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Welcome to the Science Fair Congress! Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair Committee The Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NIRSEF) is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)

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welcome to the science fair congress
Welcome to theScience Fair Congress!

Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair Committee

the northern indiana regional science and engineering fair nirsef

The Northern Indiana RegionalScience and Engineering Fair(NIRSEF)

is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)

We are one of many regions who send senior students to

compete internationally; one of 12 in Indiana


Elementary (Gr. 4-6)

Junior (Gr. 7 & 8)

Senior (Gr. 9 – 12)


Junior (Gr. 7 & 8)

Senior (Gr. 9 – 12)

Top Projects


Top Projects


Senior (Gr. 9 – 12)

project types in what ways can we learn

Science (answer a testable question)

Create or improve a new algorithm (computers)

Team (up to 3)

Engineering (test a product or a process; apply principles)

Solve an equation or design a model (math)

PROJECT TYPESIn what ways can we learn?




researching a project

Researching a Project

  • Pick an idea related to your interests
  • Ask questions about what goes on around you
  • Talk to friends/family and find out their interests/questions
  • Do an Internet search on your ideas
  • Go to the library and look for ideas
  • Don’t copy an idea or experiment directly from a source.
  • Modify it a bit to make it your own research.
  • Change a variable; Take it in a new direction

How to get it done!


Problem Data Discussion

(tables, graphs,

Hypothesis photos) Conclusion/

Future Action


Results Abstract

Procedure Bibliography

  • Make sure that the science is the focus of the display.
  • The center of the board should draw the observers attention. Place photographs and graphics here.
  • Information should flow from start to finish, going from left to right, top to bottom.
decorating a board
Decorating a Board
  • Be careful with over-fancy lettering and multi-color letters/backgrounds
  • Make sure information contrasts with background
  • Make sure everything can be easily read from a distance
  • Use alargefont
  • Any borders/colors/decorations should enhance the science, not detract from it
project judging
Judges Are…

Industry or academic professionals; or

Graduate/undergraduate students

Science, math, social science, or engineering knowledgeable

Volunteers who enjoy working with students and learning new things!

Judges Do…

Talk with students at depth about their projects

Work in teams to get multiple perspectives of student work

Assess what was learned and assign ranking

Share their knowledge or experiences (clarify misconceptions or give a broader picture)

project judging11


the approach to solving the problem

the analysis of the data

the interpretation of the data

the use of equipment

the construction or design of new equipment


Creative Ability

A creative contribution promotes an efficient and reliable method for solving a problem.

When evaluating projects, it is important to distinguish between gadgeteering and ingenuity.

project judging12


A. Scientific Thought

1. Clear and unambiguous problem?

2. Too broad or too narrow?

3. Procedural plan stated?

4. Variables clearly recognized and defined?

5. If controls were necessary, were they recognized and correctly used?

6. Adequate data to support the conclusions?

7. Data’s limitations?

8. Ties to related research?

9. Any further research needed?

10. Is scientific literature cited?

B. Engineering Goals

1. Clear objective?

2. Is the objective relevant to the potential user’s needs?

3. Is the solution workable? acceptable? economically feasible?

4. Utilized in design/ construction of an end product?

5. Significant improvement over previous alternatives?

6. Tested for performance under the conditions of use?


project judging13


1. Was the purpose carried out to completion within the scope of the original intent?

2. How completely was the problem covered?

3. Are the conclusions based on a single experiment or replication?

4. How complete are the project notes?

5. Is the finalist/team aware of other approaches or theories?

6. How much time did the finalist or team spend on the project?



project judging14


1. Does finalist/team have required support and skills to obtain data?

2. Where was project done? What assistance was given?

3. Was there adults supervision or did student/team work alone?

4. Where did equipment come from? Was it built or loaned? Part of a research lab?



project judging15


1. Explanation of purpose, procedure and conclusions clear? Was it memorized without comprehension of principles?

2. Does written material reflect student/team understanding?

3. Are project phases presented in orderly manner?

4. How clear is data and presented results?

5. How well does project display present the project?

6. Was presentation forthright without tricks, gadgets or incentives?

7. Did finalist/team perform all project work, or did someone help?



project judging16


1. Were team member tasks and contributions clearly stated?

2. Were team members fully involved?

3. Is each team member familiar with all aspects of the work?

4. Does final work reflect coordinated team effort?


Teamwork (for Team Projects)

project judging17


  • Projects are judged for First, Second, Third or Participant ribbons relative to the ISEF judging criteria, taking into consideration the grade level of the student.
  • Each project is judged relative to itself and the criteria
  • A project which deserves a first place ribbon is one in which all criteria are well satisfied. A second place might be awarded to a project somewhat deficient in one or more categories. A third place might be awarded to a project which is seriously deficient in one or more categories, but which displays a significant effort or learning experience (e.g., a "good try"). Projects which fail to meet any of the above would be awarded a Participant’s Ribbon.
  • Judges’ constructive comments and/or encouragement should be offered

Ribbon Rankings

project judging18


  • The NIRSEF offers nearly 130 Special Awards sponsored by various groups at all levels: Elementary, Junior and Senior
  • Special Awards may be provided through our affiliation with Intel ISEF or by local universities, departments, special interest groups or local business and industry. In addition to awards, many of these groups also support the cost of running the fair.
  • Special Awards are judged by teams. Group-sponsored awards are frequently judged by members of the sponsoring group.
  • Awards may be certificates, national recognition and/or cash prizes!

Special Awards

considering safety and fair projects

Hazardous Materials


Vertebrate Animals

What to Look for, What to Do…



Human Subjects

potential research opportunities

Potential Research Opportunities

Want a better vision of research? Here’s a chance!!

additional science fair opportunities
Additional “Science Fair” Opportunities

Intel International Science & Engineering Fair:

  • This is the one we are affiliated with. We send some of our competitors directly to this fair, and additional competitors are sent to the state level competition, which also sends competitors to this fair.
  • Website: http://www.sciserv.org/isef/
  • Categories: Grades 9-12, primarily individual but also some teams
  • Format: Board presentation, research paper not -mandatory- but highly recommended
  • Dates: Regional competition in mid-March., state competition in early April, international in mid-May.
  • Top Award: $50,000 scholarship, trip to the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Sweden.
additional science fair opportunities22
Additional “Science Fair” Opportunities

Intel Science Talent Search:

  • This is a national level only competition, and is restricted to 12th grade individual projects. Originally the Westinghouse STS, this is considered the most prestigious of all science fair competitions. It is also the most challenging, with over 1600 research papers submitted each year.
  • Website: http://www.sciserv.org/sts/
  • Categories: Grade 12, individual only
  • Format: Written research paper.
  • Dates: Written paper submitted mid-November, top 40 have board-type presentation in March.
  • Top Award: $100,000 scholarship.
additional science fair opportunities23
Additional “Science Fair” Opportunities

Siemens Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition:

  • Created by Siemens after they bought out Westinghouse, dropped sponsorship of the STS, and realized what they had lost. This is a combined national/regional competition. Submission is national by research paper, and those making this first cut compete at the regional level in board-type presentations. It has both individual and team projects competing in separate categories, with both 11th and 12th grade students eligible.
  • Website: http://www.siemens-foundation.org/competition/
  • Categories: Grades 11 & 12, team and individual
  • Format: Written research paper followed by board type presentations.
  • Dates: Research papers due nationally on 10/1, regional competition in mid-November, national in early December.
  • Top Award: $100,000 scholarship.
additional science fair opportunities24
Additional “Science Fair” Opportunities

Junior Sciences & Humanities Symposium

  • This is an independent oral-presentation based competition funded by DOD Qualification for the national event is achieved through the Indiana regional competition. It is for individual projects, grades 9-12, with research papers submitted to the Indiana JSHS. The top 15-20 of these will give an oral presentation at the state competition at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, and the top projects among these will go on to the national competition.
  • Website: http://www.jshs.org/
  • Categories: Grades 9-12, individual only
  • Format: Written research paper followed by oral presentation.
  • Dates: Research paper due regionally early February, regional presentation in mid-March (watch for conflicts with NIRSEF), national competition in May
  • Top Award: $16,000 scholarship and trip to IJSHS in London.
putting it all together

Putting It All Together

  • Your Local Fair
  • Which? When? Who?
  • Registering Your School orOrganization
  • Informs us you are coming
  • Allows us to assign space

What Are the Next Steps?

next steps can we help

Next Steps (can we help?)

Gaining Enthusiasm at Your School




Holding Your Local Fair

Send your winners to Notre Dame!



Any Questions for the Committee?

Give Aways…