Congratulations! By choosing to participate in a science and engineering fair, you can “try on” a career, stretch your world, and discover your talents. Preparing a STEM project at any level helps you achieve higher levels of thinking in science, math, data analysis, writing. Competing at the science and engineering fair is even valuable for college and scholarship applications.
Every public, private or home-schooled student in grades 5-12 in a Terra Fairs county can compete in their fair.
There are two general project divisions known as a) Research and Engineering Design (RED) and b) Topic Presentations.
|RED Division (Require Data)||Topic Division (No Data)|
|Senior RED: Grades 9-12 (requires SRC paperwork)
||Senior Topic Presentation: Grades 9-12|
|Junior RED: Grades 5-8||Junior Topic Presentation: Grades 5-8|
Research and Engineering Design Division is organized into Senior (high school, grades 9-12) and Junior (middle school, grades 5-8) Levels. These projects involve data collection in a scientific experiment or throughout multiple iterations with an engineering design. RED students compete for Fair Honors, Special Awards, and state, national and international advancement.
Topic Presentations Division is organized in into Senior (high school, grades 9-12) and Junior (middle school, grades 5-8) Levels. Students make a model or learn about a particular topic outside the usual school curriculum for their grade. They prepare a report and poster, and compete for Fair Honors and some Special Awards. Students in grade 5-12 may present in this division, however, typically students choose Topic Presentation Division as a “beginner year” to become familiar with the fair experience. Advanced students may also use a Topic year for their planning and training in research techniques.
Affiliated science and engineering fairs require documentation signed by responsible adults that the students and their research subjects are safe throughout the process. Your sponsor (a teacher, parent or mentor) must review all of your procedures BEFORE the student begins experimenting or building. Sometimes additional adults sign forms using their specific expertise to make sure you and your subjects are safe. Those adults’ signatures and dates prove that evaluation was completed.
You and your adult(s) use checklists to make sure you have all the required forms :
Senior Research and Engineering Design students: SRC paperwork
Junior Research and Engineering Design and Topic Presentation students: Safety Forms
All Students: Media Release
If you are a high school students, you can even use a Wizard to help you choose the correct forms.
Basically you will ask a question and head off for the adventure of finding your own answer! Students can use resources such as the ScienceBuddies.org website as they choose topics, plan projects, collect and analyze data, even prepare their report, poster and judge presentation.
If you are a Senior RED student, you must complete SRC paperwork and the Media Release. That means your project plan is reviewed BEFORE you begin your actual experiment or construction so a responsible adult can be assured that you and your subjects will be safe throughout.
If you are a Junior RED or Topic Presentation student, you complete the Terra Safety Forms and the Media Release.
For Virtual Fair in 2021: Your virtual fair will have not only real interviews with real judges in virtual rooms hosted by the fair, but also opportunities for families and teachers to see your work in the Fair Showcase! The detailed schedule will be provided in March when all students and judges have been registered, approved and assigned. Plan on a GREAT EXPERIENCE! (The following information is for a typical in-person fair for future years once the Covid 19 is over: On Fair Day, you set up your project, talk with judges, and attend the Awards Ceremony. This sample schedule offers a more detailed idea of the flow of events on Fair Day. Every Fair Committee plans a unique fair experience for its students every year. Registered adults and students will receive a finalized schedule by the first of March. Here is a sample schedule for the fair day.)
ISEF identifies 21 separate categories for projects across all fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics! For more information about categories click here.