FAQ

ALL PROJECT IDEAS NEED TO BE APPROVED By Safety/Science Review (SRC) BEFORE WORK BEGINS.

WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE IN SVSEF?

A STEM project is some of the most authentic “real world” work you can do as a middle or high school student. In a work environment, you’ll be given projects that require you to create solutions, meet deadlines, and explain your project. According to the Connectory (theconnectory.org, September 25, 2018), “these skills are vital to any career. Competition can also encourage students to challenge themselves and work harder than they might normally in order to achieve a goal, and it an also encourage some students to work together toward as shared goal – even if that goal is beating the other team.”

Many of SVSEF’s participants from last year’s fair, as well as the previous Citywide Science Fair, reported that discussing their projects with the judges was their favorite part of the process. Being an SVSEF participant also means you’ll get to see the work done by both your friends as well as students from other schools. Moreover, since fewer than 6% of K-12 students participate in a science fair, your inclusion makes it a “stand out” item on your college applications.

WHAT’S THE PROCESS FOR ENTERING SVSEF?

SEE THE FAIR GUIDELINES FOR THE DETAILS, BUT THE FOLLOWING IS AN OVERVIEW:

(1) ALL PROJECT IDEAS NEED TO BE APPROVED By Safety/Science Review (SRC) BEFORE WORK BEGINS.
Project categories are: behavioral science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering/math/computer science.

(2) Check the UNACCEPTABLE PROJECTS LIST FIRST, and then complete a background search to get ideas and pointers for designing your project.

(3) Review clinic guides on fair guidelines page. (Click HERE.)

(4) After you have decided on a project, go to the SVSEF ENTRY FORM (Click HERE) to complete an application. SVSEF’s STEM Science Review Committee (SRC) reviews each application for safety, ethics, and grade level appropriateness.

(5) If everything in your application is complete, you’ll receive an email that says “Approved.” If your project is incomplete (some projects require additional forms from ISEF to be completed), or has grade level, safety or ethics issues, an email will be sent to you saying “Needs additional work” with feedback outlining what is needed to improve your project. When you resubmit your resolution to the outlined issue(s) to svsfsrc@gmail.com, SRC will either give project approval or work with you to get it. SVSEF expects this to be a learning experience and we are happy to help you along the way.

(6) Once your application is approved, THEN you’ll begin work on your project.

(7) If you need help with your project, (1) go to the Fair Forum to see if your issue is already being
discussed, and if not, post your question, (2) review principles using Hockey Science Scholar, Modules 8 and 12, Strength and Hockey Scholar, respectively (class code: ca16f259) and/or Math Scholar, Modules 7 and 10, Speed and Skate Blades, respectively (class code: Math-82a06954 Science-A1953079) at everfi.com; (3) contact svsefmgr@gmail.com to find a mentor.

(8) You’ll need a bound notebook AND science fair display board. The notebook is where you record ALL of your data, designs, and project ideas. Take pictures, make sketches, graph your data, and analyze your results with the statistics you learned by attending the clinic. Then, write them up for your display board (see Project Display Rules and Helpful Hints) and summarize them for your abstract.

(9) On February 7, bring your completed display board to the Christopher High School between 4:00-6:30 PM for check in. If you have your name on the front of the board, please remove or cover it so it cannot be seen. You may make arrangements with another person (for example, another
student, your teacher, coach, etc.) to deliver your board if you are unable to
do so yourself.

If you do not already have your name on the BACK of your board, you will be given a marker to LEGIBLY PRINT it on the back of the RIGHT SIDE PANEL of your board.

You will also be given 3 things:(1) a colored dot (denoting your project category), that you will put below your name on the back of your board, (2) a judging form ((you need to fill out just the top section (your name, your partner’s name (if you are a team), school, and project title), and (3) a SVSEF sticker (identifying whether or not the photographer may take pictures of you). Take your board, the judging form with your name(s), school, and project title filled out, and the SVSEF sticker to one of the color coded tables that matches your dot in your grade range (middle or high school; they are are different sides of the gym). Set your board, the judging form, and SVSEF sticker on this table. If your notebook is complete, you may leave this and allowed physical objects, too; otherwise bring these with you the following day when you enter for judging. Do NOT LEAVE laptops or other high value electronic devices.

(10) February 8 is judging and award ceremony day. You must enter the Christopher High School gym between 10:00-10:30 AM. As soon as you reach your board, put the SVSEF sticker on your shirt/blouse so it is easily visible to the fair photographer. Judges will start student interviews very soon after you arrive. While it is fine to have a prepared 2 minute “elevator speech,” since the judges have previewed your project earlier that day, it is more likely that you will be asked specific questions (such as how you got the idea for your project, how you collected and analyzed your data, what you learned, and what you would do differently based on your results). You will have at least one category judge interview you. You may have a special award judge talk to you, too. After being interviewed, feel free to look at other students’ projects but either stay close or circle back to your project (in case one or more judges want to talk to you further).

(11) At 1:30 PM, SVSEF will admit parents, families, and the general public to the fair.

(12) The Awards Ceremony will start promptly at 2 PM. First, second, and third place category awards will be given for both middle and high school. We are also planning on giving out two special awards that are independent of grade level: The Frank Crosby Best Teacher Award, and the David Fritts Most Innovative Project Award.

(13) Immediately after the conclusion of the Awards Ceremony, you need to take your display board, notebook, and approved physical objects with you so we can take down the tables and vacate the gym.

DO I HAVE TO WORK ALONE?

No, you may either work alone or with ONE partner. If you do a team project, be sure you divide the work equally between the two of you.

WHAT ARE THE KEY DEADLINES FOR SVSEF?

The Early Entry Application will be due November 1, 2019. The final deadline is at 5:00 PM January 8, 2020. (Note: SRC approval in process is OK; contact svsefmgr@gmail.com for questions/concerns.)
NO ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER DECEMBER 20, 2018.
Your completed project board drop off will be at the Christopher High School gym 

(850 Day Road, Gilroy) between 4:00 PM-6:30 PM on February 7, 2020.
IF you miss these deadlines, you can’t participate in SVSEF!

I’M INTERESTED IN ROBOTICS. WHAT IF I’D RATHER DO AN ENGINEERING PROJECT?

SVSEF has categories for experiments and investigations. Engineering, math, and computer science projects investigations; biology, chemistry, and physics
projects are examples of experiments. If you have a goal rather than a hypothesis, then your project probably belongs in the investigation category. See the Science & Engineering Practices Diagram and the Engineering Clinic Presentation links for help.

WHAT IS THE SYNOPSYS CHAMPIONSHIP?

It’s the Santa Clara County Science and Engineering Fair for all 6th-12th grade students; it’s held in March at the Santa Jose McEnery Convention Center. Many students within the county also choose to compete in this SEF. The top winners of the Synopsys Championship go on to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and/or California State Science and Engineering Fair (CSSEF).

WHAT IF I WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SYNOPSYS CHAMPIONSHIP TOO?

​As a “feeder” fair to the Synopsys Championship, SVSEF wants you to participate! There’s time between the two SEFs to take what you’ve learned during SVSEF judging to make improvements in your project for the county competition. But remember, there are separate applications and deadlines for the Synopsys Championship. See www.science-fair.org for this information.