Rules and Requirements

img_3543Rules and Requirements for Participation in the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Fair

 

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Approval Before Experiment

Before a student starts a project, there are several important checkpoints. These are not only to protect the student, but also to teach the proper scientific protocols.

Types of Projects

As you decide how your school or class will participate, you need to know that there are the three types of research projects your students may do and enter:

  • Individual: Each student works on his or her own idea, and does his or her own research and project board.
  • Team: Teams of two or three students select the same topic, and work together to research and present. (Each student is involved in all phases, versus divide and conquer.)
  • Group or class project: (This option is ONLY available to Grades K-5.) Four or more students, or an entire class, agree on one topic, and work on it together. Each member of the group or class should be a part of the entire process, and keep their own lab book/journal with notes about the process and data.

Most Important – Before You Begin

The most demanding rules — rules that if violated can cause failure to qualify at SARSEF or ISEF — are those mandated by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and the Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is imperative that all projects involving non-human vertebrate animals, animal/human tissue, recombinant DNA, pathogens, human subjects, controlled substances, hazardous substances or hazardous devices obtain project approval by the SRC prior to starting the project.

Any survey or interaction with humans other than pure observation must also be reviewed and approved. Failure to obtain prior approval may result in “failure to qualify” at SARSEF and ISEF competition. Any survey or interaction with humans other than pure observation must also be reviewed and approved. Obtain approval by the SRC prior to starting the project. Failure to obtain prior approval may result in being unable to compete at SARSEF, DCYSC or ISEF competition.

  • All projects, no matter how innocent they may appear, must be reviewed by a SRC/IRB committee, prior to starting the project if they involve one of these things. This process starts with filling out the required forms to send in for approval early in the school year and before you start!
  • Schools are encouraged to form their own Scientific Review Committee. Your SRC should consist of three adults (usually a science teacher, an administrator or designee, and a health professional such as a counselor or nurse.) School SRC do not need to send the forms to SARSEF before approving, but may if they have questions or cannot make a final determination.
  • For high school projects, it is particularly important that students who need prior approval submit all of the required forms to the school’s SRC before starting. There is a new, easy-to-follow system of questions about projects that will now lead students to the exact forms that will be needed to compete at SARSEF, and most any other national/international competitions. Please visit:

http://apps2.societyforscience.org/wizard/index.asp

For K-8 students the following form may be used: Gr K-8 SRC Approval Form 11-2

This Informed Consent Form may be used for K-8: Informed Consent K-8

Upon reviewing a project, the SRC arrives at one of three decisions:

  • Approval: If a project is approved, the SRC chairperson signs the appropriate forms and returns paperwork to students as soon as possible, so that they can begin their project.
  •  Disapproval: The SRC chairperson will provide the student and sponsor with a list of reasons for disapproval, and suggestions for changes needed for approval. If suitable corrections are made, the revised project forms should be re-submitted for reviewed. If the project is approved, the student and sponsor will be told immediately so that the student can begin their project.
  • Projects that are NOT allowed: Some projects are unethical or should not be done by elementary students. Examples: projects designed to kill vertebrate animals, toxicity studies using vertebrate animals, improper treatment of animals, proposed use of potential pathogens at home, and lack of appropriate supervision. The SRC will notify the student and sponsor promptly and provide them with a complete list of reasons the project may not be done.

Specific items SRC members consider in reviewing a project include:

  • evidence of library/literary search (Internet, journals, books, etc.)
  • evidence of proper supervision
  • use of accepted research techniques
  • completed forms, signatures and dates
  • evidence of search for alternatives to animal use
  • humane treatment of animals
  • compliance with rules and laws governing proper care and housing of animals
  • appropriate us of devices and activities
  • appropriate/safe handling and use of recombinant DNA, potentially pathogenic organisms, tissues and hazardous substances
  • adequate documentation of the substantial expansion of continuing projects.

Mold and bacteria projects:
Mold – bread mold projects (K-8) may be allowed at home ONLY if the study is stopped as soon as the mold is seen. (In other words, as soon as mold starts to grow, the bread is thrown away.)
Bacteria – At NO time is bacteria culturing allowed at home. Samples may be collected at home or in the environment, but they must then be taken to a laboratory (school or lab) to be grown. Please review ISEF rules for specifics regarding the type of bacteria that can be grown in a BSL 1 lab.

Questions may be sent to src@sarsef.org

If the school SRC is in doubt, members may submit the form to the SARSEF Scientific Review Committe (SARSEF SRC, 7380 E. Snyder Rd., Tucson AZ 85750)

For High School Students

When a student is selected for and competes at SARSEF, it is imperative that all permissions and forms are complete. The SARSEF SRC/IRB (Scientific Review Committee/Institutional Review Board) is a group of professionals that approves projects according to the affiliation requirements, and the committee has access to University of Arizona faculty who serve as adjunct members. They also have access to other specialty faculty if there are questions of safety beyond the committee’s expertise. There can be no exceptions to compliance with SRC prior review and approval, regardless of the age of the student.  Upon reviewing a project, the SRC/IRB arrives at one of three decisions:

  1. Approval: If a project is approved, the SRC chairperson signs the appropriate forms and returns paperwork to students as soon as possible, so that they can begin experimentation.
  2. Disapproval: The SRC chairperson will provide the student and sponsor with a list of reasons for disapproval and suggestions for changes needed for approval. If suitable corrections are made, the revised project forms should be resubmitted for review. If the project is approved, the student and sponsor will be notified immediately so they can begin experimentation.
  3. Not Allowed: Some projects are unethical or should not be done by pre-college students. Examples would be projects designed to kill vertebrate animals, toxicity studies using vertebrate animals, improper treatment of animals, proposed use of potential pathogens at home, and lack of appropriate supervision. The SRC will notify the student and sponsor promptly and provide them with a complete list of reasons why the project may not be done.

Specific items SRC members consider in reviewing a project include:

  • evidence of library/literary search (Internet, journals, books, etc.)
  • evidence of proper supervision
  • use of accepted research techniques
  • completed forms, signatures and dates
  • evidence of search for alternatives to animal use
  • humane treatment of animals
  • compliance with rules and laws governing proper care and housing of animals
  • appropriate/safe handling and use of recombinant DNA, potentially pathogenic organisms, tissues and hazardous substances, devices and activities
  • adequate documentation of the substantial expansion of continuing projects.

Review and follow the ISEF rules questionnaire at: http://apps2.societyforscience.org/wizard/index.asp for high school students.

FORMS FOR HIGH SCHOOL (also should be required by your School SRC)

High school students must prepare the SSP defined ISEF forms as they apply to their projects. Click on the link to be taken to a simple-to-follow online questionnaire provided at http://apps2.societyforscience.org/wizard/index.asp

Questions may be sent to src@sarsef.org. If the school SRC is in doubt, they may submit questions or the forms to: SARSEF SRC, 7380 E. Snyder Road, Tucson AZ 85750

If, after review, you, the student, or the SRC are in doubt as to which forms or approvals need to be obtained, contact SARSEF SRC (src@sarsef.org).

All high school projects that require SRC approval before the project begins must submit the forms to either their School SRC or the SARSEF SRC: (SARSEF SRC, 7380 E. Snyder Road, Tucson AZ 85750)

IMPORTANT: Submit early, and allow two weeks for processing, as the volume of applications increases as the year goes on.

For a complete list of all Forms, please go to: http://student.societyforscience.org/intel-isef-forms

Forms 1, 1A and 1B and Abstract are required for ALL  projects Grades 9-12

Forms 1C to Form 7 are only required for those projects to which they apply.

Review the general ISEF rules, and those for the area of research involved. This will help identify specific requirements and which forms apply to the project.

Informed Consent

Remember, all projects — regardless of grade level and relationship to the 
human subjects — must have SRC/IRB review. Approval must be obtained, where necessary, before they start any experimentation.

Fill out all material requested on the SRC & Informed Consent K-8 Form, Informed Consent K-8 or the appropriate ISEF Forms (9-12). Failure to receive approval before experimentation will result in Failure to Qualify for SARSEF, AZSEF, Broadcom and ISEF

The process of obtaining informed consent provides information to the subject about the risks and benefits associated with participation in the research study, and allows the subject to make an educated decision about whether or not to participate. Informed consent is an ongoing process, not a single event that ends with a signature on a page. It must incorporate procedures that do not involve coercion or deception.

Documentation of informed consent is required:

  • When the IRB determines that a research study involves physical or psychological activities with more than minimal risk
  • When the IRB determines that the project could potentially result in emotional stress to a research subject
  • When the IRB determines that the research subjects belong to a risk group and the study does not meet any of the criteria below for a waiver

Documentation of informed consent is required for most research projects. However, the IRB may waive the requirement for documentation of written informed consent if the research involves only minimal risk and anonymous data collection and if it is one of the following:

  • Research involving the observation of legal public behavior
  • Research involving collection or study of existing publicly available data or records
  • Research involving normal educational practices
  • Research on individual or group behavior, or characteristics of individuals where the researcher does not manipulate the subjects’ behavior and the study does not involve more than minimal risk.
  • Surveys and questionnaires that are determined by the IRB to involve perception, cognition or game theory and do NOT involve gathering personal information, invasion of privacy or potential for emotional distress. If there is any uncertainty regarding the appropriateness of waiving informed consent, it is strongly recommended that informed consent be obtained.
  • Studies involving physical activity where the IRB determines that no more than minimal risk exists, and where the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater (in and of themselves) than those ordinarily encountered in DAILY LIFE or during performance of routine physical activities.

If a research subject is under 18 years of age, it is recommended that, in all cases, informed consent be obtained. Both the parent/legal guardian and the school-age research subject must sign Informed Consent Form (for K-8 researchers) and HS ISEF Form 4 (Human Subjects and Informed Consent Form) for high school researchers. However, an IRB may decide that informed consent is not required because of the allowable exceptions listed above. When the IRB waives informed consent of research subjects under the age of 18 for studies involving surveys or questionnaires, documentation justifying this waiver must accompany Informed Consent Form K-8 or HS ISEF Form 4.

For K-8 students this form may be used as a sample for Informed Consent: Informed Consent K-8

There is no single prescribed SARSEF format for obtaining informed consent. It should then be copied for each participant’s appropriate signatures. These should be kept in your research journal. They should remain confidential, but may be brought to SARSEF competition for SRC approval before competition (but then should be taken home.)

Mold & Bacteria projects:

  • Mold: Bread mold projects (K-8) may be allowed at home ONLY if the study is stopped as soon as the mold is seen. (In other words, as soon as mold starts to grow, the bread is thrown away.)
  • Bacteria: At NO time is bacteria culturing allowed at home. Samples may be collected at home or in the environment, but they must then be taken to a laboratory (school or laboratory) to be grown. Please review ISEF rules for specifics regarding the type of bacteria that can be grown in a BSL 1 lab, etc.

Schools may set up the SRC/IRB, following SSP guidelines as a pre-screen, but the SARSEF SRC must evaluate all high school projects requiring prior review.

Many questions can be answered by an email or phone call to Dr. Paula Johnson (D.V.M.) at 621-3483. She can advise methods that will lead to approval, or counsel the student in a direction that will not run the risk of rejection by the SRC. Even after the phone call, if the project involves any of the SRC categories, approval must be obtained in writing on the HS ISEF forms before research is initiated. This applies to kindergarten through high school. This simple step can save potential conflict, embarrassment, and worse, failure to be allowed to exhibit at SARSEF. When in doubt, contact Dr. Johnson at email: SRC@sarsef.org or phone: 621-3483.

Choosing a Category

Category Selection Advisement

Many projects could easily fit into more than one category. It is the student’s decision to choose the category that most accurately describes their project, but they will need help.

Ask the following questions to help in the selection of a category:

  • Who will be the most qualified to judge the 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 the 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? Is it inserting the proper gene or the method of computer mapping to demonstrate the results?)

NEW!!! Categories for High School Level

Choosing which category to enter your project in, is sometimes one of the most difficult choices a student may have. Most projects have several categories that they can fit under.

The categories listed below are those used at SARSEF.

We suggest you read each to see where your project best fits. We are not able to advise you in this regard – it must be your own decision. YOU know your project best.

For a full-description of each category (as defined by ISEF) click on the link below:
https://student.societyforscience.org/intel-isef-categories-and-subcategories

Animal Sciences (AS)
Behavioral and Social Sciences (BE)

Biochemistry (BI)
Biomedical and Health Sciences (BH)
Cellular and Molecular Biology (CM)
Chemistry (CH)
Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (CB)
Earth and Environmental Sciences (EA)
Embedded Systems (ES)
Energy: Chemical (EC)
Energy: Physical (EP)
Engineering Mechanics (EM)
Environmental Engineering (EE)
Materials Science (MS)
Mathematics (MA)
Microbiology (MI)
Physics and Astronomy (PA)
Plant Sciences (PS)
Robotics and Intelligent Machines (RI)
Systems Software (SS)

 

NEW!!! Categories for Middle School Level

Choosing which category to enter your project in, is sometimes one of the most difficult choices a student may have. Most projects have several categories that they can fit under.
The categories listed below are the NEW ones that will be used at SARSEF this year.
Decide where each project best fits. We are not able to advise you in this regard – it must be your own decision.

  • Animal and Plant Sciences (AP):  The study of animal and plant life, including their structure, function, life history, interactions with other plants and animals, classification, and evolution. Includes: Animal Behavior, Development and Growth, Ecology, Genetics/ Breeding, Nutrition and growth, Pathology, Physiology, Soil and Pesticides, Systematics, and Evolution.
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences (BE):  The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods. Includes work on Psychology and Sociology.
  • Cellular, Molecular, and Microbiological Sciences (CM):  The study of the cells and microorganisms. Including cell structure and formation, genetics, immunology, systems within the cell, antimicrobial agents, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and pathogens.
  • Chemical and Biochemical Sciences (CB):  The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter and/or their interactions with living organisms. Includes the study of the design, synthesis and properties of substances, including condensed phases (solids, liquids, polymers) and interfaces, with a useful or potentially useful function, such as catalysis or solar energy.
  • Earth and Environmental Studies (EE):  Earth and Environmental Science are studies of the environment and its effect on organisms/systems, including investigations of biological processes such as growth and life span, as well as studies of Earth systems and their evolution.  Including: Atmospheric Science, Climate Science, Environmental Effects on Ecosystems, Geosciences, Water Science.  Environmental Engineering are studies that engineer or develop processes and infrastructure to solve environmental problems in the supply of water, the disposal of waste, or the control of pollution. Including:  Bioremediation, Land Reclamation, Pollution Control, Recycling and Waste Management, Water Resources Management
  • Energy (EN): The study of renewable energy sources and structures, energy efficiency, biological and chemical processes of renewable energy sources, clean transport, and alternative fuels. Includes: Hydro Power, Solar Power, Wind Power, Thermal Power, Sustainable Design, Alternative Fuels, Fossil Fuel Energy, Fuel Cells and Battery Development, Microbial Fuel Cells
  • Engineering and Materials Science (EM): Engineering studies the design, manufacture, and operation of machines, structures, processes, and systems. Includes, Aerospace and Aeronautical, Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Construction, Industrial, Processing, Ground and Naval vehicles. Materials Science is the study of the characteristics and uses of various materials with improvements to their design which may add to their advanced engineering performance.
  • Medicine and Health Sciences (MH): This category focuses on studies specifically designed to address issues of human health and disease. It includes studies on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention or epidemiology of disease and other damage to the human body or mental systems. Includes studies of normal functioning and may investigate internal as well as external factors such stress or environmental impact on human health and disease.
  • Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (PM): Physics is the science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two. Includes: light, sound, magnetism and motion.  Astronomy is the study of anything in the universe beyond the Earth.  Mathematics is the study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.
  • Robotics and Computer Science (RC): Robotics is studies in which the use of machine intelligence is paramount to reducing the reliance on human intervention such as Biomechanics, Cognitive Systems, Control Theory, Robot Kinematics, Machine Learning.  Computer Science is the study and development of technological software and hardware and information processes. Includes: Programming, Algorithms, Data Bases, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Networking and Communications, Computational Science, Computer Graphics, Software Engineering, Programming Languages, Computer System, Operating System.

 

NEW!!!! Categories for Elementary Level

Choosing which category to enter your project in, is sometimes one of the most difficult choices a student may have. Most projects have several categories that they can fit under.
The categories listed below are the NEW ones that will be used at SARSEF this year. It will enable us to assign the judges that will best be able to score each project.
Decide where each project best fits. We are not able to advise you in this regard – it must be your own decision.

  • Animal and Plant Sciences (AP):  The study of animal and plant life, including their structure, function, life history, interactions with other plants and animals, classification, and evolution. Includes: Animal Behavior, Development and Growth, Ecology, Genetics/ Breeding, Nutrition and growth, Pathology, Physiology, Soil and Pesticides, Systematics, and Evolution.
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences (BE):  The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods. Includes work on Psychology and Sociology.
  • Cellular, Molecular, and Microbiological Sciences (CM):  The study of the cells and microorganisms. Including cell structure and formation, genetics, immunology, systems within the cell, antimicrobial agents, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and pathogens.
  • Chemical and Biochemical Sciences (CB):  The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter and/or their interactions with living organisms. Includes the study of the design, synthesis and properties of substances, including condensed phases (solids, liquids, polymers) and interfaces, with a useful or potentially useful function, such as catalysis or solar energy.
  • Earth and Environmental Studies (EE):  Earth and Environmental Science are studies of the environment and its effect on organisms/systems, including investigations of biological processes such as growth and life span, as well as studies of Earth systems and their evolution.  Including: Atmospheric Science, Climate Science, Environmental Effects on Ecosystems, Geosciences, Water Science.  Environmental Engineering are studies that engineer or develop processes and infrastructure to solve environmental problems in the supply of water, the disposal of waste, or the control of pollution. Including:  Bioremediation, Land Reclamation, Pollution Control, Recycling and Waste Management, Water Resources Management
  • Energy (EN): The study of renewable energy sources and structures, energy efficiency, biological and chemical processes of renewable energy sources, clean transport, and alternative fuels. Includes: Hydro Power, Solar Power, Wind Power, Thermal Power, Sustainable Design, Alternative Fuels, Fossil Fuel Energy, Fuel Cells and Battery Development, Microbial Fuel Cells
  • Engineering and Materials Science (EM): Engineering studies the design, manufacture, and operation of machines, structures, processes, and systems. Includes, Aerospace and Aeronautical, Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Construction, Industrial, Processing, Ground and Naval vehicles. Materials Science is the study of the characteristics and uses of various materials with improvements to their design which may add to their advanced engineering performance.
  • Medicine and Health Sciences (MH): This category focuses on studies specifically designed to address issues of human health and disease. It includes studies on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention or epidemiology of disease and other damage to the human body or mental systems. Includes studies of normal functioning and may investigate internal as well as external factors such stress or environmental impact on human health and disease.
  • Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (PM): Physics is the science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two. Includes: light, sound, magnetism and motion.  Astronomy is the study of anything in the universe beyond the Earth.  Mathematics is the study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.
  • Robotics and Computer Science (RC): Robotics is studies in which the use of machine intelligence is paramount to reducing the reliance on human intervention such as Biomechanics, Cognitive Systems, Control Theory, Robot Kinematics, Machine Learning.  Computer Science is the study and development of technological software and hardware and information processes. Includes: Programming, Algorithms, Data Bases, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Networking and Communications, Computational Science, Computer Graphics, Software Engineering, Programming Languages, Computer System, Operating System.

 

Project Display

Remember: Models and devices are not required for an outstanding project display, and will need to pass all safety considerations if left at project during the week.

Students may bring laptops, models, etc. with them for use during the formal interview time (1-4 p.m.)

If a student is sure that the judges will also need to examine a model or laptop presentation (usually 2-3) earlier, during the morning judging process, special permission must be requested from the director. If granted, the student must arrive at the Tucson Convention Center between 6:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on the Judging Day to set these up. No electricity is provided, so any display item must be able to sustain itself throughout the day. The items must be removed following the final student interview period when the student leaves, unless approved by display and safety personnel earlier in the week.

High school students: Scientific posters are encouraged but not required. A back board must be provided.

Electrical power is no longer provided at display tables for ANY projects (K-12)

 

Display Dimensions and Hints

What Should My Board Look Like?  Elementary and Middle school students generally use a standard tri-fold project display board.  Dimensions should not exceed: 36″ x 48″  At this time of year, SARSEF is often asked, “What should my project board look like?” Each student’s display board will differ, depending on their individual project.  Thanks to Tucson Country Day School teacher, Jennifer Maxwell, we have a sample of two winning designs: one for science projects and one for engineering design projects. We appreciate her generosity in sharing these samples to use as a guide!  Click the links, below:

SCI PRO Board

ENG DES Board

High school students will have a table all to themselves. They may choose to have the table removed or leave it there. Please let us know ahead of time if you want the table removed.

ALL Tables are 76cm (30 inches) high. The project must not exceed:

  • 76cm (30 inches) deep, front to back
  • 122cm (48 inches) wide, side to side
  • 91 cm (36 inches) height for elementary and middle school projects.
  • 274cm (108 in) high, floor to top, for high school projects. Note: Your project does not have to be this tall.

Hints & Suggestions:

  • Text may be handwritten. However, at the middle and high school level, it is usually computer generated. Include at least one graph and chart at all levels, and more at the upper levels.
  • Text should be clear and readable from 1 meter (3 feet) away. Make it visually interesting and inviting.
  • Consider using double-stick tape, glue or Velcro to attach items to your display board.
  • Acknowledgements are not to be on the display board, except for credits to images. Consider putting your acknowledgement and mentor appreciation in your logbook, not on the board.

Remember: How you display your project draws the viewer to it. The science in your project is what you want them to remember!

What Goes On and With the Poster/Board?

The following is a list of items that you may require an upper-elementary through high school student to put on their display board. Feel free to adjust this list to fit your students’ grade level.

Your display board should include all steps of the Scientific Method or Engineering Design Process. You should have a page on: Introduction, Background Research, Question and/or Hypothesis, Method or Procedure, Materials, Data and Results (inclusive of some charts and graphs), Conclusion, Discussion (inclusive of limitation — what would have made the project stronger and implications — why project was important). Optional: Operational definitions

  • Backboard: Any freestanding design within the allowed dimensions. Many student in high schools have started making posters for presentations. However, they will still need some kind of back support. Pre-made, trifold, corrugated cardboard display boards are available — but backboards may be made from large boxes, hinged wooden panels or other materials. The display board may be covered with fade-proof bulletin board paper (available at teacher supply stores), gift wrap, self-stick shelving paper or cloth. Remember, while it is helpful to have an attractive and interesting-looking board, it is your project that is most important.
  • Project Journal/Lab Notebook: This is the account of your project from idea conception through conclusion, including development and brainstorming for how to extend/expand your work next time. Date and initial all entries. This is proof you did the work!
  • Abstract: Middle school and high school: A 250 word or less summary of your entire project. Required at high school, and encouraged (but optional) for Grades K-8. Note: Do not put this permanently on your board in case you are selected for ISEF, as it will not be allowed there.
  • Model, test equipment or items studied: While allowed, under the display and safety rules, whenever possible we discourage leaving actual models or equipment/devices on the project tables. (There is a list of items that indeed are unacceptable for display at SARSEF. Please review Display and Safety.) If the student feels that devices or models must be shown, consider how to protect your model (possibly encasing in a clear Plexiglas box) as damage or even theft may occur by fair visitors. Photos are an excellent substitution and good method of communication. Safety is key for items at the project and visitors.
  • Photos/Diagrams: Photos are a great tool and recommended, but optional. Hand drawn diagrams are equally effective. Images of any sort must be accredited to the photographer, artist, magazine, website or other source. When photos include people, they are to be performing their experiment, not posing. Inappropriate photos of animals in other than their natural habitat will be removed by Display and Safety. ISEF Display and Safety Link, click here.
  • Applicable Forms: All projects that have been approved by the Scientific Review Committee or the Institutional Review Board must have those forms available during setup and judging, regardless of grade level. High school projects not involving Scientific Review Committee or Institutional Review Board review will only require the basic International Science Engineering Fair Forms, depending on the project. It is STRONGLY recommended to bring ONLY copies to the fair. Keep the original at home for safe keeping.
  • Board Organization: Project boards are creative masterpieces. All are different, yet all contain some fundamental information including: Problem statement, or question-and-hypothesis if used; methods, including materials and procedures; data; analytical procedures; results; conclusions; bibliography and abstract. Some project boards discuss what the researchers would do next if the project was done again. See real examples below.

Display and Safety Rules for SARSEF

Items Not Allowed At Project or In Booth

  • Living organisms, including plants. Mold, even if enclosed, and bacteria are NOT ALLOWED.
  • Taxidermy specimens or parts
  • Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals
  • Human or animal food
  • Human/animal parts or body fluids (for example, blood, urine). Teeth that have been decontaminated may be exhibited if kept in sealed containers.
  • Plant materials (living, dead or preserved) that are in their raw, unprocessed or non-manufactured state. (Exception: manufactured construction materials used in building the project or display)
  • Chemicals, including water
  • Poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices (for example, firearms, weapons, ammunition or reloading devices)
  • Dry ice or other sublimating solids
  • Sharp items (for example, syringes, needles, pipettes, knives)
  • Glass or glass objects, unless deemed by the Display and Safety Committee to be an integral and necessary part of the project (Exception: glass that is an integral part of a commercial product, such as a computer screen)
  • Flames or highly flammable materials
  • Batteries with open-top cells
  • Awards, medals, business cards, flags, endorsements and/or acknowledgments (graphic or written) — unless the item(s) are an integral part of the project. Display and Safety Committee decision
  • Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in surgical techniques, dissections, necropsies or other lab procedures

Any apparatus deemed unsafe by the Scientific Review Committee or the Display and Safety Committee (for example, large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices, empty tanks that previously contained combustible liquids or gases, pressurized tanks, etc.)

 

Items Allowed but with the Restrictions Indicated

  • Soil or waste samples, if permanently encased in a slab of acrylic
  • Postal addresses, World Wide Web and email addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers of finalist only, and should be in journal or required forms only
  • Photographs and/or visual depictions, 
if:
  • They are not deemed offensive or inappropriate by the Scientific Review Committee and the Display and Safety Committee. This includes, but is not limited to, visually offensive photographs or visual depictions of invertebrate or vertebrate animals, including humans. The decision by any one of the groups mentioned above is final.
  • Credit lines (“Photograph taken by …” or “Image taken from …”) are attached. If all photographs on display were taken by the finalist, or are from the same source, one credit line prominently displayed is sufficient.
  • They are from the Internet, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc., and credit lines are attached. If all photographs/images are from the same source, one credit prominently displayed is sufficient.
  • They are photographs or visual depictions of the finalist doing the project, not portrait style.
  • They are photographs of human subjects for which signed consent forms are at the project, or in the booth.
  • Any apparatus with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains or moving parts with tension or pinch points if for display only and not operated
  • Any apparatus producing temperatures that will cause physical burns that it is adequately insulated for safety

 

Empowering Southern Arizona's K-12 students to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

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