Rules & Project Structure

The KSC STEM Fair Intention

This is the first year of the KSC STEM Fair! We want students to have fun, be creative, be safe, and work within ethical boundaries. We hope some students will want to keep doing science, and maybe go to the State Fair next year! If you have any questions about a project – please just ask – it is our goal to help students make their projects happen.

We’re in the process of designing our project criteria so please bookmark this area and return regularly.

Have questions? Email us. See Contacts.

What a Project Looks Like

The KSC STEM Fair projects should look like projects that could go on to the State Fair (because we hope next year you’ll go to the State Fair!). Our guidelines are still under development (stay tuned) but will essentially be simplified versions of the State Expo guidelines. The early details are:

  • All projects will need to clearly share 1) what you did, 2) why you did it, 3) how you did it, 4) what you learned, and 5) what you’d love to do next. You will have to present all of this to the judges in 8-10 minutes, and be ready to answer questions. It’s OK if you don’t have an hypothesis – for example, you might be building something you’re really excited about and so your project will be about why you built it, what it is, how you built it and what you’d do next. Or, you might have a more “traditional” project, and be developing and testing an hypothesis. Or, you might be really researching a topic to see how something works, and your project might be an explanation of something. If it’s STEM you can do it for your project.
  • The presentation needs to include enough content to explain your work. This typically means use of a tri-fold poster (36×48), which is the format that you would need if you go to the State fair. If there is an alternative format that you want to use (use your imagination) then check with the organizers and include it in your Project Plan. It will have to fit within the footprint of approximately a 30 inches deep  x 36 inches wide table-top you are welcome to submit that. We will need to be safe – no hazardous chemicals or open flames, caution regarding electrical (this will be reviewed at the project plan stage) etc. but we are open to creative presentation forms. Absolutely no non-human animals allowed in the presentation itself.
  • You may have a video as part of your presentation, but it can’t be the sole component. For example, if your project involved something outside, or use of a device or instrument you built that is too large or complex to bring indoors, you could make a video of it and then a small scale model to present. You will need to bring the technology needed to share the video. If you wrote some code you’ll need to have a printout of the code with an explanation of what it’s doing shared on your poster.
  • You must have a project notebook that documents your process thoroughly. This can be a paper notebook or a Google sheet or other open  (publicly accessible) digital format. If digital you will need to bring technology to share that with the public and judges).
  • You will need a complete list of resources you used, including readings, websites visited, people who helped (their full names and how they helped you), and supplies you used (what they were, where you got them etc.).

Examples of projects from other fairs (we hope to have videos of our own projects for KSC STEM Fair 2020!)

  • NASA Globe competition, mix of middle and high school project participants see here.
  • A cool example of an 8th grade project that lead to a cool discovery that can help with hearing aids, see here.
  • An 8th grade project example, student poster, model and presentation, see here.

Safety and Ethical Regulations

Generally speaking, because it is our goal to become a fair that will allow students to compete in the State Expo in years to come, and because the State Expo allows students to potentially win a spot to compete in the national Science Fair, we ask that you adhere generally to the rules for the National INTEL STEM Fair linked here. However, because we are just beginning, we also ask the following:

  1. Use your own words and ideas. Wherever you gain knowledge from someone/something else, be sure to say where you got it from (don’t plagiarize, and if you don’t know if you are plagiarizing, please ask and we’ll help you figure it out).
  2. No projects with non-human animals other than observational projects.
  3. No projects that involve human research other than observational research.
  4. No projects involving dangerous chemicals, equipment or processes (please contact us for help if you don’t know whether something you want to use is dangerous).

We will be reviewing projects at the Project Plan submission stage and will be communicating with teams regarding safety as well as logistical and ethical issues if there are questions.

Judging

You can CHOOSE whether you want your project judged or you just want to share it with the community (judges will still visit you but you won’t be competing). If you do choose to be judged we will have the “how judging will work” information  posted at this page soon. We will generally be adhering to the judging methodology and philosophy described here.