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Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair: Students

Welcome to the Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair!

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education would like to welcome you to the Santa Cruz Science & Engineering Fair Website. Available to all students is the Science & Engineering Fair Guide, which will help you get started on your Science & Engineering Fair Project. Please click the link below to access the guide and display board template.

Participants will be asked to complete the following:

Here is where you will place your portfolio: 1. notebook, 2. poster (or tri-fold board), and 3. video (e.g., Google Drive). This link provides instructions on how to set up the folder and details about the three items you will place in it.

Need SRC approval?  Find all the forms you will need here.  Everyone should do forms 1, 1A and 3 to asses if they need further forms.  If you do need SRC approval, you will need to complete forms 1B and forms associated with the type of project you are doing. (Human subjects requires form 4, if using Vertebrate animals use form 5A, other cells or organisms use form 6A, if continuing a prior years investigation use form 7).

Link to Project Idea Resources doc

Link to How projects are Judged doc

The last day to complete registration is March 1, 2022. When you create a project on zfairs, notice the Entry Video URL.  Put a link to a folder where you will place your portfolio: 1. notebook, 2. poster (or tri-fold board), and 3. video (e.g., GoogleDrive).  You may continue to update your project until Friday, March11th.  During the week of March 14-18, judges will review your materials. 

1. Notebook: Your notebook contains all your raw data and other journal entries as you conducted your study.  Notebooks typically have dated entries.  In addition to raw data, you may have jotted down notes like questions about what your results mean, notes about other scientists’ work for your introduction, and ideas for inclusion in your discussion.  Scientists’ journals from yesteryear have been studied by historians and psychologists trying to understand where scientific insights came from.  Scientists used to copy their journals and mail the originals to themselves, so if there was ever a question about if they really were the first to discover something, the unopened, dated envelope could be opened with public scrutiny.  Today, most scientists record their notes electronically.  You may either place a digital journal in your folder (e.g., GoogleDoc) or you may convert a physical lab notebook into a digital file with this step-by-step guide.

2. Poster:  Your poster (or tri-fold board) is more polished than your journal.  Conventionally, every science poster has 4 main sections in this order: introduction, method, results, & discussion.  In your introduction, you’ll provide context for your study and explain what science already knows.  While your notebook shows what you did each day to collect data, the method of your poster explains the procedure more broadly (e.g., conditions, what measures mean).  While your notebook shows all your raw data, the results of your poster show a summary and how your analysis tested for patterns.  Your discussion is an explanation of what your results mean, how they might be applied, cautions about the limitations of your results, and suggestions for future research.  To prepare your poster for virtual judging, you have three options: (1) make a physical poster or board, and photograph it, (2) create a presentation of slides with PowerPoint or Google Slides, or (3) create a single large PowerPoint / Google Slide as a poster.  Option 1 is the closest to an in-person science fair.  Option 2 is what scientists typically do for an oral presentation.  Optional 3 is how scientists normally prepare posters for conferences today.  On Google Slides click File > Page Setup > Custom > 48 * 36 inches or in PowerPoint click Design > Slide Size > Custom > 48 inch wide * 36 inch tall.  Now Zoom in and out as you create all the parts of your poster on a single slide.  When scientists do this for a typical in-person science conference, we have it printed professionally (e.g., FedEx Kinkos) but you do not need to purchase a printout.

3. Video: Create a video to explain your science fair project to judges.  Please use a universally playable format like MP4.  Your video may be up to 3 to 4 minutes.  You might stand in front of a physical poster and present.  You might record yourself speaking over slides.  Or you might use other video techniques people use on YouTube (e.g., animation, splice clips of yourself doing procedures, photographs, captions).  When designing your video, consider how you can most effectively showcase your science, and feel free to be creative.

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