Request STEM Fair Allocations

School/District Allocation Requests

Allocation requests are currently closed. Please contact Doron Markus if you have changes or need to request allocations.


  • 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.



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


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

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


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