Fair Participation Information

Students participating in the fair have put in a lot of hard work on their projects. It is important to make sure that all of the requirements of the San Mateo County STEM Fair have also been met. The Fair tries its best to align its requirements with that of the State Science Fair and national fairs such as the Broadcom Masters. Please look over the requirements and tips below to make sure your are ready for the fair.

Important Information for the 2024 STEM Fair

  • The 2024 San Mateo County Office of Education STEM Fair will be held virtually!
  • High school students will not participate in the 2024 San Mateo County Office of Education STEM Fair.
  • All students grades 5-8 will submit projects using one of the following Google Slides templates:

    Students will be automatically forced to make a copy of the template.

  • All judging will take place virtually via Zoom, and judges will use your slide deck, in lieu of a tri-fold project board, to judge your project.
  • All students who are selected for the interview phase will be scheduled for video interviews with judges.

Project Requirements

Students must follow the directions and guidelines below to participate in the fair.

Required Forms for Human Subjects or Biological Experiments

SRC Form
Submit forms by December 10, 2023. Forms must be approved by December 15, 2023.

The Scientific Review Committee (SRC) form must be completed by any student, grade 5 through 8, whose project involves (even if only observing or surveying) human subjects, invertebrate or non-human vertebrate animals, recombinant DNA, tissues, pathogenic agents, or controlled substances. This document should be submitted BEFORE the investigation has begun.

Completed SRC forms must be submitted by December 10, 2023 using the link below.
If you have questions regarding the SRC form, please contact Robin K. Pang-Maganaris.

SRC Guidelines and forms for the SF Bay Area Science Fair can be found at the ISEF Forms website.

Download Scientific Review Committee Form

Informed Consent Form

The Informed Consent Form is required for EACH human subject involved in a student's science project. These forms do not need to be turned in to the San Mateo County Office of Education STEM Fair. They should be kept by the student researcher unless they are requested by the SRC.

Informed Consent Form

Project Submission Guidelines and Template

Presentation Template
Replaces Project Board

This year students will submit a Google Slides presentation instead of a project board. SMCOE has developed templates that participants must use for submitting thier project. Detailed instructions as to what project information and materials should included can be found in the slides. Please follow directions carefully. You will be prompted to make a copy of the slides.

For all students in grades 5-8 who are entering an experimental project (not in the Engineering category)

Copy Experimental Project Template

For all students in grades 5-8 who are entering a project in the Engineering category

Copy Engineering Project Template

Project Registration

Registration Overview

Project registration will begin January 16. Students will provide their project slides as a PDF document and a phone number where they can be reached on the day of interviews in the event of technical issues with Zoom.

Students – PRIOR to submitting your project, please confirm with your school or district that you have received permission to enter the fair. Permission from your school or district is required to participate in the fair.

Registration will open on January 16 and close on February 24, 2024 at 5 p.m.
Interviews will be held on March 9, 2024 via Zoom.

Registration is closed.

Project 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.

Behavioral Sciences

Cognitive, social, & health science, survey projects

Biological Systems

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


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

Earth, Space, and Environmental Science

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

Engineering, Technology and Application of Science

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

Materials Science

Static physical properties, characterization of static materials

Math and Software

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


Motion, force, energy, waves (electro-magnetism), stability, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics