Science Fair Guidelines

So … You want to do a science fair project this year. . .

Introduction

Your Success is Our Goal

CASEFWelcome to the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair. We want you to understand our program and we want you to know exactly how to be a part of the process. This information serves as a guide to participation in Science Fair and is intended for educators, students and parents.

CASEF is the abbreviation for Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair. CASEF is the central Pennsylvania regional program affiliated with the ISEF, which is the abbreviation for International Science and Engineering Fair.

CASEF encourages students to creatively explore and investigate their world through hands-on scientific research. Through student participation in the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair, teachers and advisers help enrich a student’s appreciation and knowledge of the important roles science and engineering play in modern society. Yes, there are rules. Yes, there are guidelines. There are forms to be read, and forms to be completed. The only way that we can get our arms around this endeavorand manage it fairly, securely and confidently is to administer a mini-bureaucracy. Read and follow the directions and you will understand that all the organizational “stuff” helps you succeed. If you have problems or questions, go first to your science teacher and your school organizer. If they are unable to help you, please feel free to email us at casef@whitakercenter.org

Each year, more than 300 aspiring local scientists, mathematicians and engineers, grades seven through 12, exhibit their projects in one of 15 categories at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg. Senior high students are chosen as grand champions to compete at ISEF, compliments of the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair. Last year, 1544 projects, representing 66 nations and all US states and territories were exhibited in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Student finalists vied for scholarships, internships and cash awards valued at more than $3 million. The international competition will be held in Pittsburgh in 2015.

Student Things to Consider

Choosing to participate in this project is a big deal. Honestly, life might be easier for you if you don’t get involved. However, the challenge to your intellect and your creativity, as well as your organizational skills, is well worth the effort. You will be enriched personally and professionally by participation in this established international competition. We look forward to your success.

  • Judging Criteria
    When choosing a topic, students should give careful thought to how their research might enhance the world and its inhabitants. Scientists try to understand how nature works. Engineers create things that never were. An engineering project should state goals, describe the development process and evaluate improvements.
  • Creative Ability
    Are the question and procedure stated? Does the question and the procedure/design show creative ability? How were the problems encountered solved? What further research is appropriate?
  • Scientific Thought
    Is the problem/design validated by scientific literature? Are the variable and controls clearly defined? What graphs, photos, diagrams, and statistics were used for analysis? How is the analysis of data interpreted
    in the discussion/conclusion? Are references listed?
  • JOURNALS– Keeping accurate day to day accounts of the progression of your project from start to finish. See Data Logbook tab for details.
  • Engineering Goals
    Is the solution workable/economical to produce? Is there a real-life use for the solution?
  • Thoroughness
    Were the conclusions based on replication? How much time was spent on the project? Is there a journal documenting progress? Did the project meet its objective?
  • Skill
    Does the student demonstrate that he/she did the actual work?
  • Clarity
    Is the written material well-prepared? Is the project display self- explanatory? Are the data and results clearly presented? Can the project be duplicated by following the stated procedure?
  • Interview
    Can the student knowledgably discuss his/her project? Is the student trying his/her best to be successful?
  • Teamwork (for team projects, only)
    Did each member contribute to the project? Did the team coordinate their efforts effectively?