Each year, we enable hundreds of Puget Sound area high school students to experience first hand the professional practices of working scientists and engineers through the development of independent research projects, guided by teachers or mentors. We help students better understand their world, think independently and critically, and help to solve everyday as well as global challenges. Our mission is to showcase and celebrate students’ research work, offering prizes and scholarships for the best efforts.
Welcome! Science Fair – why do it? “I love science” or “teacher made me” are the two most common responses we hear. Regardless of your reason, we want to help make it as easy a process as possible, and thus as enjoyable an experience as possible. We do have a lot of forms and a rather long process, but bear with us and we’ll try to set you up for success. This is your one-stop shop for your science fair needs.
Display and Safety
What to Expect
Note for Teams:
All team members need to register at the same time.
If a team consists of two members from different regional fair counties that team can choose which regional fair to enter. For example, if a team consists of a member from Thurston County and from King County they could enter South Sound or Central Sound but not both.
If a team consists of three members they would need to register for the fair which contains two of the members. For example, if the team consists of two members from Pierce County and one from King County they would need to enter the South Sound fair.
The team can participate in the state fair after the regional fair with no restrictions.
Welcome! Science Fair – why do it? Many of you who are reading this have already participated in our fair year after year. And for that, thank you. For those of you haven’t yet participated, we are here to help.
Why Should My Students Participate?
Students should participate in science and engineering fairs because it encourages creativity and ingenuity and promotes an inquiry-based approach to learning. Students develop a question, conduct research, analyze data, and share findings. It is an effective way to engage students in applying their knowledge of the scientific method, while further developing skills in areas of literacy, mathematics, and communications. It also promotes positive attitudes towards science and demonstrates to students the relevance of science and research. And if you are still not convinced… it’s also a lot of fun!
All high school students attending private, public, charter, parochial, or home schools in King or Snohomish County are eligible to participate in the fair. Students must first compete in CSRSEF in order to be eligible for the Washington State Science & Engineering Fair.
If you are interested in bringing more than 5 projects to CSRSEF, it is in your best interest to contact Divyang Upadhyay, Fair Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). He will put you on a distribution list that will have useful training and announcements for educators who are supporting multiple students.
Rules and Guidelines
The CSRSEF rules and guidelines are the same as the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair’s (ISEF) standards. Check out the ISEF Rules & Guidelines to learn more.
Science projects should be hypothesis-based and follow the scientific method. Engineering projects should have engineering goals and produce a product. For more information on how to differentiate between Science Research and Non-Inquiry based Research, see the 2013 CSRSEF Project Guide.
Many class assignments, senior projects, summer research projects, and displays created for other science competitions can be entered into the fair with minimal changes.
Projects involving human participants, vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents (ANY microorganisms or viruses), or hazardous chemicals, activities or devices need to be registered online and have submitted paperwork by January 29, 2020.
All other projects need to be submitted by February 19, 2019.
STEM Wizard Registration Process
Our new web-based software STEM Wizard allows teachers better access to student work and students will be able to look at the progress of their paperwork in almost real time. Students interested in participating at the state level will have their paperwork automatically sent to the state fair AFTER fair day. Since this is a new system, please feel free to reach out and let us know what is working and what you are having trouble with.
Please note: teachers must registers first before letting students register (students will select their school and teacher based on the teacher’s profile).
One of the super cool things about this new system is that when students register, students can add their cell phone number and get text alerts for when there’s something updated on their project. Note: students also will need to know if they are doing their project as a team and the intended category they want to enter (though the category can be changed later with an email to us); you will also need to keep track of your login and password. The registration wizard will prompt students if they need additional forms.
To register as a teacher, please visit STEM Wizard homepage and click Register in the upper right hand corner.
Resources and Event Information
The complete fair schedule and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Student What to Expect page. We encourage you to read through this material.
2019 ISEF Forms can be found on the Student Forms page. If you would like to augment your familiarity with ISEF forms and would like to schedule a class forms clinic, please email email@example.com
Thank you for taking the time to consider being a judge at the Central Sound Regional Science & Engineering Fair. As a Judge, you have the opportunity to meet many local high school students who are passionate about your field of study. They are eager to share their own work with experts in each field of science. Judges will meet with a number of students in a chosen field, and will assess the quality of work that the students have developed in their project.
Perhaps even more important than the judging itself, the fair is an opportunity for you to have a memorable impact on the lives of some very talented young people. For some students, you are the first professional they have ever met who does a science or engineering job for a living. Part of your role at the Science Fair is to be an ambassador for your profession. Some students’ perceptions of you could influence their career choices. Finally this is an opportunity for the participants to learn and grow; and your wisdom and motivation are paramount to their success.
Judge Registration is open for the 2020 fair. Sign up here
Q: Who can be a judge?
A: Anyone with college degree or higher in a science field, including professional degrees (i.e. MD, DDS), are eligible to judge our science categories. Engineering judges must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering. High school science and engineering teachers who do not have students participating in the fair are also invited to judge.
We also have a large need for behavioral science judges, as this category is our largest and boasts numbers around 30 each year. Those with degrees in psychology, neurobiology, human behavior, cultural anthropology, sociology, or related fields may judge in this category.
Q: Why register?
A: Even if you have been a judge before, we need everyone to complete the online registration form below so we can ensure an accurate headcount, nametags, and to complete judge assignments for each category.
Q: What is expected of CSRSEF judges?
A: Judges are expected to objectively evaluate student projects using the CSRSEF judging guidelines, which will be provided for you on the day of the fair. In addition, Judges are also expected to provide positive feedback to all participants and participate in deciding on the awards for your category (or special award).
Your presence is required on Fair day from 8 am until 12pm. A lunch will be provided for each judge. When registering, you will indicate the fields in which you are comfortable reviewing projects, and be placed in small teams on the day of the fair. Each team will visit between four and seven projects during the course of the morning. There are three rounds of judging (the last one designed for helping to decide award winners), and there will be times to discuss results and projects with the other judges in your category between judging rounds and during lunch.
More details and additional training will be provided the day of the fair.
Q: Do I have to stay the entire time?
Q: How do I prepare?
A: For all judges, we will host a 45-minute training on the morning of the fair. The training is for all judges, including past judges.
Additional Volunteer Opportunities
Are you a BC student or community member who would like to volunteer to help out the Science Fair with event prep? Volunteer registration for the 2020 fair is now open.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Your support makes a difference
Have you ever wished someone would come up with a better way to help earthquake victims, fight oil spills, or purify drinking water? Last year, high school students in King and Snohomish Counties set out to address these problems and many others through science and engineering research projects. These students made incredible discoveries and went on to win prizes and recognition in the Washington State Science & Engineering Fair, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition, the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, and more!
Success stories like these are possible because of the Central Sound Regional Science & Engineering Fair. The fair offers a forum to display the best student-led research in the most populous and high-tech areas in Washington State. The CSRSEF stimulates scientific curiosity, encourages exploration of big ideas, and makes the hard work of scientific research more understandable and engaging. Some of these award-winners may grow up to be scientists or engineers, but all CSRSEF participants learn about how science works.
But the Central Sound Science & Engineering Fair is only possible because of donors and supporters like you.
Running the fair requires resources—lots of resources. The CSRSEF region serves an area that consists of more than 200 high schools and hundreds of thousands of students. Your gift is vital to the fair, providing student awards and supporting teacher education programs to enhance students’ science project experiences.
With your help, we will be able to achieve the following: Hundreds of community members will be exposed to the work of high schoolers in the region, the mentoring influence of the judging process, and a collegiately competitive experience. One additional student will have the opportunity to attend and compete in the Intel International Science Fair, the largest annual pre-college science competition in the world. Schools around the region and the state will have access to materials and collaborative resources to improve science education by developing or enhancing their science fair programs.
Your gift allows us to make the CSRSEF a reality, and your gift is tax deductible. All donations are received by the Central Sound Regional STEM Education Foundation and used to support the Fair. Thanks!
Matching gifts are an excellent way to double or even triple the value of your gift. Simply check with your employer to see if they are one of the 200 or more area companies that match charitable gifts by their employees. Usually, it only takes a simple form obtained from your company’s personnel office. Fill it out, mail it to us, and we’ll take care of the rest. And you will be credited with the value of your gift plus your company’s match!
Thank you! We appreciate your support for the Central Sound Regional Science & Engineering Fair!
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
6817 208th St. SW #3344
Lynnwood, WA 98048
One of the great things about a science fair is that there is room for parent involvement and outside help. By sharing science experiences, parents, teachers, and other mentors demonstrate that learning is an important and enjoyable process. The key is that you are the lead on the project. Adults can offer advice, review forms, help gather materials, assist in constructing the backboard, and proofread grammar, however, the research and overall project, should reflect the effort of the student(s).
Working with a professional can open your eyes to current research, laboratory equipment, and valuable advice. As a student, you will not be penalized if you choose to work on a project under the supervision of a researcher, however, we encourage students to do the majority of the work and have a strong understanding of the research they are working on.
We understand that it can be difficult to find a mentor and we do not penalize students who are working on their own. Some of the best research we have seen at the fair comes from students that have researched simple problems in new and creative ways! However, you will need to have at least an Adult Sponsor (could be a parent/guardian) to go over your project paperwork. Depending on your experimental design, you may be required to have a Designated Supervisor or Qualified Scientist.
CSRSEF uses the same categorization as Intel ISEF. Each project must be entered into one of the 20 science, math, and engineering categories. Many projects can easily fit into more than one Intel ISEF category, therefore, it is your decision to choose the category that most accurately describes your project.
Before selecting your category, ask yourself the following questions:
Who will be the most qualified to judge my project? What area of expertise is the most important for the judge to have? (For example, a medical background or an engineering background?)
What is the emphasis of my project? What characteristic of my project is the most innovative, unique or important? (For example, is it the application in medicine or the engineering of the machine?)
Please note: Fair officials reserve the right to combine similar categories into larger judging groups to streamline the judging process
After you fill out the online registration, you should receive a confirmation that your submission was successful. If your project is in need of pre-approval, expect to hear from us in the next 1-3 weeks to let you know if there is anything you are missing in order for you to go forward with your project. Two weeks before the Fair, we will send you an email to request an abstract of your project. One week before the Fair, we will send you a day-of logistics email and assign you your project number. Post-Fair we will send you an email about the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.
The CSRSEF Scientific Review Committee and Institutional Review Board (SRC/IRB) is a group of adults knowledgeable about regulations concerning experimentation. All student projects involving human subjects, vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents, hazardous materials, and DEA-controlled substances MUST receive SRC/IRB approval BEFORE beginning their projects.
These professionals are primarily concerned that the projects are constructed and that data is collected in a safe, respectful, and legal manner. Their review does not indicate if a project is “good” or “bad,” only if it is safe to continue or not. While literature reviews are often required by teachers, it is not evaluated by the SRC/IRB. This committee is concerned with methodology of construction or data collection, as well as issues of consent, safety, and legality.
The day-of schedule looks tentatively like this:
8:00 to 9:00 am Student Registration and Project Set-Up. All Projects must be set up and approved by the display committee by 9:00 am.
9:00 to 12:00 pm Judging with Students (no parents/families allowed in gym).
12:00 to 1:00 pm Lunch Break. Please note that there will be very limited food service for student participants on campus on during the fair. Please plan to bring a lunch or go off campus during this time.
1:00 to 1:30 pm Students take down projects
1:30 to 4:30 pm Break for students (concurrent final judging for selected students)
4:30 to 5:30 pm Awards Ceremony
Projects must be set up by 9:00am. There are three rounds of judging. The judging process can be lengthy with a lot of “down” time and standing around. We recommend that you dress professionally but comfortably, with comfortable shoes. You may bring a book to read or homework to work on. Be sure that whatever you bring is not a distraction to yourself or others.
Your display will be a visual aid that will briefly state all the important aspects of your project: problem, hypothesis, experiment description, results/analysis, conclusions and applications.
Be sure to read through the Visual Display requirements as listed on the ISEF display and safety regulations page. Also, note that no photos of others are allowed, unless a signed release form has been submitted.
Besides the project board, your notebook(s) and the official abstract should be included. Also, have all of the originals of all forms required for your project.
We recommend that you only display computer or other valuable items while you are with your project. There is NO access to power, so you will not be able to recharge any electronics. The CSRSEF and Bellevue College are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
While CSRSEF adheres to ISEF display and safety regulations, we understand that in many cases, CSRSEF will serve as a student’s first competitive science fair. With this in mind, we encourage students to follow the ISEF display and safety rules, but CSRSEF will not disqualify a project unless unsafe for the participants, judges, or visitors (i.e. use of fire or explosives, large quantities of water, etc). Each project will be visited by a Display and Safety team, and they will let the participants know if their display would be in violation at other science fairs–most notably WSSEF and ISEF.
Maximum Size of Project: Depth (front to back): 30 inches or 76 centimeters Width (side to side): 48 inches or 122 centimeters Height (floor to top): 108 inches or 274 centimeters. Maximum project sizes include all project materials, supports, and demonstrations for public and judges.
The CSRSEF category judges evaluate projects using the Intel ISEF judging criteria. Judges are looking for creative ability, scientific thought, thoroughness, skill, and clarity. Team projects will also be judged on how well the students worked together.
Typically, you will be at your project for 2 of the 3 judging rounds and will be visited between 1 and 3 times by a judging team of 2-4 individuals. The judges put together a list of sample questions they may ask you for your reference (link to come). Usually each time you are visited, judges will spend about 5-10 minutes with you; use your time wisely, and note there is a lot of down time while you wait.
Special awards judges may ask you specific questions directly related to the organization who sponsored the award (see below for more details).
Typically there are two judging sessions, each 45 minutes long with a 15 minute intermission. Students will stay at their project during their assigned session and are free to look at other projects during the other. ALL students are required to stay at their project during the third judging session–this is when special awards judges and final category judging will take place. Students selected to be considered for Grand Champion will be notified after the lunch break. All other students will take down their projects between 1-1:30pm so the room can be set up for the Awards Ceremony.
The judging interview is the most important component of the judging process. If you cannot come at all, we recommend that you do not compete at CSRSEF.
Those students in King and Snohomish counties who want to compete at the state level need to participate at CSRSEF. It is up to the fair director to give you permission to compete at the Washington State Fair if you do not participate in CSRSEF–she only does so in very special circumstances. Those who compete at other competitions or have sports-related obligations will NOT be granted a waiver to compete at WSSEF.
ALL team members must be present during judging. It would otherwise be difficult for the judges to understand the contributions of each team member. Team projects without all members present will receive a hefty team deduction on their final score.
There are three types of student awards at the CSRSEF: Grand Awards, Category Awards, and Special Awards. High school students can also nominate their teacher for the Bruce Murdock Teacher of the Year Award.
The top two winners of the CSRSEF will receive an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona May 12-17, 2019. Students travel with all of the Intel ISEF participants from Washington State. Grand Awards are selected by the CSRSEF Head Judges during a special judging session. All Grand Award winners and their parents are expected to attend a special meeting immediately following the CSRSEF awards ceremony to discuss ISEF policies and procedures.
Category award winners are chosen by category judges. The number of awards (1st, 2nd, 3rd) depends on participation levels and the quality of projects within each category. Since the CSRSEF is a small fair, we often group categories together and make awards within each category group. To receive a category award, a project must be of the highest quality within their category. For this reason, not all categories are guaranteed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.
Special awards are sponsored by local and national businesses and organizations. Eligibility varies from award to award, and recipients are chosen by special awards judges. A final listing of awards will be posted after award information is confirmed with sponsors. Special thanks to our local sponsors and local chapters handling awards distributed by ISEF.
Do you have a great science teacher? Nominate him/her for the Bruce Murdock Teacher of the Year Award!
To nominate your teacher, send us a letter telling us how he/she has supported you throughout the science fair process. Please be sure to tell us about your teacher’s:
Dedication to students
Efforts to help students understand the science or engineering process.
The winning teacher will receive an acrylic award and a cash prize during the CSRSEF Award Ceremony.
Mr. Bruce Murdock from Cedarcrest High School was named the first recipient of CSRSEF Teacher of the Year award in March 2012. Mr. Murdock and fellow teacher Kellie Halverson spent 5 years incorporating independent research projects into Cedarcrest High School’s honors science classes, creating problem-based research opportunities for over 50 students each year. The award is named the Bruce Murdock Teacher of the Year Award to honor Mr. Murdock’s contributions to the science education in Washington State. He continues to build up the science fair community by serving on both CSRSEF and WSSEF advisory boards, as well as being the chair of the Scientific Review Committee for CSRSEF.
Send your finished letters to the CSRSEF director on or before March 1, 2020.
Participation in science fair stimulates student’s interest in science and technology while simultaneously promoting the development of communication, decision making, evaluation of alternative solutions, and critical thinking.
A science or engineering project answers the question ‘Why do I need to learn this stuff?’ Independent research projects (like those at science fairs) build confidence, challenge stereotypes, and create learning opportunities beyond the classroom. They develop skills in science, math, English, and critical thinking, and meet many of the Washington State Science Learning Standards for high school students. Science fair projects take students on a journey of learning and discovery that can inspire a love of inquiry and research.
Graduating high school students that receive awards and recognition at regional fairs and beyond have a distinct advantage over other college applicants in being considered and accepted by the schools of their choice. This is because science fair honors rank high among the screening factors used by admissions officers at most top universities.
We cannot give refunds to projects that are disqualified or withdrawn. It takes time and resources for the CSRSEF to review all of the projects, entered or not.
Work on something you yourself are interested in. You don’t need to know all about your topic when you start. That is the whole idea of doing research. Good projects are ones that you have fun with.
Start early. This gives you more time for research and to polish your presentation.
Get lots of help. There are many people that can help you with your project: teachers, mentors and parents. They can’t do your project for you but they can teach you about all sorts of things including how to use tools needed for your research.
Make a plan. It takes time to learn and do research. Your teachers plan out the entire year for courses you take. You need to meet deadlines too but you can keep your schedule simple. Keep track of things you need to do like creating an abstract, doing research and writing a research paper (which is encouraged, but not required).
Project data book. A project data book is your most treasured piece of work. Accurate and detailed notes make a logical and winning project. Good notes show consistency and thoroughness to the judges, and will help you when writing your research paper.
Abstract. After finishing research and experimentation, you are required to write a maximum 250 words, one-page abstract. An abstract should include (a) the purpose of the experiment, (b) procedures used, (c) data, and (d) conclusions. It also may include any possible research applications. Only minimal reference to previous work may be included. An abstract should not include the following: acknowledgments, or work or procedures done by the mentor.
Visual display. You want to attract and inform. Make it easy for interested spectators and judges to assess your study and the results you have obtained. Make the most of your space using clear and concise displays. Make headings stand out, and draw graphs and diagrams clearly and label them correctly. But any display you assemble must follow our Safety and Display guidelines.
A good title. Your title is an extremely important attention-grabber. A good title should simply and accurately present your research. The title should make the casual observer want to know more.
Take photographs. Many projects involve elements that may not be safely exhibited at the fair, but are an important part of the project. You might want to take photographs of important parts/phases of your experiment to use in your display. Photographs or other visual images of human test subjects must have informed consent.
Be organized. Make sure your display is logically presented and easy to read. A glance should permit anyone (particularly the judges) to locate quickly the title, experiments, results, and conclusions. When you arrange your display, imagine that you are seeing it for the first time.
Eye-catching. Make your display stand out. Use neat, colorful headings, charts, and graphs to present your project. Home-built equipment, construction paper, and colored markers are excellent for project displays. Pay special attention to the labeling of graphs, charts, diagrams, and tables. Each item must have a descriptive title. Anyone should be able to understand the visuals without further explanation.
Correctly presented & well constructed. Be sure to adhere to size limitations and safety rules when preparing your display. Display all required forms for your project. Make sure your display is sturdy, as it must remain intact for quite a while.
Research report. A report is optional, but strongly encouraged and will be required at ISEF. A project report is the written record of your entire project from start to finish. It should be clear and detailed enough for a reader to know exactly what you did, why you did it, what the results were, whether or not the experimental evidence supported your hypothesis, and where you got your research information. This written document is your spokesperson when you are not present to explain your project, but more than that, it documents all your work.
Do your best! Great research does not make a great project if you do not present it well. Aspects of the project like writing a paper or making a presentation board may not be at the top of your list of interesting things to do but they are all needed to make a great project. You will find it easier and more fun as you become better at doing these chores.
Washington State is home to six ISEF-affiliated science fairs: five regional fairs and one state-wide competition. Students MUST participate in a regional fair (if available) to be eligible to compete at the Washington State Science & Engineering Fair (WSSEF).
Location: Bremerton, WA
Eligibility: Washington State Students in Grades 1-12
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world, and is owned and administered by the Society for Science & the Public a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. The top 2-3 projects from CSRSEF go on to compete at ISEF.
Science fairs are gateways to a life-long fascination with science and with learning. Ask any scientist, engineer, or doctor about their science fair project and they invariably wax nostalgic and then explain how that event changed the course of their lives – regardless of whether they came home with awards. Science fairs put into practice the very skills that form successful academic and professional careers. It’s so much more than just a showcase of science experiments.
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