2014 Southeast District Science Day (DSD)

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The 2014 District Science Day (DSD) will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014.


Ohio University
Athens, Ohio

Eligible participants

Students from schools in the following counties in Ohio:

Grade 5 to 12 students in the above counties are expected to participate in their school district's local science fair or academic fair held in the above counties. Only students who receive a superior rating at their local science fair or academic fair can apply to enter our DSD.

The following applies to all students from home schools, virtual schools, public schools, and private schools that do not have a local science fair or academic fair held in one of the above counties. Students who are legal full time residents of one of above counties and who attend schools that do not have local science fair or academic fair may send their entry application packages directly to our fairs. They must include a copy of their complete research report. We pre-judge the written research report of all projects that have not been judged superior at a school science fair or academic fair held in one of our 8 counties. We may require proof of residency and age if necessary.

DSD is for students in grades 5 to 12. Students who will reach age 21 on or before May 1, 2014 are not eligible.

What kind of projects?

Research projects of individual student or teams of two students in 13 fields:

  1. behavioral science (psychology)
  2. biochemistry
  3. botany
  4. chemistry
  5. computer science
  6. earth/space sciences
  7. engineering
  8. environmental science
  9. mathematics
  10. medicine and health
  11. microbiology
  12. physics
  13. zoology

Students with interdisciplinary projects such as forensic chemistry, gerontology, smoking, nutrition, and material sciences, should pick the closest area of emphasis of their project. Using the information in the abstract and the research plan, we may change the field of judging of a project. The first judges may also recommend that a project be re-judged in more than one area.

Five Simple Steps to Start Your Research Project

In the following steps, the rules and forms are in the current ISEF Rules and Guidelines of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Click on the highlighted Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to view, print, or download the 2014 rulebook, the 4-page student handbook, and all the ISEF forms you may need. Two useful resources are: (1) ISEF Rules Wizard. This "wizard" ask a series of questions about your planned project and will provide a list of forms that you need to complete, and (2) Common SRC Problems. This list was generated from the SRC (The ISEF Scientific Review Committee) reviews leading up to the Intel ISEF. Read these to get pointers on what NOT to do.

  1. Find a research topic. Be observant all the time and ask questions of what you observe: what, what for, how, who, why, which, when, where, etc. Almost any question you ask can be a research topic. Scientists have made great discoveries from their observations and questions. Not all your questions can be studied at the moment. But you only need one question that you can answer by your own research. I recommend that you keep a secret journal of your observations and questions with their dates. Add your thoughts as you find answers to your questions, either through your own research or from research by others.

  2. Search for references. When you have a question, you need to do a search of published researches that may have already answer your question or are related to your question. You may need references to the method you propose to use. Even if your question has been answered, you can still do your research if you use a different method, a homemade device, or if you have reasons to think that the question may have a different answer. The most reliable primary references are researches published in "Peer reviewed journals". Primary implies original research. Peer reviewed means that experts in the field reviewed the paper before its publication. Your school library and all Ohio public libraries have free computer access to a research database called "Academic Research Premier (EBSCO HOST)" for searching articles published in peer-reviewed journals. You can get the complete text and references of some articles, and only the abstracts of others. If the complete text of an article is important, we can help you find the complete article on the Ohio University Library system. You need a minimum of five such references.

  3. Write a research plan that includes (a) Question (or Problem) being addressed, (b) Hypothesis (or Engineering goal), (c) Detailed description of method or procedure, including data analysis. (d) Bibliography of 5 or more primary references. The words in parentheses in items (a) and (b) are often used for engineering projects. See the instructions on how to write a research plan that come with the Student Checklist (1A) form (ISEF Form). Then complete the Student Checklist (1A) form without entering the actual start date and actual end date.

  4. Find an adult sponsor: a teacher, parent, or other adult with knowledge on the research problem. The adult sponsor will use the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1) form to review with you your completed Student Checklist (1A) and research plan. He will used items 4, 5, and 6 on ISEF Form 1 to tell you if your projects need other forms besides ISEF Form 1A and 1B and you must secure additional signed and dated approval before you can start your experiment.

  5. Complete ISEF Form 1A and 1B and other required forms and approval before you can start experiments. Hint: To reduce errors and simplify the above process, don't date forms 1, 1A, and 1B until all requirements have been met. Then date ISEF Forms 1 and 1B before the actual starting date on form 1A. If your project requires other ISEF forms, be sure all these forms (except ISEF Form 1C) are dated before the actual starting date on ISEF Form 1A.

    ISEF Form 1C is required for research conducted in a regulated research institution, industrial setting, or any work site other than home, K-12 school, or field. ISEF Form 1C is supposed to be prepared, signed, and dated by the research supervisors at these sites after the research is completed. See ISEF Rules or ISEF Form 1C for instructions.

Science Day Standards

General Standards for Science Day incorporating all actions of the Junior Academy Council as of September 2012, can be viewed by clicking on Science Day Standards. Please refer to the Science Day Standards for information on District and State Science Days not covered in the following descriptions.

Display Presentation

The Rules on Displaying Projects approved by the Ohio Junior Academy Council will apply to all exhibitors during the 2014 DSD and State Science Day (SSD).

For all students:

Suggestion on Photography

Since you are not allowed to bring anything you have collected, used, or made in your experiment, you have to use photographs of these things in your presentation. Be prepared to photograph your experiment before you start because you may have to use photographs to show when a particular experiment was done or observation was made and how an object/experiment looks like at a given date or time. For example, you are watching the growth of a plant. Include in the photograph the date and time for chronology and a ruler for scale. Photograph instruments and apparatus you use in your research and how you operate them. If you design your own equipment, bring your drawing of your design and photographs of your equipment, its important details, the building, testing, and operation of the equipment. Learn to make close-up photographs of small objects. Learn to make photographs on the microscope since you are not allowed to bring the microscope or the slides.


A team of first judges, ideally composed of one K12 school teacher and one professional scientist or engineer will judge each project. The professional scientists or engineers are volunteers from Ohio University faculty, governmental agencies, and area industries. We expect each participating school to provide at least one judge for every five students. Special-award judges from Ohio University faculty and some prize-awarding agencies and organizations will re-judge only superior projects for special prizes.

Entry fee

There is only one entry fee of $20 per student for DSD. Each member of a team pays the $20 fee. Do not send cash. Please send check or money order payable to Ohio University.

Entry procedure

Each student must send a complete entry package. Each member of a team project must send a separate entry package, check the box before "Team Project" and write the name of the teammate in the space following the words "Team Project" on the 2014 Entry Form. A Microsoft Word version of the new 2014 Entry Form is available on-line. It is also available as a PDF file. If you cannot use the on-line Word document, please contact the Director for a hardcopy form, at the address listed below.

All students from any school (including home schools) must have their entry packages and entry fees sent in one package, by a teacher, guidance counselor, talented-and-gifted program (TAG) director, local science fair director, or other responsible school administrator, in one package, to reach the Director of DSD no later than March 1, 2014, at

Dr. Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch, Director of DSD
Department of Geological Sciences
316 Clippinger Laboratories
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701-2979

If your proposed local fair date is too close to March 1, 2014, please send by e-mail immediately to the Director with your fair date, the estimated number of projects from your school that may enter the DSD, and when and how you propose to deliver the entry package to the Director.

The entry fee may be submitted in one check or money order, or in separate checks or money orders.

The school package must include a School Information Form (blue form) which must list names of judges and the contact person and their email addresses. Any relative of one or more students participating in the DSD is not allowed to serve as a judge or volunteer and is not allowed to enter the judging headquarters and judging area between 9 AM till the end of all judging. Please send at least one judge for every five entries. A minimum of one judge is required if the number of entries does not exceed five. No entry will be accepted without the completed blue school information form and judges. The School Information Form is available here (Microsoft Word) (PDF). If you cannot use the on-line documents, please contact the Director for a hardcopy form, at the address listed above.

If the students have participated in a local science fair or academic fair at their schools, we expect the school to send us only students who have received superior ratings at the local fairs. A local fair may include schools in one or more school districts of the county.

Students whose schools do not have a local science fair or academic fair in their legal residence in one of the nine counties of District 12, may submit their entries, including one complete research report for each project, to the DSD, if a teacher or other responsible administrator of each school will send all the entries from that school in one package with a completely filled out blue school information form, including a minimum of one judge if the number of entries does not exceed five, to reach the Director no later than March 1, 2014. If there are more than five entries from a school, the one judge per five entries rule will apply. Students who are attend public or private schools located in our 9-county District should contact their school teacher or administrator before they start their project if their projects (1) utilize school facilities or people (such as using classmates or other school adults as subjects) or (2) may require prior approval of a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB) .

Each home school should use a uniform home school name that begins with the first and last name of one parent or guardian followed by "Home School". For example, for children of Jack and Jill Hill who are home schooled, their school name can be either Jack Hill Home School" or "Jill Hill Home School". The names of both parents or guardians will be given in publicity release without the made-up name of your home school.

Entry Package

All students in grades 5 to 12 are required to have the following items arranged in the order given below. The same order is also given in the checklist after the parent/guardian's signature line on the 2014 Entry form. Send the original signed copies of the 2014 Entry form and the OAS Consent and Release agreement. Send only the photocopies of all signed numbered-ISEF forms, research plan, and abstract and keep the originals to bring in a folder on the day of the District Science Day. The numbered forms below are ISEF forms in the current Rules.

Recognition and Prizes

Tentative List

  • Each participant whose project is judged will receive a certificate.

  • All participants receiving a superior rating will be re-judged for special prizes.

  • Departmental prizes in the 13 fields from science departments in the College of Arts and Science, College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the College of Health and Human Services, and the engineering departments of the College of Engineering & Technology. Prizes may consist of cash or savings bonds from $10 to $100 or more, books, certificates, plaques, and/or subscriptions, etc.

  • American Chemical Society-Upper Ohio Valley Section awards: magazine subscriptions and certificates.

  • Ohio Soybean Council awards: 3 awards of $100 each for grades 7 to 12 for best projects in soybeans.

  • Ohio Water Environment Association (OWEA) awards on water pollution abatement: savings bond and certificate.

  • Ohio Governor's Award for Excellence in Student Research. One certificate in each of the following areas:
    1. Agriculture and Food Technology
    2. Biotechnology and Biomedical Technology Research
    3. Advanced or Alternative Energy Research
    4. Environmental Sciences Research
    5. Advanced Materials Research
    6. Water Resources Research
    7. Information Science & Technology Research
  • Female students in 7th grade who receive a superior rating at DSD may receive a scholarship to attend the Buckeye Women in Science and Engineering Research (B-WISER) program at the College of Wooster in the summer of 2014. Prize to be confirmed.

  • Students whose entries receive Superior Ratings may be eligible to participate in the State Science Day (SSD) of the Ohio Academy of Science on May 10, 2014, at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. In this case, a team project is counted as one entry.

Teacher recognition

One or more teachers may be recognized as the Outstanding Science Teacher of District 12.

School awards

One Trophy for Schools with the Highest Percentage of Superiors will be given in each of three categories: Elementary Division (5-6 grades), Junior Division (7-8 grades), Senior Division (9-12 grades). To qualify for this competition, a school must have five or more judged individual projects in a division and all the projects received a rating of good or better. Each winning school will receive $200 for use in their science program.

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Mark Lucas modified this file (http://www.ohiou.edu/scifair/2014.html) on Sept 6, 2013.

Please E-mail any comments or suggestions to scifair@www.ohiou.edu.