Stratford Landing’s 2014
Science and Engineering Fair (SEF)
The annual Science and Engineering Fair is set for Tuesday, February 25th, from 6:30-8:00pm!
Do you have questions about the world…like “why do I appear upside down in my cereal spoon?”…or “how does acid rain affect plant growth?” Are you ready to make an exciting discovery? Then use this webpage to research and conduct an SEF project!
|Wednesday, December 18||SEF announced; intent forms go home (also available here (pdf))|
|Friday, January 10||Intent form due to classroom teacher|
|Monday, February 24||Bring poster display to school for submission|
|Tuesday, February 25||6:30 - 8:00 pm: the BIG EVENT!
- Use the links above to help you research, plan and conduct your project
- Next, use the timeline to help guide you as you conduct your project
- Finally, prepare your project display on a 36" tall by 48" wide tri-fold poster board and submit it to the fair.
- Ideas are all around you--pursue your interests. Talk to your parents, teacher and friends; look up science fair project ideas at the library
- The following 3 websites provide helpful resources for finding interesting ideas and choosing a good topic for your SEF project. These are suggestions, you are not required to use them.
Please get your parent's permission before using the Internet!
Step 1: Ask a question or make an observation
What are you curious about or what have you seen that you wonder about?
Step 2: Define a purpose
Plan an experiment to answer a question.
Step 3: Write a hypothesis
What do you expect will happen in your experiment? Suggestion: try an if/then statement, such as "If acidic water is used to water plants, then they will die."
Step 4: Identify the independent and dependent variables
The independent variables are the conditions (e.g. pH level of the water) you change on purpose. The dependent variables are the responses that you measure or observe (e.g. plant health).
Step 5: Identify the constants
The conditions (e.g. amount and frequency of watering) you keep the same in your experiment every time you repeat it.
Step 6: Perform experiment: gather materials, repeat trials
Design an experiment to test your hypothesis. Gather the materials you need for your experiment. How many times did you conduct your experiment? Average your results over all trials. The more trials you perform, the more accurate your results will be.
Step 7: State your results and draw a conclusion(s); What did your experiment show? Did you confirm or disprove your hypothesis? What do you conclude?
Step 8: Title your experiment Title suggestion: "The Effect of (independent variable) on (dependent variable),” for example, "The Effect of Water pH Level on Plant Health."
The following timeline is a guide to help you make good progress on your SEF project.
Mid December-Mid January: Research ideas and select your project topic. Submit intent form to your classroom teacher by January 10th.
Mid January-Mid February: Research your project topic. Complete Steps 1-8 listed under Plan/Conduct. Complete your logbook.
Mid February: Prepare your poster display. Prepare a 3 minute spoken presentation for your poster.
Submit your poster during school on Monday, February 24th. Present your poster to a visiting expert on Tuesday, February 25th.
Display your project on a 36 inch tall by 48 inch wide tri-fold poster board (purchase from the SLES Main Office or an art/office supply store).
Required information (for experimental design projects): title, student name/teacher/grade, background information, hypothesis, materials, procedure (experiment), results, conclusion(s), bibliography (sources used)
You may arrange this information on your poster board as you prefer; however, the title and student name/teacher/grade must be centered at the top of the middle panel
Optional information: pictures from your experiment planning and execution, pictures from other sources that help explain your project.
• Bring your poster to school on Monday,FEB 24th
• Your classroom will have an assigned time to come to the cafeteria and submit their project display boards
• Upon submission, you will receive a letter describing your poster location and assigned presentation time at the fair on Tuesday evening; you will also receive your cool SEF t-shirt.
• IMPORTANT – Do not bring any additional materials with you when you submit your poster; instead, bring your logbook and demonstration materials to the fair on Tuesday evening, Feb. 25th
Students are prohibited from using the following organisms in their projects:
- Humans (including human surveys)
- Vertebrates (including all mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds)
If a student chooses to use invertebrates, it is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure that the experiment is done for sound scientific reasons and will not harm the invertebrate unduly.
One of the reasons for these restrictions is that these organisms are taken from the wild and once they are removed from their natural habitat, there are too many variables to make it a controlled experiment.
If you have ANY questions about these restrictions, please discuss them with your teacher. Your project topic will be reviewed by a Science Lead Teacher.
All SLES students are encouraged to participate in SEF; however, mandatory participation is only required of 6th grade students.
There are 6 types of projects that may be entered in the Science and Engineering Fair. Students in grades Preschool-5th may choose any project type; 6th grade students may choose between an experimental design project and a STEM project.
- Science Art Exhibit
Use artistic ability to design a project in the form of a drawing with a written explanation of the creation. For example, draw the solar system with labels of the planets along with interesting facts or diagram how something works and label its parts (like a clock or an engine).
- Science Demonstration
Present something learned from research. For example, create a display of the kinds of snakes found in Virginia or make a volcano and explain how one works. Be sure to include a list of sources for the information presented.
- Observational Design
Observe something to learn more about it. Begin with a question and discover the answer through observation. For example, study the behavior of a pet (how often a pet eats and sleeps in a day) or other people (do more boys or girls go into a comic book store). Can any other conclusions be drawn? Do other questions come to mind after reviewing the results?
- An Invention
Find a problem; then imagine a new thing that can solve the problem. If possible, make a model of the invention. If the invention is too complicated to make a model, create a line drawing instead. Explain how the design works and name the invention. Prepare a display for the invention and include the model or labeled drawing. A model does not have to work but must represent your concept. Describe the invention, its purpose, and include a list of supplies needed.
- Experimental Design
See the detailed explanation under “Your Project” for the steps to be followed to complete an experimental design project.
- STEM Project
See your classroom teacher for details.
- What is the Science and Engineering Fair (SEF)?
The Science and Engineering Fair is a chance to present an experiment or research project of your own to your peers and a visiting expert. This is not a contest and the entries are not judged. SEF is an opportunity to grow as a scientist/engineer and share your ideas with our school and discuss your project with an expert from the community.
- Who may participate?
All Stratford Landing students in preschool through 5th grade are encouraged to participate; 6th grade students are required to participate. You may work individually or with a friend.
- When is the Science and Engineering Fair?
SEF will be held on Tuesday, February 25th, from 6:30-8:00pm. Posters will be submitted during school on Monday, February 24th. Classes will tour the poster displays during the day on Tuesday. Participants will present their projects to visiting experts during their assigned time period on Tuesday evening. Projects go home with participants after the fair concludes at 8:00pm on Tuesday.
- How do I get an idea for my experiment or project?
Ideas are all around you. Talk to your parents, teachers and friends; look up science fair project ideas at the library. Some helpful websites are listed in the “Research” section.
- What kind of project can I do?
Students in grades Preschool-5th may choose to do any one of the 6 project types explained in the “Project Types” section. Students in 6th grade may choose between an experimental design project or a STEM project.
- How do I sign up?
Fill out and return the intent form to your teacher by Friday, January 10th. A copy of the intent form is available here.
- Where can I get a display board?
Display boards can be purchased in the main office for $5 beginning on February 3rd (limited quantity). Boards can also be purchased for about $8 from stores such as Michaels, Staples, or Office Depot.
- Are parents allowed to help?
Absolutely! Encourage your child to lead the way in identifying a topic that interests her/him and performing the background research. When your child is struggling to understand an issue or figure out a problem, try to ask guiding questions instead of offering solutions. When conducting experiments, sometimes safety is an issue: for example, drilling holes with a power tool. Students should have adult help/supervision when safety is a concern.
- What are the benefits of participation in SEF?
A high school student who was a Finalist in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair answered the question this way. “Students who participate in science and engineering fairs: learn how to conduct inquiry, extend their knowledge of science, improve their communications skills, and increase their self-confidence.”
If you have questions, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or one of the following SEF coordinators: