Science

Students grades K-12 are invited to enter an Science exhibit into the Mastodon Fair for a chance to win ribbons, prizes and scholarships. There are some additional special competitions that students can enter as well. All grades are divided and judged by Category.

All Science entries must abide by the Mastodon Fair Exhibit Rules, Display Guidelines, and the rules regarding entry. Please be aware that these have been updated and it is recommended you review them for changes that may affect you. Please pay attention to the rules for information about how grade level, category, and scope of exhibit determine what forms are required to enter the exhibit into the Fair.

Here are a few questions to help you choose your subject:

  1. Go with your passions – do your project on something you love.
  2. Have you always wondered why x, y, or z works? Or better yet – how? It’s great to do a science project on something you’re curious about.
  3. If you’ve been to the Fair before, try to think of things you DIDN’T see – and then do that.

Carefully review the category descriptions before you enter your exhibit. Choosing the right category can make a huge difference in how your exhibit is judged. If you have a science experiment in mind, or are looking for more information about the Mastodon Fair, we encourage you to start with our Getting Started pages, (K-8th grade) or (9-12th grade). This will walk you through the necessary steps of creating a Mastodon Fair exhibit, from: learning more about the Fair, picking a category, registering for the Fair, and what is needed for presenting your project.

Other terms you may be wondering about:

Intel ISEF – Well, first, ISEF stands for International Science & Engineering Fair. ISEF’s main sponsor is Intel – you know, the chip people. Anyway, regional fairs from around the nation and the world send students in grades 9-12 to compete at ISEF every year. Just where is ISEF? Actually, ISEF is a traveling event – and just like the Olympics cities bid for the right to host ISEF years in advance. ISEF is run by the Society for Science in the Public, (http://www.societyforscience.org), an organization which runs a number of different competitions to encourage students to get interested in science.

SRC – stands for Scientific Review Committee. At its smallest, a SRC must include three individuals: a science teacher, a school administrator, and a biomedical scientist (Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., or D.O.). The school nurse can serve as the biomedical scientist for the SRC committee. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the same thing as SRC. The only difference is that the IRB committee is for human subject projects. The same people may be used in this committee as SRC except a school counselor can be used instead of the school nurse. It is the job of the SRC to make sure that a student has filled out all of the appropriate forms for his/her project and to ensure that the project will be conducted in a safe manner (safe for both the student and any animal or human subjects involved). I.e., they’re there to make sure we don’t get projects like ‘the effects of rubbing alcohol on gold fish.’

Adult Sponsor – the person overseeing the student’s project. They ensure the students safety by making sure the Research Plan for the project is sound. He or she should also be checking to make sure proper paperwork is filled out before the project is reviewed by an SRC.

Designated Supervisor – the adult who supervises the experiment/project. The Adult Sponsor and Designated Supervisor may be the same person, but the Supervisor MUST BE trained in the student’s area of research.

Qualified Scientist – may act as a sounding board and mentor, or may be directly involved in the project fulfilling the role of Adult Sponsor as well. He or she MUST HAVE an earned doctoral/professional degree or master’s with equivalent experience in biomedical sciences. If the Qualified Scientist is acting more as a consultant and is not physically present for the experimentation, the student will need to work with a Designated Supervisor.

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