FAQ’s

Q.   What is the procedure for the Science Fair? How do I get involved?

A.    If your school is interested in participating in the Los Angeles County Science Fair, the school must complete and submit the online school and site coordinator registration. Registration can be accessed our Registration Website – www.lascifair.org/registration. The Site Coordinator for your school’s science fair is the teacher or administrator who will be the liaison between the student participants and the Science Fair Office. Once registration is complete, an information packet will be emailed to the Site Science Fair Coordinator with instructions for student participation, online registration, and important deadline dates.

 If your school participates, the Site Coordinator may select up to 13 projects (including up to 3 team projects) to compete in the Fair.

If your school does not plan to send projects to the Fair, you may submit directly to the LA County Science Fair by getting your science teacher to monitor your project and fill out the registration form as well as any other paperwork that might apply to your project (i.e., Jr. Division Certification Form 601-068 for tissues/cells, human subjects, vertebrate animals, hazardous materials or microbes or the Sr. Division ISEF Certification Forms.)

Home-schooled students may also participate by having a science teacher from a nearby school monitor their project and fill out the paperwork.  If a home-schooled student is doing their research at a local informal science facility (zoo, aquarium, science center), hospital or university, they may get the facility to sponsor, register and pay the fee for the student project under their care.

Q.    What happens on the three days of the Science Fair?

A.    The first day of the Fair is the day students, teachers or parents may set up the projects. The time is 2:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. Each student (or parent/teacher bringing the student’s project) must go through the Screening Process, then proceed to Check-In for information on their assigned area and finally enter the Exhibit Hall to set up projects. This is also a time when candid photos may be taken by the Science Fair Publicity Team.

The second day of the Fair is for Judging. All students will be interviewed by a panel of judges, from 9:00am to 3:30pm. and are expected to be present.

The third day of the Fair is open to the public, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Project exhibits, in addition to hands-on, interactive activities are available all day. A Pre-Awards Program is offered from 6-7 pm, with the Awards Ceremony from 7-9:00 P.M. All project displays must be removed from the Convention Center by 10:00 p.m.

Q.    If I am part of a team, do all the team members have to be present for the interview?  How many people can make up a team?

A.    ALL members of your team need to be present for any interviews.  Make sure that your team is made up of no more than 3 people:  teams with more than 2-3 people will not be approved to attend the Los Angeles County Science & Engineering Fair nor the CA State Science Fair.

Q.    One of my school’s team projects has a student who will be out of town on a school field trip during the science fair and will not be at the judging interview. Can the Site Coordinator change the project to an individual submission for my school?

A.    LA County Science & Engineering Fair rules state that all members of a team be present for the interview process. Interview times may be adjusted for emergencies but all team members ultimately need to be interviewed. Site coordinators who remove a student from an ongoing team because a team member could not make the judging interview OR to fit into the maximum number of team students allowed (3) OR because their school has mistakenly submitted more than 3 team projects will have the project in question disqualified.

Q.    Do I need pre-approval on projects?

A.    Not ALL projects. If your project involves tissues/cells, human subjects, vertebrate animals, hazardous materials or microbes, you must receive pre-approval by the Science Fair Committee before beginning your project. If you are in 6-8th grade, you need to submit a completed Jr. Division Certification Form 601-068.  If you are in grades 9-12, you will need to complete the Sr. Division ISEF Certification Forms. Please see the “Research Rules & Regulations” page which has links and resources to all the forms and information you need. The Science Fair Bulletin distributed to schools will have the deadlines for submission of pre-approval forms. There are three dates: one in early June to accommodate students working in labs over the summer break, one in mid-September for students beginning research in the fall, and the third in November, for students beginning research over winter break. You must have pre-approval before you begin work on these kinds of projects. No exceptions.

Q.    I am going to be working with bacteria or mold that may be found on our school grounds or classrooms. Do I need pre-approval?

A.     YES!  For safety reasons, ALL projects involving research with microbes must be pre-approved by the Los Angeles County Science Review Committee (SRC) before experimentation is begun.  Microbes are defined as pathogenic (disease-causing) or potentially pathogenic agents including bacteria, viruses, viroids, prions, Rickettsia, fungi or parasites.  Check out the new webpage on Microbes Research including safety rules and regulations and disposal techniques.

Q.   My middle school project involves controlled explosions to set off a series of rockets.  If I have adult supervision, do I need still need pre-approval for my project?

A.    YES! Explosions are a Hazardous Activity and you will need to submit the Hazardous Materials, Devices and Activities form. The use of hazardous materials and devices and involvement in hazardous activities require direct supervision by a Designated Supervisor, except those involving DEA-controlled substances, which require supervision by a Qualified Scientist. Firearms and Explosives are Prohibited for middle and high school students per California Education Code, Section 48915., with the exception of a fully assembled rocket motor, reload kit or propellant modules.  Please see our new Hazardous Materials Research webpage for details and safety regulations.

Q.    I am getting live vertebrates from the pet store: can I take them back to the pet store when my project is finished?

A.    It depends on the policy of the pet store. Check with the store manager and get his/her answer in writing, signed and dated.  You will have to make sure that any animal you work with will be housed and cared for in a humane and safe manner.  Please see our new Vertebrate Animals Research webpage for detailed information and safety rules and regulations.

Q.    If my vertebrate animal project involves dead animal parts received from the supermarket, butcher shop or slaughter house, do I need to fill out Certification Form 601-068 or ISEF Certification Forms?

A.    No.

Q.    If I use my pet in a project, do I need to fill out Certification Form 601-068 (Junior Division only) or ISEF Certification Forms (Senior Division only) and who is the biomedical supervisor, etc? Can it be my parents?

A.    Yes. Certification Form 601-068 or ISEF Certification Forms are required when studying personal pets. Parents, in this case, can serve as the Biomedical Advisor. Please see our new Vertebrate Animals Research webpage for detailed information and safety rules and regulations.

Q.    What is included in the definition of “tissue”?

A.    Tissue is an aggregate of cells, usually of a particular kind, together with their intercellular substance that form one of the structural materials of an animal cell line. Projects involving epithelial, connective (including blood), muscular and nerve tissue all require completion of Certification Form 601-068. Plant tissues do not require completion of Certification Form 601-068.  Please see our new Tissue/Cell Lines Research webpage for detailed information and safety rules and regulations.

Q.    If a Human Subject project is conducted in the classroom, do I need to complete Certification Form 601-068 (Junior Division only) or ISEF Certification Forms (Senior Division only)?

A.    Yes.  All human subject projects need to be pre-approved using appropriate Certification Forms. Please see our new Human Subject Research webpage for detailed information and safety and confidentiality rules and regulations.

Q.    What if I want to continue my project from last year? What are the parameters and the guidelines?

A.    The same rules and regulations apply to students continuing research on an existing project. However, the student must show evidence of two-thirds additional and substantial data collection, analyses and conclusions derived from the research time extension. Multiple-year projects need to submit a Continuation Project (Multi-year) form.