2020 DC STEM Fair: Frequently Asked Questions for Schools

Q: When are the DC STEM Fairs?
The Secondary DC STEM Fair for grades 6-12 is on Saturday, March 14, 2020 and the Elementary DC STEM Fair for grades 3-5 is on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Q: Who can participate in the DC STEM Fair?

Only District of Columbia students from DC public, public charter, private schools and home-schooled students are eligible to participate.

Q: Who fills out the registration form?

Each participating school should assign one staff member to serve as the ‘School STEM Fair Lead.’ This person is responsible for submitting the online registration form.

Q: How many projects can I register?

Each school can register up to three student projects.

Q: When is the registration deadline for the Secondary STEM Fair?

Registration opens on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 and closes on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. A list of confirmed registrations will be sent to the School STEM Fair Lead within five business days of registration.

Q: Can team projects be registered?

Yes. Project teams should have no more than three students each. Schools can register up to three total student projects for the Secondary DC STEM Fair. These may be individual or team projects.

Q: What are the registration instructions?

Registration Instructions:

  • School STEM Fair Lead completes the online registration form.
    1. Link to online form: https://forms.gle/Hmbf4Pd6uMRsW3eH7
    2. Complete only one registration form per school—can include up to three projects.
      1. Be prepared to provide project titles and abstracts (250 words or less summary)
      2. Be prepared to provide student emergency contact names and cell numbers.
  • Be prepared to provide Universal Student Identifier (USI) numbers for students from DCPS or public charter schools (private/homeschool students exempt). Can’t find it? Ask your school registrar, or look in Student Information System.
  • School STEM Fair Lead works with parents/guardians of each student participant to complete a media/medical release.
    1. Option 1: Online release form. Email or text the release form link to parents. Parents complete the form online, and it is automatically submitted to the STEM Fair registration team. Link: https://forms.gle/MATsK7zzZCkchJZD9
    2. Option 2: Paper copy of release form. If a paper form is needed, or if a translated form is needed (Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, and French) download the paper form from this Google folder, print, and give to parent/guardian:. Then send a scanned copy of the completed form to: osse@thedceventplanner.com.
  • School STEM Fair Lead ensures all student projects are following the research and experimentation rules, safety rules, and ethical guidelines put forth by the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
    1. Ensure students maintain honesty and integrity, and avoid fraud, plagiarism, etc.
    2. Grade 9-12 students are strongly encouraged to review ISEF Forms 1A & 1B to ensure their projects are eligible to compete at ISEF (top grand prize winners in DC Fair will advance to ISEF).
    3. All ISEF forms found here and rules and guidelines here.

For questions about the registration process, please contact the STEM Fair registration team at: osse@thedceventplanner.com.

Q: When and where should teachers drop off student projects?

Teachers are encouraged to drop off all the projects on the evening of Friday, March 13, the day before the Fair, between the hours of 4:30-7 p.m. at Dunbar High School, 101 N St. NW.

Q: What are the project judging categories for the STEM Fair?

When completing the registration form, the School STEM Fair Lead should select the most appropriate judging category for each project. The 21 categories are described on the ISEF site here.

Q: Do teachers need to attend the Fair?

Teachers may attend the Fair; however attendance is not mandatory. Teachers are encouraged to attend the opening/welcome, professional development sessions sponsored by TGR Foundation (formally known as the Tiger Woods Foundation), STEM Expo, and public project viewing. Only students, judges, and staff are allowed in the judging area.

Q: What happens during judging?

Students will stand by their projects throughout judging and public viewing between 9:00am-1:30pm. During that time, the students will be visited and interviewed by at least three judges. No teachers, family members or members of the general public are permitted in the judging area. During public viewing, students will be excused for lunch by division, and then return to their project table to talk about their project with the public.

Students who are eligible for Grand Awards will be informed and escorted to the Grand Awards interview room. Students will meet with a panel of judges for an interview to compete for the Grand Awards in the Junior or Senior Division.

Q: How are the students judged?

Student projects are evaluated in person by at least three judges. Students must be at their poster and available for interview until the end of the judging period. Projects are judged according to Fair Scoring Rubric. Projects receive a score out of 100 total points from each judge. The average of the scores from the three judges is used to determine first, second and third place within each STEM category. Grand award first, second and third place are awarded to the top three projects across each division, as determined by the Grand Award Judges.

The Awards Ceremony will include the top three placements in each category and the overall Grand Awards in each division (Junior and Senior). The Secondary Fair Awards Ceremony will also include Special Awards from community partners.  Download our Fair Scoring Rubric here.

2020 DC STEM Fair: Frequently Asked Questions for Parents/Families
Q: When are the DC STEM Fairs?
The Secondary DC STEM Fair for grades 6-12 is on Saturday, March 14, 2020 and the Elementary DC STEM Fair for grades 3-5 is on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Both fairs will take place at Dunbar High School, 101 N St. NW, Washington DC.
Q: Who can participate in the DC STEM Fair?

Only District of Columbia students from DC public, public charter, private schools and home-schooled students are eligible to participate.

Q: Can parents and families attend the STEM Fair?

Yes, parents and families can attend the STEM Fair, and will have the opportunity to visit the STEM Expo, as well as view the student projects during the public viewing time.  However, during the judging rounds, parents and families are NOT permitted in the student project area.

Q: How are students selected for the DC STEM Fair?

Typically, schools will select projects for the citywide Fair based on the results of their school-based fair (or other process to determine the projects of highest quality). Likewise, projects from home-schooled students should undergo a quality assessment process before registration.

Q: Who can register the students?

Student projects are to be registered by the School STEM Fair Lead, which is typically a teacher who has been involved with the school STEM fair and/or student projects.

Q: Can a parent or guardian drop off their child’s project?

We encourage teachers to drop off all projects from their school at the Fair venue on the evening before the Fair, 4:30 pm to 7:00 p.m. However, parents may drop off their child’s project, during the same time. If needed, students may bring their projects with them on the day of the Fair. In this case, every effort should be made to arrive by 8:00 am so that the project can be appropriately placed before the judging period begins.

Q: Will there be food and beverages available for the students?

Yes, students in the competition will be provided with a lunch and water.

Q: Will there be food and beverages available for families?

No, food and beverages are not available for families.

Q: Will there be something for guests and families to do while the projects are being judged?

During the student project judging, there will be an interactive STEM Expo and a STEM focused visual presentation in the auditorium.  You may also want to bring a book or other entertainment as needed to engage smaller children.

Q: What time is the DC STEM Fair Awards Ceremony?

The awards ceremony will follow the Fair and take place from approximately 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the Dunbar High School auditorium.

Q: What time does the STEM Fair end?

Our schedule of events will end by 4:00 p.m.

Q: When can student participants pick up their project boards?

Students are required to retrieve their project boards after Fair awards ceremony.  Fair staff can not be held responsible for any projects or materials left behind.

Q: When can I pick up my child at the STEM Fair?

Parents should plan to pick up their children from the Fair no later than 4:00 pm.

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