Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What to Wear?


What to wear is a question I get more often than one could ever imagine.  Not just by students and teachers but by judges and even sponsors.  So I thought I’d throw some considerations your way as you make travel plans.

As your students pack for the big SSTFI weekend the SSTFI Staff would like to remind students to throw in clothing that makes them feel comfortable and confident when it comes to presenting. 

·        Thought should be given to whether or not what a student chooses to wear would make the judge(s) feel comfortable talking to them. 

·        One should also consider what one will look like up on a huge screen above the stage for all to see. 

·        Once this is considered also consider that our major $10,000 plus sponsors sit in the front rows below the stage with an upward view where short skirts can show more than a student may mean to show a corporate sponsor.  Knee length is always a good rule of thumb or nice fitting dress pants.


We are not asking or advocating that students spend money on new clothes – it is not expected to be a suit and tie event because we know some students do not have this type of attire and some do not feel comfortable in it.  We are simply asking that some thought be put into what is appropriate.  If you look at the two days of the fair many consider Friday a more casual day where school science t-shirts are fun to see – business casual is also very appropriate.  Our SSTFI Staff are asked to wear SSTFI t-shirts with nice jeans or khakis on Friday.  Of course a student may dress above this level.  Many consider Saturday a more professional day where many students do choose to wear suits (especially at the SH level). 

If you have senior high students presenting you should know that the large donors/scholarship sponsors will be on the floor Friday afternoon if that lends itself to a different choice in attire.  Teachers with FFA Members – Friday for the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair – FFA Official Dress is very appropriate but not a requirement.

Research shows that people who dress in attire they feel good in and is appropriate for the occasion/event will have more confidence and poise.

Comfortable judges (without clothing distractions) and confident students is a good goal.


If you want a good resource for business attire definitions and protocols (geared towards interviews) this was a good site:  http://www.career.vt.edu/Interviewing/InterviewAppearance.html

I especially like this statement: “Dressing nicely and appropriately is a compliment to the person you meet, so if in doubt, err on the side of dressing better than you might need to.”

Just some thoughts as bags are packed.



For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org
All photos: Dan Welk at Click! Photography

Monday, March 26, 2012

On Site Registration Information


Please view the On-Site Registration Instructions.  These may also be found at: http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/fair-schedule.html (see ON SITE REGISTRATION FLYER)

On this same page you will find:
  • Schedules
  • Floor Maps with Exhibit Numbers
  • Ames Maps
  • Ames Information
  • T-shirt and Pin designs
  • Workshop Flyers
The Fair Office/Emergency Contact Number During the fair is listed on the above web page, the front page of the website and in the On-Site Registration Instructions. This number is for you, your students, parents, and school officials to contact us in case of emergency or in case they cannot reach you.  Phone Number:  515.294.0950

Other Items:

  • Inclement Weather – the SSTFI will proceed as scheduled regardless of weather (not that it looks like we have to worry this year).  Please understand there is no way we can reschedule the event.  Therefore if there is threatening weather we can work with you to help find accommodations in Ames either before or after the event.  Regardless – you need to follow your schools guidelines when it comes to traveling in poor weather.

  • On-line SRC Violations – As long as you see the word approved in the on-line teacher project review it means you have met the requirements for preapproval by the SRC.  The way the data management system works we cannot “erase” the prior missing paperwork but we do update the approval status.  Please understand – just because it says Not Approved does NOT mean your student cannot participate – it means they have not met SRC paperwork requirements and MUST have the paperwork with them at registration!

  • SRC Paperwork during SRC/DSC Floor reviews – ALL projects are required to have a complete set of paperwork with them at their projects during the Friday morning reviews.  At registration the SRC will COLLECT the Missing Paperwork so the SSTFI maintains a COMPLETE SET.  Therefore you will need two copies of missing paperwork – one to turn in and one in the complete set at the project!  To view what the reviewers will be looking for please visit:  http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/Rules/Scientific_Review_Committee.html 

  • NEW!!!! – DSC Floor Reviews We are changing how we process floor reviews this year.  In an effort to make the process easier on our volunteers and the students there will only be ONE set of reviewers on the floor.  This means only one piece of paper that will be checked off http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/assets/files/SSTFI2012/ViolationInstr.pdf.  If there is an approval sticker and reviewers initials at the bottom of the sheet means project is approved.  If NOT the project needs to have the violations that are noted fixed before being approved for competition.  If there is no sheet on the table at all after set up it means a reviewer has not been to the project to do a review yet.  Hopefully this process will relieve a lot of Friday morning confusion.



  • Abstract – make sure all projects have an abstract displayed!  Needs to be vertically displayed – this can be on the board/backdrop or standing in a frame on the table. 

  • Seminar Presentations – Just a reminder to any student giving a presentation:  Presenters are responsible to have their own computer (or schools may bring one computer to share between all their presenters).  The SSTFI will provide LCD Projectors, AV carts, and screens.  It is suggested that a back-up method also be available (burned on CD or saved on flash drive/small external hard drive, etc).  You may bring your own LCD projector if a student would be more comfortable using it instead – just remember there is not a lot of time to switch out/set up technology.  To view the complete set of seminar presentation rules visit: http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/seminars.html

·        Hy-Vee Express [located on upper concourse; east side – Hilton] will be open both on Friday and Saturday from 11 am – 3 pm.  If you prefer not to go off campus or unable during lunch this concession will be offering pizza, chips, sandwiches, pop (and possibly popcorn and candy).  Please remember outside food and drink are not allowed (other than water bottles and small snack items students may need).

·        Anyone who helps with judging is provided a free meal on us and get to throw their school name into the school incentive drawing!

·        If you are looking for Exhibit Numbers prior to the fair they may be found at: http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/press.html [click the Title List Link].  These are supposed to show up on teacher project reviews but they don’t seem to be so you can go here to find them.

·        QUIZ BOWL & PICTIONARY VOLUNTEERS – During the Saturday morning award ceremony pre-session we are going to play a fun teacher vs. student Science Fair Quiz Bowl. 

·        We are seeking 4 teacher and 4 student volunteers. 

·        This is meant to be fun and entertaining – but you know better than us which students would enjoy playing along. 

·        Also, we will again do a science fair Pictionary prior to the Friday evening award ceremony – looking for teacher and student volunteers here as well!

·        If you or any of your students are interested let me know! 

  • Project Drops – If you have projects that will not be attending you may send me these names anytime and I will remove them from the system.  Be sure though because once I remove them they are out of the system for good – it is permanent.


We look forward to seeing you all at the end of the week!



For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Charge for Senior High Luncheon on Saturday

Senior High Teachers/Adult Sponsors:

The SSTFI is having to make some serious decisions this year due to the loss of sponsorship.  Please note this is not due to the sponsors thinking your students are not a worthy cause it is due to the economic climate causing some sponsors to restrict or even to be unable to give sponsorship dollars.  This, in addition to the increase in exhibitor numbers, is causing us to rethink certain areas of the fair. 

To help with the monetary shortfall we will NOT be offering a FREE luncheon for the Senior High students on Saturday.  We will still offer the luncheon as an option – but it will not be mandatory – students are not required to eat the luncheon.  We will keep the same pasta buffet that we have offered in the past that includes a vegetarian option.  Students are allowed to take what they want and may have seconds if any remains.  However, we will now charge a small amount for the meal to help cover costs.  We will be asking $5.00/student ($7.00/adult) to help cover the meal cost.  (The actual cost of the meal is $13.50 per person).  If this is not acceptable for a school you are free to find other options for your student(s).  You may NOT bring outside food into Scheman or Hilton.  However, students may eat on the steps or lawn.

You do not need to register in advance to eat – students will be able to pay anytime on Friday at the registration desk in Hilton (preferably AFTER registration) or they can pay on Saturday in line.  Students will be given a ticket to use to enter the buffet line.  Again, the pasta meal includes a couple types of pasta, a couple types of sauce (one or more vegetarian), a salad, bread sticks and a drink (tea or lemonade).  Teachers and adult sponsors are welcome to eat with their students for the adult cost of $7.00.  Our scholarship sponsors have been invited to the luncheon and they will be eating with the students during this time as well (they of course are our guests).

We will also not be providing the cookie break on Friday for the Senior High.  They will still have a break time but we will not be providing refreshments.  If enough of you think your students would like something set out for a small snack (cookies and lemonade) we would have to charge a small fee ($2/$3).

IF you have a significant number of students who will NOT be attending the luncheon please let me know so I have a better idea of the amount of food to order.  It will not help our bottom line if suddenly half of the students don’t eat but I still order the food.

I realize many of you already have budgets set for the event and we are very sorry for this last minute notice.  We wanted to wait on some additional sponsorship requests.  Please know we have been submitting and reaching out to new sponsors but it takes time and lots of no’s sometimes before finding a new supporter.  We will not take anything away from the awards that go to students and will do everything we can to keep the event free of across the board registration costs.  There are some things we may end up cutting next year that were already ordered for this year.  We looked at what would affect the fewest students.  Rather than cutting the entire meal since it is such a tight time frame we want to continue to offer it just at a small cost that would be similar to eating out at a fast food establishment.

We ask for your understanding in this.  It is our goal to continue to strive to make the fair a positive and educational experience for all students.

FOOD ALLERGIES:
IF you have students attending the luncheon who may have food allergies or restrictions or need a gluten free meal please let me know and we can have this ordered.


For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

Monday, March 19, 2012

Abstract Review

The following is the annual ABSTRACT Explanation.  For photo references on how to display an abstract with the board please keep reading.

Ways the SSTFI asks for abstracts:
  1. Typed in the on-line registration for each project
  2. Submitted in hard copy with SRC paperwork
  3. Displayed vertically on the project (board or table) at the fair.
Why do we ask for the abstract in 3 different ways? (short answer)

  1.  The typed in version during on-line registration is used exclusively for judging purposes
  2. The hard copy submitted with SRC paperwork is used exclusively by the SRC in addition to the research plan to ensure they have a full understanding of the research.
  3. The abstract on the project at the fair is used by many people – judges, the general public, SSTFI staff.
The abstract tells the research story and is a VERY IMPORTANT component to the research project! 

The following are in depth answers to how we use them:

  1. Typed version during on-line registration
    • Many of our scholarship sponsors and special award sponsors request a copy of the project entry database 2 weeks prior to the fair to review.  They will be sent this Wednesday along with the floor layouts (some special award sponsors build their entire judging route/plan from this information)
    • They utilize titles, abstracts and the award categories selected on-line to narrow down their list of projects they want to meet with.
    • Our special award sponsors want to talk to as many students as possible; however, they also know they cannot talk to all 500 projects.  They want to ensure their focus is narrowed prior to judging at the fair.
    • This does NOT mean that they don’t take a look over the projects while at the fair.  During judging  orientation they are encouraged to at least walk around and note any projects on their lists they may have missed in the initial paper review.
    • That said they do truly appreciate having abstracts to review to help narrow the list slightly.  Sometimes a title alone cannot completely express what the research is about.
    • Our special award chair also is asked by other sponsors to put together lists for them before they arrive and she also uses titles, abstracts and the marked award categories.
    • In addition, we will print all of the abstracts and place them in a binder in the fair office for review if judges wish to review something further at the fair either before going out or to review after judging the projects.
    • We often receive press calls and this book is also used by us to give reporters an idea of what is out on the floor.  Granted often a catchy title will draw their eye but some also utilize the abstract info.
    • SENIOR HIGH – this is very important for senior high students and teachers to know.  The senior high judging committee merges the abstracts into their print function when pulling together and printing the judging forms.  Every senior high judging form has the abstract printed on the reverse side.  This abstract is directly pulled from the database.
    • How do the judges use these?  Saturday am before the students arrive during the judging review they review the forms and read abstracts either before or after reviewing the floor projects.  The first item they are instructed to read when reviewing the floor projects are the abstracts on the project.
    • During the final discussions judges also have the judging forms in front of them and an abstract can help refresh their memory regarding the projects being discussed for finalists.  This is just a help – in cases of serious discussion or argument the judges go back out on the floor.
    • The SSTFI does NOT make this field on the on-line registration a required field because we realize not all students have one completed at the time of registration.  At this time we also don’t have the ability functioned in for students or teachers to add this in after submission. 
    • If you send me an electronic copy that I can cut and paste I am able to update your project on-line entries.   I am happy to do this up to Monday, March 26th. (see below for further instructions) After the 26th the database will be locked down, cleaned one last time in order for participation certificates and judging forms to be printed.
  2. SRC Paperwork
    • The SRC sometimes needs information regarding the research that they can only find in the abstract.  The research plans give good insight but an abstract also provides valuable information.
    • If you did not submit a hard copy the SRC will list it as an SRC violation and you be asked to submit a copy to their booth at the fair.
  3. Vertically Displayed at the Project
    • This is often the first piece of information the judges on the floor look for.  The abstract can give valuable information as well as an overall view of the research.
    • Our Display and Safety Committee and the floor will be looking for these abstracts at the projects and will have a student type or write one if it is not there.
    • The abstract can give the general public a good idea of what a project is about.
    • The abstract does NOT have to be attached to the project board.  It is also allowable to have it vertically displayed on the project table.  Many people use picture/document frames or pamphlet holders when displaying the abstract on the table.
Example 1:  Abstract placed directly on the board.
Pros: Easy to see/find; good eye location for judges
Cons: Space can be at a premium on the board; not always room; often abstracts need modification and this can make it difficult to change


Example 2:  Abstract placed in a frame and set on table.
Pros: Easy to see/find; judges can pick it up to easily read; allows more space on board for other items; if the abstract is modified it is easy to change; protected
Cons: Cost of the frame; it is possible for it to accidently walk off (although very rare)


Example 3:  Abstract attached directly to table front (usually with tape or push pin)
Pros: Visible; leaves space open on board and on table; easy to change out if modifications are made; no cost for frame
Cons: Hard for judges/people to read without bending over; can be easy to accidently tear or fall off the edge


Although example 3 is not always the ideal for the abstract this is the best option for the other forms that should be vertically displayed (Form 1C and Form 7).

In summary:
  • Yes, we need it 3 different ways
  • Yes, we utilize each version very differently
  • Yes, the abstract is important
  • Yes, if you are exhibiting in Senior High competition it is in your best interest to submit an electronic copy

You have until Monday, March 26th, 2012 to e-mail me an abstract to update your on-line entry. 

PLEASE check your teacher list http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/teachers/get-project-report.html to ensure the abstract wasn’t already entered before sending to me!

I will only accept these in some electronic version.  It can be in the body of the email, it can be an attachment (preferably Word or pdf).  The only thing I require is -- YOU MUST have the PROJECT ID listed in the e-mail and with the file or I will send it back to you.


For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

Win a $200 Best Buy Gift Card!

This year the SSTFI will again be giving away a $200 Best Buy gift card for a school to use for their science/science fair program.  During the Grand Award Ceremony on Saturday evening we will draw a school’s name from the cards entered into the drawing.

How does your school earn cards?

Encourage past participants, school alumni, parents and chaperones attending the 2012 SSTFI from your school or supporting your program to volunteer/or attend in the following areas:

  • Assist as a Display and Safety Reviewer (Friday am) – this earns a school triple cards!
  • Attend the Open Forum (Saturday am)
  • Attend the Statistics Workshop (Saturday)
  • Assist as an SSTFI Judge – this earns a school double cards!
  • Assist as an SSTFI Volunteer – this earns a school 1 card per 2 hour shift!
For those of you who might have people interested in helping on Friday morning as a DSC reviewer below is the schedule (not only will they earn triple cards – we’ll treat them to coffee and morning treats):

8:30        Display & Safety Committee (DSC)
               --Volunteer Registration & Orientation
               --Coffee & Refreshments
Enter through SE corner door  OR South Doors of Hilton Coliseum
Meet in Fair Office (Johnny’s on Upper Concourse – old basketball office)
o    Need 20 Volunteers

9:00        DSC Reviews START
               --Junior High & Senior High
                    Paperwork needs to be taken to SRC Booth

10:45      DSC Violation Checks
               --Junior High & Senior High
§  Students MUST check project prior to attending the Welcome Ceremony
§  IF a project is in violation students MUST REMAIN at the PROJECT until cleared!
§  Students with NO Violations MUST clear the floor and attend Welcome Ceremony

11:30      ALL DSC Violations Cleared
n  Junior High
n  Senior High

If you have anyone that would like to sign up in advance please send them to our on-line volunteer registration: http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/alumni/volunteer-registration.html

We can always use the help.  We always need volunteers to help man the information desks!  And we will take as MANY PEOPLE as possible on Friday morning.  Just think the more reviewers we have the faster we’ll get your students cleared and ready for judging!



For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

Judge's Needed!

More Judges Needed for the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa

The State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa and FFA Agriscience Fair are being held in March 30 and 31, 2012 at ISU Center and we need your help. Do you have a major, degree, or background in science, engineering, or technology?  Then we want you. We have a record number of students, registered, 650, and 200 of these are high school students.  These young scientists and engineers will come to Iowa State University to exhibit and learn from judges just like you how to improve their research.  We need to exceed last year’s number of judges and need you to volunteer to be a fair judge. We need 350 middle school judges and 100 high school judges to work with youth from across Iowa, as educators, to not only evaluate their projects but to help them become better researchers. Please join us at this years fair where you will have a very rewarding experience.

To register as a judge go to the following link and complete the form. 

We will be counting on you to judge with your submission of this form. You will get a confirmation soon. Please keep track of your choices.

We are just two weeks out from the fair so please help us meet our future needs for scientists and engineers and experience a different type of Hilton Magic. If you have any questions or problems contact Vicki Speake at speake@iastate.edu or 515-294-5738.


For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Workshop Schedules Posted!

The workshop schedules are posted (student and adult)!

Please do NOT miss the workshop being presented by Dr. Travis J. Frey on Statistics.  This workshop is open to ANY adult.  Invite others who may want to attend!

Science Research in the Classroom: Going Beyond Just the Mean!

Bring your laptops and questions.  Work through simulations and discuss how to help students effectively incorporate statistical analysis into their research.  This program will be geared toward teachers/adult sponsors with Senior High students or advanced Junior High students (all levels are welcome to attend). 
A Luncheon will be available for $7.00 per person. 
Date: Saturday, March 31st
Location: Room 299 – 2nd Floor, Scheman
Time: 10:30 am– 1:00pm
Presenter:  Dr. Travis J. Frey, Ph.D.

Please go to: http://www.sciencefairofiowa.org/fair-schedule.html to download the schedule (in the Downloadable Schedules section) or the homepage to download the schedules.


Student Workshops
Saturday, March 31st, 2012 — Sessions will be offered at 2:15pm and 3:15pm
Sign up for workshops Friday at the Registration Desk on the south side of Hilton Coliseum

Ground Water Flow Model Brought to you by: Iowa State Soil & Water Conservation Club
This workshop will present a groundwater flow model which describes how water moves underground and how pollutants can affect our water supply.

2:15 Session ONLY                                                                   Women’s Basketball Locker Room

Heat, Freeze, Break Brought to you by: Iowa State Material Advantage Club
This workshop will introduce you to the exciting field of Materials Science & Engineering. The properties of the four main types of materials - ceramics, metals, polymers, and electronics - will be interactively explained and discussed. Processing methods will be explored through heating with blowtorches and freezing with liquid nitrogen. A final focus of the workshop will be breaking all kinds of materials and evaluating why they break the way they do.

3:15 Session ONLY                                                                   Women’s Basketball Locker Room

Food Safety and Sensory Panel Brought to you by: Iowa State Food Science Club
Students will engage in food safety principles and participate in a hand washing demonstration.  There will be a sensory panel discussion to evaluate various samples using visual, sound, taste, and aroma cues.

Both Sessions                                                                           Men’s Basketball Locker Room

Egg Bungee Jump Brought to you by: Iowa State Program for Women in Science & Engineering
Design a bungee cord using everyday materials.  You will use estimating, data analysis and measuring skills to make the bungee cord drop the egg as close to the ground as possible without making contact with the floor.

Both Sessions                                                                           Media Room

Marble Race Brought to you by: Iowa State Program for Women in Science & Engineering
In this workshop, you will test the effects of variables on the speed and distance of objects rolling down an inclined plane. Variables include object type, ramp height, ramp covering.  Then you will use this data to calculate the speed for individual trials and comparison.

Both Sessions                                                                           Visiting Team Locker Room

Adult Attendees Workshops

Any adult is invited to attend (teachers, parents, volunteers and guests)

Friday Sessions:

Senior High Judges Review

This session is mandatory for Senior High Students and they will be given priority seating, but adults are welcome to join the session in the back as room allows.  Please NO QUESTIONS from the adults while the students are in session!  Adults will have a chance to ask questions immediately following the dismissal of the students.
Date: Friday, March 30th                                                       
Location: Benton Auditorium — 1st Floor, Scheman
Time: 4:30 - 5:30pm                                                                    
Presenter: Senior High Judging Committee

Saturday Sessions:
Open Forum
This year the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Advisory Board will again be hosting an Open Forum for discussion of SSTFI related items.  The forum is open to teachers, adult sponsors, parents, and volunteers. As always your comments and ideas are welcome.
Coffee will be served.
Date: Saturday, March 31st                            
Location: Room 299 – 2nd Floor, Scheman
Time: 10:00am – 10:30am

Science Research in the Classroom: Going Beyond Just the Mean!
Bring your laptops and questions.  Work through simulations and discuss how to help students effectively incorporate statistical analysis into their research.  This program will be geared toward teachers/adult sponsors with Senior High students or advanced Junior High students (all levels are welcome to attend). 
A Luncheon will be available for $7.00 per person. 
Date: Saturday, March 31st                                    
Location: Room 299 – 2nd Floor, Scheman
Time: 10:30 am– 1:00pm                                                        
Presenter:  Dr. Travis J. Frey, Ph.D


For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org

Calling All Volunteers!


The SSTFI relies on volunteers to run the fair.  This year is no exception and we would love to have you come volunteer.  This year we have record project numbers (nearly 500 total projects) we have a great need for volunteers!  There are many areas and times to volunteer.  We cannot stress this enough – PLEASE invite friends to come help too or forward this message along!


The fair will run Friday, March 30th and Saturday, March 31st.  However, there are also volunteer times on Wednesday, March 28 and Thursday, March 29.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28th
Putting together student packets, sorting registration materials and gluing signs.  This will be held at the Extension 4H Youth Building on Campus between 2 and 8 pm.  Come whenever/leave whenever.  Pizza at 5 PM

THURSDAY, MARCH 29th
Fair set-up from 1 PM – 9 PM.  Again come whenever/leave whenever.  Supper at 6 PM.  We need lots of help marking tables, setting signs, setting up the office, setting up registration area, etc.  To help come in South doors and go to Johnny’s on the concourse (Johnny’s is the 2012 Fair Office).

FRIDAY & SATURDAY – March 30 & 31
The biggest need on Friday morning serving as Display and Safety Reviewers to approve projects.  You do not have to be a past participant to serve in this capacity – in fact, bring friends along. 

Orientation at 8:00 am.  Go through SE door of Hilton on ground level and meet in Blue room.  Coffee and breakfast available.

In addition we always need people to run information desks, work in the office, serve as judges, help with ceremonies, etc.  We provide all meals. 


Or e-mail me.

The COLLEGE with the MOST students volunteering will win the rights to display the Traveling Trophy in their College Offices. 

In addition, the participating school district with the most past participant and/or parent volunteers will win a $200 gift for their school!
Thanks for all your help!


For more information regarding the SSTFI please visit our website at www.sciencefairofiowa.org