ecosystems, ecology, interactions, climate change, erosion, weather, Earth and human activity, astrophysics, and oceanography

Ex: The Effects of Fire on Flora and Fauna; Solar Activity and Geosynchronous Satellites; Dependence of Liquefaction upon Soil Composition


Engineering, Technology and Application of Science

Engineering, Technology and Application of Science

product science, comparing consumer oriented applications, prototype designs, structural engineering and analysis, mechanical Inventions, renewable resources

Ex: How Do Different Foundations Stand Up to Earthquakes?; Are Maglev Trains Practical?


Math and Software

computer sciences, geometry, topology, morphology, number theory, algorithm analysis, modeling and simulation, programming environments, programming languages

Ex: Knot Mathematics; Partitions of Positive Numbers; Computer Modeled Evolution

Project/Interview Tips

Interview Tips

  • Think of yourself as belonging to the science community.
    You are sharing your ideas among colleagues
  • Find a way to get physically comfortable with yourself just before you begin.
    Breathe easily!
  • Draw from what you know by heart — so that it doesn’t sound overly “memorized.”
    Speak from your place of confidence!
  • Communicate in a natural manner, not rushed, perhaps just a bit slower than usual.
    Give each idea its moment in the sun.
  • Let your opening start with a BIG IDEA, then connect it to your research topic.
    Place your project into context!
  • Provide a brief overview of highlights, like an abstract or a movie trailer.
    Excite your audience about your project!
  • Allow questions and comments to guide the direction of your presentation.
    Pause from time to time to allow for dialogue!
  • If you don’t know, use the moment to think out loud with your colleagues.
    Show the quality of your thinking process!
  • Used sparingly, humor, charm, and eye contact may help you connect with your colleagues.
    Stay focused on the science story!

Clothing

Clothes should be neat, preferably business style — this shows your respect for yourself and the judges.


Presentation

Rehearse your presentation; you will more relaxed if you are prepared.

Interview Judging Criteria

  • Project Understanding/Knowledge
    • Clearly explains the purpose or problem of the project
    • Explains the basic underlying concept(s)
    • Answers questions knowledgeably
  • Verbal Ability/Logical Thinking Skills
    • Clearly communicates information about the project
    • Maintains a logical train of thought when describing or explaining aspects of the project
    • Understands the concepts of variables and controls
    • Logically draws a conclusion, based upon results
  • Appropriate Assistance from Others
    • Acknowledges and describes any assistance from others
    • Provides evidence that any assistance is within reasonable limits

Project Judging Criteria

  • Content/Organization/Skills
    • Science
      • The hypothesis is clearly stated and the student has a systematic plan for testing the hypothesis (methods)
      • The project shows depth of study, effort, and understanding of theory or facts
      • Project exhibits orderly recording and analysis of data
      • Sampling techniques and data collection are appropriate to the problem
      • Scientific procedures are appropriate and organized
      • Conclusions formulated are logical, based on the data collected and relevant to hypothesis
    • - OR -

      Engineering
      • The project has clear objective relevant to needs of potential user
      • Product or process has been tested
      • Product or process is both workable and feasible economically and ecologically
      • Project exhibits orderly recording and analysis of data
      • Testing procedures are appropriate and organized
      • Conclusions are logical and based on the data collected
  • Creativity/Complexity/Understanding
    • Selects a unique or creative topic
    • Scientific literature has been searched
    • Demonstrates creativity and complexity in project design
    • Demonstrates understanding of the topic by:
      • providing rational for data and conclusions
      • suggesting future extensions/research
  • Appearance
    • Presents project in a clear, understandable fashion
    • Has an acceptable project format with all sections completed
    • Follows a standard format for citation, including endnotes and footnotes (i.e. APA or MLA)
    • Provides appropriate drawings, photographs and models to describe the project, attracts and holds attention

Display Guidelines

Displays exhibited at the Fair should be limited to a free-standing presentation board (see specifications below) succinctly explaining all aspects of your research in words, graphs or pictures. While some models/displays may be allowed it is preferable to show the model/display in photographs or if the action of the model is essential to the project (as in an engineering project) then capture the action on DVD which can be submitted using the DVD guidelines below. If your project required Informed Consent Forms then a binder with all forms and the project title on the front cover (no names) should accompany your display. Optionally you may display your lab notebook. As a reminder — NO names (student, school, teacher) or photos of the students should appear on any of the displayed items this includes the back of your presentation board and the contents of your notebooks.

Rules for Exhibits

  • Each Student will have 36 - 39 inches of table space with about an 18 inch deep area to place any notebooks or other items in front of their presentation board. If your model or demonstration is larger please do not plan to leave it with your display — Take pictures or use the DVD option. Exception for large notebooks containing Informed Consent documents.
  • There are no electrical outlets available in the exhibit area so if you need to show some device requiring electricity please plan to submit a DVD. Secure the DVD to your project board so judges can review it at judging time.
  • The following should not be brought to the fair and should only be shown in photos or DVDs:
    • live, dead or preserved plants, vertebrate or invertebrate animals or parts (including embryos, microbial cultures, algae or fungi)
    • liquids of any kind
    • dangerous or combustible solids or gases
    • glass or breakable objects
    • Soil/Dirt
    • toxic materials
    • any flammables
    • any drugs, alcohols, tobacco or controlled substances
    • any sharp objects
    • petri/agar dishes
    • firearms, projectiles, railguns, etc.
  • Displays: 1.5 ft deep x 4 ft. wide x 3 ft. high (up to 9 ft. high allowed)
  • Projects must be free-standing and durable with all parts firmly attached. Provide back support for your exhibit.
  • No attachment to walls.No electrical, gas or water outlets are available at the fair
  • Displays of bacterial/viral cultures, molds and live or preserved plants and animals, animal parts, embryos, etc. may not be displayed during the science fair. Photographs may be used.

Presentation Board Specifications

The display communicates the essential parts of the project in a quick, visual way. The display should be sturdy, free standing, colorful, simply illustrated, well labeled, and attractive. The title and section headings on the board should be clearly visible and readable from a distance of three to four feet. Use complementary colors as background and bright or dark letters for the titles of each section. Use appropriately sized typeface for titles, subtitles and text. The title should have the largest print on the display board and be neatly done. Enlarge graphs and use color for the different lines or bars. Use photographs that are clear and sharp, with the correct exposure. There should be an explanation under each photo and graph

A standard sized Presentation Board is a free standing tri-fold measuring 48 inches wide by 36 inches tall. Typical material is corrugated cardboard or foamcore though masonite, pegboard, or wood boards are also acceptable. Cardboard and Foamcore trifolds are available at most office or craft stores.

Display Height
36" – 108"

height

Standard Tri-Fold is 48” wide by 36” high — the 3 panels are 12”, 24”, 12” respectively. A display can be made larger by stacking boards — the maximal height is 108 inches or 3 standard boards stacked. If you choose to submit a board taller than the standard height of 36”, please ensure that it is sturdy enough to remain free-standing and can easily be moved. Note: Boards taller than 72 inches are extremely difficult for judges to read and not recommended.

Display Width
48" maximum

height

The width of each display is limited to a 48 inch wide tri-fold. To accommodate all fair entries equally, each student is allotted 36 inches of table space. If you choose to submit a FLAT presentation board it will need to fit into the same footprint as a standard tri-fold and therefore should not exceed 39 inches in width and must also be free standing.

Awards

Participant Pin

Congratulations on entering your project at the STEM Fair!

Honorable Mention Award

Way to Go! Your project is worthy of recognition!

3rd Place Award

Great Job! Your project was ranked third out of all the other projects in your category and grade level. That’s quite an accomplishment!

2nd Place Award

Brilliant!!! Your project has received either a First or Second place medal. You may also be advancing to the State and/or Regional Fair. To find out, come to the Awards Ceremony tomorrow night.

1st Place Award

Brilliant!!! Your project has received either a First or Second place medal. You may also be advancing to the State and/or Regional Fair. To find out, come to the Awards Ceremony tomorrow night.

Special Award

Wow! Your project will be receiving a special award from one of our community partners at the awards ceremony. See you there!

Special Awards

  • Electrical/Electronic Award
    Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
  • Hiller Aviation Award
    Hiller Aviation Museum
  • San Mateo Outdoor Education Award

Regional Fairs

  • San Mateo County STEM Fair

    School or District Science Fair

    Placing in your school or district science fair may qualify you for the San Mateo County STEM Fair. If your school or district does not host a science fair, you can still apply for the county fair.

    • San Mateo County STEM Fair

      San Mateo County STEM Fair

      The San Mateo County STEM Fair accepts individual and group projects from grades 5–12. The STEM Fair serves as the qualifying event and only entry point to both the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair and the California State Science Fair

      • San Mateo County STEM Fair

        San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair

        The San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair only accepts grades 7–12 individual (no pair or group) projects and does not qualify San Mateo County students' entry to the California State Science Fair.

      • San Mateo County STEM Fair

        California State Science Fair

        The California State Science Fair accepts grades 6–12 individual, pair and groups of three projects from qualifying county science fairs.