Deciding on a project

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Donaldson Elementary
    Science Fair

     Rules and SARSEF

   Informational Packet
                 Donaldson Elementary Science Fair
                         SARSEF RULES

1. A student may enter projects as:           *an individual
                                              *a team (2-3 students)
                                              *a group (4 or more students)
2. Each student may enter only one project, which covers research during
   May 2008—February 2009.
3. An approval from must be turned in no later than January 16, 2009. One
   approval form is required per project.
4. All project involving Human Subjects, Vertebrate Animals, Animal
   Tissues, Recombinant DNA, Pathogenic Organisms or Controlled
   Substances MUST obtain approval prior to project start (BEFORE
   January 16, 2009). You must submit the required Scientific Review
   Committee Form for approval from SARSEF. The SRC Form is
   available in the office an must be turned in no later than January 16,
5. All 5th grade students are required to complete an Abstract with their
   project. Although it is required for 5th grades, it is strongly
   recommended for all students. An abstract is an overview of the project
   and cannot exceed 250 words. More detailed information is included in
   the packet.
6. Team Projects must reflect the coordinated efforts of all team members
   and will be evaluated using the same rules and judging criteria as
   individual projects.
    *A Team Project may consist of students working together from different
   grade levels however, the project will be judged at the grade level of the
   highest-grade team member on the project. For example: A 2nd grade
   student and a 3rd grade student may submit, but it will be judged as a 3rd
   grade project. Group projects – if four 4th grade students and only one 5th
   grade student work together and submit an entry, the project will be
   judged as a 5th grade project. Please keep this in mind when selecting
   your project teammates.
    Every student who turns in an Approval
  Form and enters the Donaldson Elementary
        Science Fair will receive a free
       Regulation-sized Display Board.
         Boards will be distributed on
     January 21st after school (12:45 p.m.)
      January 22nd before (7:30 a.m.) and
            after school (2:15 p.m.).

 If you have any questions about the Science Fair, or
    the information enclosed in this packet, please
  contact a member of the Science Fair Committee.

Carla Koenig       Gary Moss           Nancy Jimmerson
Fair Coordinator   5th Grade Teacher   2nd Grade Teacher
                            Donaldson Elementary
                            Science Fair 2006-2007
                              Schedule of Events
Friday, January 16th:             Deadline for Approval and SRC forms
Wednesday, January 21st:          Display Boards sent Home
Thursday, January 22nd:           Display Boards sent Home

                    Donaldson Elementary Competition
                        (February 10 – February 12)
Tuesday, February 10th:           Project Set-up
Wednesday, February 11th:         Classroom Tours (during school)
                                  Judging (after school)
Thursday, February 12th:          Awards Ceremony 1:15 – 1:45 PM
                                  (during school)

                             SARSEF Competition
                            (March 16 – March 21)
                  10 winners selected from Donaldson Elementary

Monday, March 16th:               Project Set-up, Noon to 8 PM
                                  Tucson Convention Center
                                  Check-in at the HUB Exhibition Hall
Tuesday, March 17th:              Judging Day, No visitors allowed
Wednesday, March18th:             9 AM to 8PM- Open to the Public (Exhibition Hall)
                                  Donaldson winners to be notified by phone
Thursday, March19th:              9AM to 5PM- Open to the Public (Exhibition Hall)
                                  6:30 PM Elementary Award Ceremony
                                   (K – 5th in the Exhibition Hall)
Friday, March 20th :              9AM to 6PM- Open to the Public (Exhibition Hall)
                                  Project Removal after Awards Ceremony
Saturday, March 21st:             8AM to Noon- Project Removal
                                  (Projects not removed by noon will be place in a
                                  recycle bin or given to anyone wanting them)
                     Donaldson Elementary Science Fair 2009
                              Project Entry Form
Project Type: (check one)
Individual___ Team (2-3 students)___Group (3+ students)___ Number of Students: ___

Project Title (up to 200 characters):_____________________________________________________
Category: (Choose one only) K-5:                   Physical Science or Life Science
Registration and participation in SARSEF implies permission for information access to students particularly during
periods of School Break. This will allow direct contact to parents during possible further competition for their student
and their project.
Student 1: Grade: ____________Teacher:________________
Name (First Last): _________________________________________________ Phone: (___)____-______
Sex: M F                      E-mail (the student’s or parent’s): _________________@_______________
Student 1 Home Address: ______________________________________________
City/State/Zip Code: _____________________, ____________ __________________
Student 2: (leave blank if only 1 student on project)
Grade: ____________Teacher:________________
Name (First Last): _________________________________________________ Phone: (___)____-______
Sex: M F                      E-mail (the student’s or parents): _______________@______________
Student 2 Home Address: __________________________________________________
City/State/Zip Code: _____________________, ____________ __________________
Student 3: (leave blank if only 2 students on project)
Grade: ____________Teacher:________________
Name (First Last): _________________________________________________ Phone: (___)____-______
Sex: M F                      E-mail (the student’s or parents): _______________@______________
Student 3 Home Address: __________________________________________________
City/State/Zip Code: _____________________, ____________ __________________
Student 4: (leave blank if only 3 students on project)
Grade: ____________Teacher:________________
Name (First Last): _______________________________________________ Phone: (___)____-______
Sex: M F             E-mail (the student’s or parents)_____________@______________
Student 4 Home Address: __________________________________________________
City/State/Zip Code: _____________________, ____________ __________________
Teacher information—This is to be the information about the
student’s teacher for their project.

Teacher’s Name (First Last): ________________________________________
• ALL data submitted to SARSEF will be used only for the purposes of SARSEF. It
will NOT be shared without obtaining permission from the student, their school and
their parents via the contact information as provided
• Registration for and participation in the SARSEF assumes parental approval is
acquired. This includes use of the student’s information and image for SARSEF

Student Signature_________________________________ Date____/___/____

Parent Signature__________________________________ Date___/___/____

Teacher Signature__________________________ ______ Date ___/___/____
          Scientific Review Committee (SRC) Research Plan
                          & Approval Form
    NOTE: Grades K-8 students must use this form if your project involves:
     Non-Human vertebrate animals, Human/Animal Tissue, Recombinant DNA,
     Pathogens, HumanSubjects, Controlled Substances, Hazardous Substances or
                               Hazardous Devices
Student's Name _______________________________Grade_____ Phone____________
Teacher's Name _________________________________________ Phone____________

Qualified Scientist/Adult Sponsor __________________________ Phone___________
 A qualified scientist is someone working as a scientist or engineer in the field of study/research.
School _________________________________________________________________
School Address___________________________________________________________
Project Title _____________________________________________________________
Where will the project be completed?
               ____Research Institution ____School ____Field ____Home
Parent/Guardian Signature__________________________________Date ____________
Send ALL the following materials to SARSEF SRC for review and approval, before
starting the project:
1) This form to initiate SRC Action. If denied an SRC member will contact the teacher, student,
or scientist.
2) Written statement of problem or question being addressed. Why are you doing this study? This
should include a justification statement and explanation of why other alternatives are not used.
3) Detailed description of the methods and procedures to be used. This must include chemical
concentrations, drug doses, number of experiments to be run, etc.
4) Bibliography/References including at least three major reviews (i.e., peer reviewed journal
articles, books) from your library search. If you plan to use animals, an additional reference
regarding animal care must be included.
**Your School's SRC may be used for preliminary screening and for alternative suggestions, but
if the project involves any of the items listed in the Note above, it MUST have prior approval by
the SARSEF SRC before starting the project.
**Grades K-8 Projects involving Human Subjects: if the project involves only the student’s
family or classmates, the project may be approved by the School's properly constituted SRC.
Attach an unsigned sample of the Consent Form if needed.
Prior to project startup, send this form and the items listed at the top of the page to: (Do NOT
send by Certified mail!) SARSEF SRC, 7380 E Snyder Road, Tucson AZ 85750
Upon completion of SRC action, all items will be returned. SARSEF does not retain a copy, so
BRING A COPY of these items, with approval signatures, to project setup and keep a personal
copy for your records.
SRC Approval Signature______________________________________ Date____________
SRC Comments/Requirements:
Suggested starting points:
  Have them to make a list of 10 things they are curious about,
  Have them discuss it with parents, teachers, relatives or friends
Sophisticated high technology research is not expected in elementary grades, so it
needs to be something within their grasp. Consumer product testing is a common
project, but in order to be successful at a science fair, they need to be done with lots of
data collection (many repetitions), a notebook showing logical thought processes
through the project, math is used, and the hypothesis or problem statement, conclusion,
abstract and project board are good quality. NOTE: a good quality project board does
not mean a beautiful computer generated board. It means, a project board that the
judges can easily read (hand printed is ok), there is good representation of the
procedure used, data analysis, conclusions, and an abstract is clearly written to
summarize the project.
Where do I begin?
   Decide on a project topic; consult with your parent, teacher, or mentor A
     MUST: Get Scientific Review Committee (SRC) approval if your project involves
     animals, human subjects or any controlled or hazardous materials. This applies
     to all grades, your own pets, family, and friends.
   Once approved, start your bibliography with some library research
   Start your project notebook
   Design project, determine how much data will be needed, and begin
     collecting data
   Analyze your data
   Draw conclusions
   Present your study on a project Board
   Compete in your school fair
The Scientific Process
The general purpose of a Science Fair is to give students firsthand experience with
the scientific process. The basic model for the scientific process has been around for
   Identify a problem
     The focal point of any scientific investigation is a central problem or question. What
     factors cause a bubble to pop? How does one combat harmful bacteria?
    Develop a Hypothesis
     A hypothesis is an educated guess. It should be specific, and testable. For example,
     “Moist air makes bubbles last longer, “ or “Penicillin will kill this harmful bacteria.”
    Test the Hypothesis
     This is the most involved step in the scientific process. The procedure developed
     must be designed to answer the specific hypothesis that has been stated. A
     scientist cannot determine if moist air is required for long-lasting bubbles by
     conducting an experiments dealing with water purity.
    Evaluate the Data
     Once the experiment has been conducted, the scientist must determine if the data
     collected answers the hypothesis. Quite often, the data is inclusive or the
     hypothesis is disproved. While frustrating, both of these outcomes are useful.
     Inconclusive data might point to a need for a new producer or hypothesis.
    Identify a New Problem
     Strong scientific inquiry often generates more questions than it answers. Most major
     discoveries have been the result of questions raised in unrelated experiments.
                                     Deciding on a project
  ADVICE: First think of those things that you wish you knew more about, then get an adult to help
 you narrow it down to something that you can actually accomplish. You can use the Internet for
help, but do not copy a project. Use your own ingenuity to change its so that it is truly your project.
     Find some topic of interest to you. It does not have to be terribly complex or
      entirely original, but it should be something you have wondered about and are
      curious enough to do some library research before you begin your project.
     Think through the whole project, what kinds of data will you need to collect,
      what math/statistical methods will you use to analyze data? How will you
      present it on your board, using graphics, pictures (hand drawn or photos)?
                                    Start Collecting Data
     Set up your experiment and begin collecting the data.
     Organize your data collection and notes as neatly as possible, preferably in
      notebooks. Younger students (5th grade for sure) students should keep notes in
      bound laboratory notebooks. Neatness is necessary for you to be able to use
      the notes and data later; however, the notebook is mainly for your use. If you
      make a mistake or discard some data, leave it in the notebook and write a
      note explaining why the data was not used. Use the notebook like a diary to
      explain the various decisions made during the course of your research.
     Good researchers keep good notebooks and fully record the changes and all
      mistakes made as they go through the project.
                                     Analyze your data
     For some of the very elementary projects you will not have much data and will
      probably not use sophisticated math and/or statistics. Possibly you will only plot
      your data on a line or bar graph. However, certainly by the 5th grade, you will
      collect many datum points and you will need to use mathematics and statistics
      to analyze your data accepting or rejecting your hypothesis and supporting
      your conclusions. One of the biggest mistakes is a student attempting to draw
      conclusions on too small of a data sample. How much is enough? For
      example if you are testing the strength of some material, stressing it to
      breakpoint, one sample is probably not enough to be certain about the results.
      Two or three may be enough, ten or more may be enough, and in some cases,
      hundreds or more may be required.
                                   Draw Conclusions
ADVICE: Carefully word your Hypothesis (or Problem Statement) and Conclusions so that there
is a clear connection. Don’t forget the experimental summary, including the question,
hypothesis, materials, procedures, results in chart or graph form, analysis, and conclusion.
     Often, judges will look first at your Problem Statement (or hypothesis) and then
      look at your conclusions, then go back to review the rest of the material. A well
      worded problem and conclusion will get the judge interested in your project.
     If possible, the conclusion should indicate your thoughts regarding cause and
      effect. For example: The tallest plants were fertilized with D. The ingredients in
      D indicate more iron than in A, B, or C. All other nutrients were about the same
      percentage. Thus it is possible the additional iron is what caused D to make the
      plants grow more than A, B, or C.
     Rejecting the hypothesis or otherwise having an experiment come out different
      than you thought is not a failure, and it can be just as important as an
      accepted hypothesis. The judges will look at conclusions, and they do not
      downgrade for a rejection of hypothesis or miscued original expectations.
     Accuracy is important in data collection. Do a thorough analysis and
      presentation, and be clear and concise during reporting.
                                   Write Your Abstract
ADVICE: Even in the lower grades it is a good idea to prepare an abstract. This is the time to
 get started with the concept of telling what you learned in a short essay. 5th Graders must
                        have abstracts on the project board or table.
     The Abstract is your less-than-250-word narrative of what you did and it should
      Why you did this project and include a brief problem statement (do not
         simply repeat your hypothesis)
      What materials and research techniques you used
      How did you collect data~ How did you analyze data~ How did you arrive at
         your conclusions
      What would you like to do next if you are still curious about this topic?
                             Present your study on a Board
ADVICE: Make your board easy to read, not real wordy, and use graphics, drawings and
photos to tell as much as you can. Materials on the board may be hand drawn and printed.
• The Project Board, and your notebook, are all the judges see.
    (Keep a notebook. A project notebook, keeping track of your experiment, is a good
                                idea for all grade levels.)
• The Board should be neat, easy to read, and concise. Project Boards that are filled
with lots of detailed written material take too much time to read and tend to be
difficult to judge. Use photos and graphs where possible. Have print large enough to
read from a distance
• Make it look good, but computer generated text or graphics are not essential to a
good project board. It is the substance of what is there; your Problem Statement,
Methods, Data Collection and Analysis, and Conclusions that influence judges. A
beautiful board with bad data and analysis will not become a winner.
• When you setup your Board for judging try to use pictures, rather than the actual
apparatus used in your project. It is what you have written in your abstract,
notebook, and what you show on your board that is judged. Avoid “stuff” sitting on
a table. Use photos or drawings if possible.
                 Unacceptable for Display at Donaldson and at SARSEF
        Photographs depicting the students performing their experiment procedures is
      acceptable, however, any pictures that identifies the student will be removed or
    Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in other than
     normal conditions (surgical techniques, dissection, necropsies or other lab techniques
    Prior awards, medals, business card, flags, etc.
    Personal photographs, accomplishments, acknowledgments, addresses phone or fax
     numbers, etc.
    Living organisms (Plants, animals, microbes, etc.), Dried plant materials,Taxidermy
     specimens or parts
    Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals (includes embryos)
    Human or animal food, Human/animal parts
    Soil or waste samples, Chemical reagents including water
    Poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substance or devices (firearms,
     weapons, ammunition
    Dry ice or other sublimating solids (solids that vaporize to a gas without passing
     through a liquid phase)
    Sharp items (syringes, needles, pipettes, etc.)
    Flames or flammable materials, Empty tanks previously containing combustible liquids
     or gases
    Batteries with open top cells
                                    Science Fair Pointers
      The project must be ORGINAL. Science Fair judges always look for originality and
       will not be interested in a project that does not include a student’s creative input.
      Use research experiments, rather than models or collections.
      A display is not a project. While it is important to make a clear presentation, your
       project should not be a display alone. A volcano demonstration may be
       interesting, but id does not indicate that any scientific investigation has taken
      In your display, more is not necessarily better. Your display should be
       straightforward and concise. Do not include extra information just to fill a display
      The main goal of a science fair project is to help the student use and strengthen
       the skills he or she has learned and develop higher-level skills. The main goal
       should not be the ribbon or prize.
      All judging and awards will be done by grade level. Individual projects, team
       projects, and group projects compete against other projects in the same
       category with in each grade level
      Only 12 projects (the maximum allowed to by SARSEF for elementary schools) will
       be chosen to participate in the Science Fair at the TCC in March
      The K-5 judging criteria: Curiosity, Problem statement (Hypothesis,) Conclusions,
       Background Study, Learning Experience, Organization, notebook included and
       Abstract (required for 5th graders)
      Judges will give more weight to curiosity.
            o Did the students simply read a book and follow its detailed instructions, or
               was he/she genuinely curious about something and interested in
               performing and experiment to satisfy that curiosity.
            o Was it necessary to collect data and use some analytical skills to satisfy
               that curiosity?

Places to find Project Ideas:
~Check the library for science fair project ideas books
~Look through science magazines
~Ask your teacher
~Check out theses websites:
    Southern Arizona Science & Engineering Fair-
    International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)
    The Discovery Channel's resource of project ideas!
    Eurekalert News for Kids

             Information coming soon regarding
            Donaldson’s own Science Fair Website!!

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