Science Fair Project Guidelines

View guidelines for your Science Fair Project

The following pages of instructions and forms/rubrics have been placed in the order in which you will complete the project.  We strongly encourage you to read through the entire document so you are aware of the sequence of assignments, and then revisit the appropriate pages as you complete each individual assignment.

For a .pdf version of all checklists and forms required for your project, see your science teacher.   Printed checklists and forms from your science teacher will be required.

Introduction and General Guidelines

As part of the Honors science curriculum, you will be completing an Independent Research Project (IRP), or science fair project.  Honors students will complete a science fair project according to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) standards.  The ISEF is the largest science fair competition for high school students in the world!  While all students must participate in the classroom fair, only students who perform well-designed, well-researched, and thoughtfully-analyzed projects will move on to the next level of competition, the Langley High School Science Fair.  Students who place at the school fair are eligible to compete in the regional fair, and subsequently may progress to the state and international fairs.  Prizes and scholarships are awarded to the winning projects at the regional fair and beyond! More information at ISEF.

In order to do well on this project, you must be organized, manage your time wisely and work hard!   In the sections that follow, you will find general guidelines and information on all of the assignments leading up to, and including, the classroom presentation.  Read all of this information carefully!  Review it frequently throughout the course of the project.

General Guidelines

  • This project will showcase your ability to design a controlled experiment or apply engineering principles, draw conclusions based on data and research, and present the significance of your results to your peers and adults.
  • All of your work will be done autonomously (on your own and outside of class)!
  • You may work in teams of two (2) with another Langley student in the same grade.  Teams must remain together for all levels of competition.  Teams cannot be split apart to compete as individuals, and new members cannot be substituted once teams are formed. 
  • You are encouraged to seek outside mentors and labs, if necessary, for projects that require specialized knowledge or equipment (see Project Restrictions section below).
  • You will be assigned a sponsor, who may or may not be your own classroom teacher.  Your sponsor will review your proposal and other documents, and will serve as a resource for you to use throughout your project.  However, your sponsor is not responsible for providing you with a project topic.
  • As you receive feedback and grades on each portion of your project, the graded work will be kept in a folder in the classroom, but you should make copies to keep at home.

Science Fair Project Proposals & Logistics

  • You will enjoy your science fair experience more when you select a topic of interest.  Think carefully about what type of project you would like to do.
  • Your project topic does not have to be related to the class you are currently taking (e.g. Honors Chemistry students can do research in physics).
  • Your experimental or engineering design must allow you to collect QUANTITATIVE data.

Research Plans

  • Spend time at the beginning of the year developing your idea.  Thorough background research using legitimate sources will make it easier for you to develop your project idea, and make it more likely that your Research Plans will be approved in a timely fashion.
  • You will receive feedback on your Research Plans, and you may be asked to revise them several times before they are approved.  This can lead to difficulty meeting subsequent deadlines, and your experimentation will likely be delayed.
  • Your research plan must be approved before you begin your project!

Science Fair Project Deadlines

Timeline & Grading

  • Throughout the first semester, you will be researching your topic, conducting your experiment, analyzing your data, and developing your poster and presentation.
  • Your independent research project will include assignment deadlines throughout the first semester that will be included in your overall science fair grade.  Assignment deadlines are provided on the next page of this packet; deadlines may be subject to change based on changes in the school schedule.
  • Students who fall behind schedule will have difficulty meeting future deadlines, and may be penalized for late assignments.  Get yourself organized to avoid these penalties.
  • Ater the winter break you will present your project and poster to your class.
  • You will receive one overall grade for the science fair that includes:  ISEF Forms, Abstract, poster and presentation.  This score will count for 10% of your overall grade for the year!

Project Restrictions

  • Students in grades 10-12 may conduct experiments involving the sensitive topics below after receiving proper approval.  
    • Vertebrate animals or tissues
    • Humans (except some engineering projects; speak to your classroom teacher or sponsor)
    • Recombinant DNA
    • Controlled substances
    • Hazardous chemicals, devices or activities
    • Microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, molds)
  • NOTICE:  Special projects must be conducted outside of Langley at qualified research/industrial institutions, and/or under the supervision of a qualified scientists.  Students must make arrangements with qualified labs and scientists to complete these projects, and still are expected to meet all deadlines.  No exceptions!

ISEF Rules and Guidelines

  • We strongly encourage you to review the ISEF rules prior to starting your project.  You can find those rules on the websites listed below.  Some of the information may not be relevant to you or your project, so focus on the sections that do apply to you.