Rules & FAQs
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SF K-12 header 2023

Rules, Safety Guidelines, and Frequently Asked Questions
 
 
As a Society for Science affiliated science fair, all projects in the must adhere to all rules published by The International Rules for Pre-college Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineer Fairs and the Academy of Science – St. Louis Science Fair rules listed below.
 
The purpose of these rules is to:
  • Protect the rights and welfare of the student scientist
  • Protect the rights and welfare of any human participant
  • Ensure adherence to federal regulations
  • Ensure use of safe laboratory practices
  • Protect the environment
  • Determine eligibility of competition in the Academy of Science - St. Louis Science Fair

IMPORTANT:
The parent and teacher supervising should use their best judgment to ensure the safety of the student and any subjects (human or other animals). Parents and teachers assume responsibility for the safety of the student and any test subjects involved in the project. If there a question about the eligibility of a project that none of the text below addresses, then the rules default to the ISEF rules and guidelines and will require pre-approval by the Academy of Science - St. Louis Scientific Review Committee (SRC).

STEPS TO COMPLETE BEFORE STARTING YOUR PROJECT:
IMPORTANT!
 – Do NOT start your research project until:

  1. You have completed a Research Plan and your project has been approved by your teacher- SAMPLE RESEARCH PLAN
  2. Academy of Science - St. Louis Science Fair 2023 Safety Form is completed and signed- CLICK HERE TO PRINT OUT SAFETY FORM (worth 10 points)

The above steps must be completed BEFORE you begin your research.

  ALL students need to submit their research plan for teacher approval BEFORE beginning experimentation or research. You may include your research plan and teacher approval with your safety form.
Email your teacher with your research plan. See questions to be addressed below:
 
 
Reserach Plan Guide
Students email teacher with research and safety plan BEFORE beginning experiment and research. Include the following in your email to your teacher:
1. What is the question or problem being addressed and expected outcome?
2. Describe in detail the method and procedures, including all safety precuations. Include all procedures to be used for data collection and/or building your prototype, if engineering project.
3.Identify any potential risks and safety precations to complete the project safely.
4. Teacher or parent oversight. Who will be supervising your project? (Parent/Guardian or your teacher)?
For approval, parent or teacher must be prsent and supervising during experimentation or prototype development and buidliing 
 
Protection of Privacy and Informed Consent for projects that involve human subjects. If your project involes human subjects, also answer the following questions-
Teachers- Review each student's research plan and safety form. If you have questions, ask the student for clarification. For approval, teachers need to be certain that the student can perform research and experiment safely. Send email approval to student or sign safety form for student to upload.
 
Parents- Review research plan and safety form. Parent or teacher must be present and supervising during experimentation or prototype development/building. Sign safety form for student to upload.

 

Work Safely

All science fair participants must follow safety procedures while conducting their research, and the project itself must conform with Fair safety standards.

    1. ALL projects require teacher and parent approval before students may begin.
    2. ALL projects require a completed and signed 2023 Safety Form. (Worth 10 points!)
    3. Students will scan and upload their signed safety form when they upload their project.

MOLD/BACTERIA

  • IMPORTANT FOR 2023
    Projects that handle, test, or sample bacteria or mold can be submitted with pre-approval by the Academy of Science - St. Louis SRC. Projects involving mold or bacteria will need pre-approval by the Academy of Science - St. Louis Scientific Review Committee (SRC). Please contact fair director, Jessica Winkler at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for approval information.

HUMAN STUDIES

  • Projects studying bullying/depression/anxiety will NOT be allowed.
    Instead, student may submit a research paper where students can study RELIABLE DATA. NO SURVEY OR INTERVIEWING of students will be allowed regarding bullying/depression/anxiety
  • No projects allowed that can cause potential harm to humans
  • Human subjects (and parents for anyone under age 18) need to sign a Human Informed Consent Form (ie-permission form) – (see sample)
  • Students with projects involving humans need to include the following in their research plan-
    • What procedures are in place for safeguarding confidentiality?
    • Describe how you will inform participants about the purpose of the study and what they will be asked to do.
  • Students with projects involving humans will need to include a sample of their human consent form with their logbook. (See Sample Human Informed Consent Form)

ANIMALS

  • No animals (this includes invertebrates) should be harmed or caused pain.

 

VIRUSES/COVID-19
IMPORTANT FOR 2023
Projects will NOT be allowed that handle, test, or sample viruses. If a student is interested in studying viruses then they may submit instead a research paper by studying reliable data from university labs, the CDC or other scientific entities. NO testing of water fountains, door handles, cell phones, etc. will be allowed.

circle notHAZARDOUS MATERIALS/FIRE
IMPORTANT FOR 2023
Projects will NOT be allowed that handle, test, or sample fire (or burning objects) or hazardous materials. If a student is interested in fire or hazardous materials they may submit a research paper where students can study reliable data from university labs, the CDC or other scientific entities.

POWER TOOLS
Students participating in the General K-12 fair may NOT handle power tools. (Power tools may be used in a project if handled by parent or teacher).

 

NO GUNS/FIREARMS/PROJECTILE WEAPONS
NO experiments will be allowed using firearms or projectile weapons. No guns or firearms or bow and arrows of any kind. No Nerf guns or Nerf bow and arrows. No slingshots.

NO DRUGS/ALCOHOL
NO experiments will be allowed using firearms. No guns or firearms or bow and arrows of any kind. No Nerf guns or Nerf bow and arrows. No slingshots. Experiments using prescription drugs, illegal drugs or alcohol will NOT be allowed
.

OTHER SCIENCE FAIRS
Students entering the Academy of Science – St. Louis Science Fair may NOT also enter a Science Fair in a neighboring community. For example, if you enter the Academy of Science – St. Louis Science Fair, you may NOT also compete in the Mastodon Science fair or other science fairs.

# OF PROJECTS
Students may only submit 1 project to the Academy of Science – St. Louis Science Fair.

RESEARCH PERIOD
Each project must cover research done over a maximum of 12 continuous months between February 15, 2022 and February 15, 2023. We are NOT allowing continuation projects from previous research.

TEAM PROJECTS
IMPORTANT FOR 2023 A maximum of two (2) Academy of Science – St. Louis Science Fair students may work together on any one (1) project. Any award funds that are allocated to a team project will be evenly distributed between teammates.

EYE PROTECTION
Safety glasses must be used for any experiments if any kind of splash or particles may come in contact with your eyes.

WORKS CITED/SOURCES/BIBLIOGRAPHY
Each project is required to have at least 3 sources or works cited. No specific format is required. Students may use "My Teacher" as one of their 3 sources. Kindergaren-2nd grade students may also use "My Parent/Guardian/Caregiver" as one of their 3 sources.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  Can I study COVID-19?
A.  The only way to study COVID-19 is through the "Research Paper Division". In this division, students can study reliable data from university labs, the CDC or other scientitic entities.  NO collection of samples or testing by science fair students, parents or teachers is allowed.

Q.  Is it ok to test door knobs, water fountains, cell phones etc for bacteria or viruses?
A.  NO. Due to possible exposure to COVID-19, NO testing of door knobs, water fountains, cell phones, etc. is allowed.

Q. May I upload videos?
A. NO videos will be accepted as part of the competition submission. Please contact Jessica Winkler, fair director, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  if you would be interested in submitting video content for our end of the year Science Fair Medley of Projects video.

Q. May I list my name and/or the name of my school/teacher in my project upload (Presentation, Logbook or Quad Chart)?
A. NO student, teacher or school names should be included in the in the Presentation, Logbook or Quad Chart. If a student's teacher or school needs to be referenced- please use "My Teacher" or "My School",respectively.

Q. May I have pictures of faces in my upload (PowerPoint or logbook)?
A. NO pictures of faces should be included in your upload.

Q.  May I upload a Google doc?
A.  NO (Download the Google doc to your desktop as a PDF document, then upload the PDF)

Q.  May I submit a research paper instead of a PowerPoint presentation?
A.  YES, however if your project is the number one project in the honors division then you will be required to complete a virtual display per the ISEF guidelines in order to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Q. Can I use household cleaners in my experiment?
A. You may use household cleaners as long as all safety procedures on the cleaning packaging are followed. Adult supervision should be provided at all times. Cleaners should NOT be mixed - ever.  Mixing cleaners may cause a dangerous chemical reaction.

Q. Can I do a project involving lasers/laser pointers?
A. Yes. Any Class 1, Class 2, Class 3A, or Class 3R lasers are allowed to be used responsibly. No other lasers may be used or displayed. Lasers may not be used to cause harm to living creatures or set anything on fire. 

Q. Can I have people eat or drink (taste test) different food or beverage?
A. Yes, but you should ask about all allergies and a Human Informed Consent Form from each student’s parent/guardian must be signed before any taste testing is done. A sample permission form should be uploaded with your logbook. 
dog

Q. Can I have animals eat or drink different kinds of dog food in various amounts?
A. Yes, but animals should not be harmed in any way and you need written permission from your parent/guardian before experimentation.  Parent/guardian supervision is required for all animal experimentation.

Q. Is it ok to have people hit a ball with a bat for various tests?
A. Yes, however, you need a Human Informed Consent Form from the parent/guardian and constant supervision by an adult. To prevent injury, the area must be clear from other humans. Participants need to wear a helmet.

Q. Is it ok to work with a partner on my science fair project?
A.  Yes! For 2023, a maximum of two students can work on a project together. It is important to note that any awards awarded are per project and NOT per student. This means that if a team project is awarded $100, each student will recieve $50.

Q.  Is it ok to send in a class project?
A.  Teachers may submit a class project for grades K-4.  Class projects for grades 5-6 may be submitted with pre-approval. For class projects, the teacher can facilitate the project in class or via zoom or their online platform.

Q.  Is it ok to have a science fair project where you survey students or adults to find out if they have been bullied, are depressed or have anxiety?
A.  NO this type of project is Not allowed - no surveying of students.  Instead, a student may submit a research paper in the NEW "Research Paper Division" where students can study reliable data that they have found at places like the CDC or university research sites.

Q. What is the file size limit for the project upload?
A. Each file uploaded can not be larger than 100 MB.

 

 

Questions?

If you have questions, contact your school science teacher. 
If you need further assistance, contact
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  Fair Director,
STEM Special Projects and Resource Manager, Academy of Science - St. Louis Science Fair
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it