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District 12 Science Day

District 12 Science Day

Ohio University is thrilled to once again partner with The Ohio Academy of Science (OAS) for the annual District 12 Science Day (DSD). As a Carnegie R1 designated university focused on preparing students for a career in science, we share the Academy’s passion for highlighting the accomplishments of Southeast Ohio’s budding scientists. Scroll down further for key dates, participation details, project support and form links. Good luck and have fun!


Key Dates

Please ensure students adhere to all registration and submission deadlines. Reach out to Dr. Natalie Kruse for questions ( 

Date & TimeEvent
Dec. 15, 2023Project registration opens
Jan. 16, 2024ProjectBoard account creation or re-activation deadline
Jan. 31, 2024Buckeye Science and Engineering Fair project submission deadline
Feb. 26, 2024Project registration deadline
Mar. 23, 2024     

District 12 Science Day

  • 8 am - 9 am: Project set-up in Heritage Hall (East entrance off Factory St.)
  • 9 am - 12pm: Judging
    • Students will be released once judging concludes. 
    • Parents may wait in MAC Rooms 141 or 145. The MAC is directly across from Factory St. from Heritage Hall.
Mar. 26, 2024  Virtual award ceremony: 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Participation Details

Information for Parents

We’re here to help you and your student enjoy District Science Day! We’ve got some tips and recommendations below, as well as some helpful links to keep in mind. You can also send any questions to Dr. Natalie Kruse ( 

  • This year’s DSD fair will be Saturday March 23, 2024, at Heritage Hall, located on the West side of campus at the corner of West Union and Factory Street.
  • DSD is open to students grades 5-12 from Athens, Hocking, Jackson, Meigs, Morgan, Ross, and Vinton counties. Student projects that receive a superior rating have the opportunity to advance to State Science Day.
  • There is no registration fee! This has been covered by outside funding through the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service.
  • Registration for District Science Day ends February 26, 2024. Participants can register starting December 18, 2023, by visiting
  • Information about OAS for general and State Science Day can be found at
  • Additional resources and information can be found at 2023 2024 Resource Page - State Science Day (  
  • Find updates about the fair on Facebook (Ohio District 12 Science Fair) and Twitter @OHDist12SciFair.

Information for Teachers

In addition to the below instructions, teachers and school officials should review the DSD submission requirements and resources found at to ensure their students meet all requirements.

  • All schools must provide at least one judge for every five projects. Register as a judge at Contact Dr. Natalie Kruse with questions (
  • Students attending schools that do not have a local science fair or academic fair in one of the eight counties of District 12 may still submit entries with a completed research report by contacting Dr. Natalie Kruse ( for instructions.
  • Students attending public or private schools located in one of the eight counties of District 12 must contact their teacher or administrator before they start if their project:
    1. Utilizes school facilities or people (such as using classmates or adult staff as subjects)  
    2. May require prior approval of a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB) 
  • Every entry must be reviewed for:
    1. Safety
    2. Use of human subjects
    3. Research on vertebrate animals
    4. Use of potentially hazardous biological agents, including human tissue.
  • All students must use the standard ISEF forms to ensure their projects meet review requirements.
    1. Forms 1, 1a, and 1b are required for all projects, as well as any forms that might be needed for individual projects (e.g., if a student is using human subjects).
    2. Form 3 is a risk assessment, for some projects, either due to safety concerns or use of university or industrial facilities, the student should also have a Qualified Scientist to supervise them – they would fill out Form 2 to indicate this. We recommend assembling a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) made up of a teacher, an administrator, and a health professional (school nurse or local volunteer). They can review all project plans to verify if a student is working with hazardous biological agents, human subjects, or vertebrate animals. Teachers or schools can contact Dr. Natalie Kruse ( for more information.
  • Entries requiring an SRC:
    1. Hazardous Biological Agents:
      • These projects must be reviewed and signed off on by the SRC. Complete Form 6A and must have a Qualified Scientist.         
    2. Human Subjects:
      • These projects must be reviewed by the SRC or, in this case, an Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is easiest if this is the same committee. This includes having other people do surveys, answer questions, take tests, participate in experiments, etc, including if the subject is the student themselves. Complete Form 4 and complete the Sample Informed Consent Statement. All participants must consent to participation and minors must have parental consent.
    3. Vertebrate Animals:
      • These projects must be reviewed by the SRC and, ideally, by a biologist (contact for assistance). Students would need to complete Form 5 and potentially Form 6B (depending on the project). It would be advisable for more complex projects to have a Qualified Scientist on board.
  • Contact Dr. Natalie Kruse ( for questions.


Students from schools in the following Ohio counties are eligible for District 12 Science Day: 

  • Athens
  • Hocking
  • Jackson
  • Meigs
  • Morgan
  • Ross
  • Vinton

Students in grades 5 - 12 in the above counties are expected to participate in their school district's local science fair or academic fair.

  • 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 the above counties and who attend schools that do not have local science fair or academic fair may submit their project directly to the District Science Day.
    • Students must include a copy of their complete research report.
    • We may require proof of residency and age if necessary.
    • A local fair may include schools in one or more school districts of the county.
    • Contact Dr. Natalie Kruse ( to be added to a ProjectBoard Class for student without a local fair.
  • Students who need a virtual option can register for the statewide Ohio Academy of Sciences District 18 Science Day.

Important Registration Information

A few very important things to keep in mind:

  • Please ensure you view the Science Fair videos before students begin submitting projects.
  • View registration and science fair form tutorials plus other resources
  • Students must register through the ProjectBoard platform before submitting their projects. The registration deadline is December 15, 2023. Projects may be submitted between December 18, 2023 – February 26, 2024.
  • Required forms
  • The Buckeye Science and Engineering Fair (BSEF) competition is a statewide competition that provides an additional opportunity for high school projects to qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The BSEF deadline for project submission is January 31, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. The cost to participate is $50 per student. Student participants will be invoiced directly from the Ohio Academy of Science office. The competition fee MUST be paid before the student can participate in the judging process.
  • Additional information and resources for the BSEF

Congratulations on your perseverance through this process! We commend your grit and determination. Good luck with all your competitions and please know we are available if you have questions.

Directions and Parking

  • The District Science Day will be held in the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Heritage Hall.
  • Heritage Hall is Building 140 (Section D-1) on the top left corner of the Campus Map, and is just off West Union (US-56) on the West end of Campus.
    • The street address is 191 W. Union St, Athens, OH 45701.
  • Project drop off will be on the East side of the building off Factory Street.
  • Parking is available across West Union near Lot 164 and across Factory Street in Lot 147.
  • Parents may wait in Building 141 in Rooms 141 and 145.

Project Ideas Help

Having trouble getting started?

There are lots of resources on the web regarding science fairs and science fair projects. We recommend The Archimedes Initiative, whose mission it is to “promote science literacy and increase the number of scientists and engineers in the United States.” Find a collection of their videos. We’ve also outlined the basic steps to get rolling, which include supporting videos. Good luck and have fun!

  • Find a research topic
    • Be observant all the time and ask questions about what you observe: what, what for, how, who, why, which, when, where, etc. Scientists have made great discoveries from their observations and questions. We recommend you keep a journal of your observations and questions with their dates, updating as you find answers.
  • Search for references
    • When you have a question, first search for published research that may have already answered your question or is related to your question. You may need references to support your proposed method. You can still do your research if you use a different method. The most reliable primary references are "peer reviewed journals". “Primary” implies original research. “Peer reviewed” means experts in the field reviewed the paper before its publication and verified the findings.
    • 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 need a minimum of five references.
  • Write a research plan. 
    • It should include:
      • A question (or problem)
      • Hypothesis (or engineering goal)
      • Detailed description of your method or procedure, including data analysis
      • Bibliography of five or more primary references. 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.
  • Find an adult sponsor
    • Your adult sponsor can be a teacher, parent, or other adult with knowledge of the research problem. The adult sponsor will use the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1) form to review your completed Student Checklist (1A) and research plan.
  • Complete the required forms. 
    • You will need to complete ISEF Form 1A and 1B and other required forms and approval before you can start experiments. Hint: To reduce errors and simplify the 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. Your adult sponsor will use items 4, 5, and 6 on ISEF Form 1 to confirm if your projects need other forms besides ISEF Form 1A and 1B. You must secure additional signed and dated approval before you can start your experiment.
    • 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 must 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.

Ohio STEM Professional Development Series

  • Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, in partnership with the Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) Southeast Hub and the Ohio University Museum Complex, has created a number of STEM-related professional development offerings geared toward Ohio’s K-12 teachers.
  • Our goal is to share STEM resources and opportunities for developing partnerships between K-12, higher education, community, and businesses to connect and spread STEM efforts throughout the Southeast region of the state.

Voinovich School's YouTube Channel

Science Fair Videos

Check out the following Science Fair videos from the Appalachian STEM Enrichment Academy!

Science Fair Images