Below you will find the details that explain the different age categories, project classifications, project divisions, etc. Please refer to the FAQ page for answers to other common questions.
- JUVENILE – Grades 5 and 6
- JUNIOR – Grades 7 and 8
- INTERMEDIATE – Grades 9 and 10
- SENIOR – Grades 11 and 12
An EXPERIMENT is a procedure designed to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact. Example: It is hypothesized that heat flows slower through lighter-density polystyrene than higher-density polystyrene so an experiment is designed to measure this and results are presented.
A STUDY takes existing data (for example, from books or research papers on a particular topic) and analyzes then presents it. Example: The insulation values of various materials used to save energy on heating is researched from various sources and presented. Analysis might include why values presented vary between sources quoted (for example, the density of the material in each source might have been different).
An INNOVATION applies a scientific principle or apparatus in a unique way to create a new device or method. Example: An innovation which applies known scientific principles (e.g. heat flow) to save energy in a way not previously employed. Perhaps formulating a new type of insulating foam which uses known principles such as incorporation of bubbles of gas with insulating properties.
The study of animals (vertebrates and invertebrates)
For example – animal development, animal ecology, animal genetics, animal pathology, animal physiology,
Behavioural & Social Sciences
The science or study of the thought processes and behaviour of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods
For example – clinical & developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, physiological psychology, sociology, anthropology,
The science of the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, especially of atomic and molecular systems
For example – analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, general biochemistry,
The study of information processes, the structures and procedures that represent processes and their implementation in information processing systems
For example – networking & communications, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, software engineering, programming languages,
Earth & Space Sciences
The study of science related to the Earth and anything in the universe beyond the Earth
For example – climatology, weather, geochemistry, geology, petrology, mineralogy, paleontology, geophysics, landforms, tectonics, astronomy, cosmology,
Engineering, Energy & Transportation
The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, processes, and systems. The study of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, clean transport and alternative fuels
For example – bioengineering, civil engineering, construction engineering, mechanical engineering, robotics, aerodynamics, alternative fuels, fossil fuel energy, vehicle development, renewable energy,
The study of pollution sources and their control, ecology and conservation
For example – air pollution, soil contamination, water pollution, bioremediation, ecosystems management, environmental engineering, land resource management, forestry, recycling, waste management,
The study of the measurement, properties and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols. The deductive study of numbers, geometry and various abstract constructs or structures
For example – algebra, analysis, applied mathematics, geometry, probability &statistics, algorithms,
Medicine & Health Sciences
The science of diagnosing, treating or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind
For example – dentistry, pathology, nutrition, protein & food chemistry, epidemiology, human genetics, immunology,
The study of microorganisms and antibiotic substances
For example – antibiotics, antimicrobials, bacteriology, microbial genetics, virology,
The science of matter and energy and the interactions between the two
For example – biological physics, instrumentation & electronics, electromagnetism, nuclear & particle physics, optics, lasers, theoretical physics,
The study of plant life
For example – agriculture, plant development, plant ecology, plant genetics, plant physiology, horticulture,
With the increasing availability of online resources, we recognize that the internet is a resource however we strive to uphold Academic Integrity at our regional fair. The following are examples of academic integrity violations that are grounds for disqualification:
- Plagiarism – presenting the work of others as your own, without acknowledging the source. Scientific work includes scientific results, conceptual development of a topic, or substantive formulation or reformulation of a problem. This includes work done by a family member or a mentor. Information on how to properly cite references can be found on the Youth Science Canada website (youthsciencecanada.ca in Policy 126.96.36.199 CWSF Project Report).
- Fabricating or falsifying data.
- Forging signature(s)
- Fabricating or falsifying registration information.
- Entering a project which is derived from a previous NRSEF or CWSF project (continuation or revision of a project undertaken in a preceding year by the student or by another) without documenting the previous work.
Human Participation Projects
- Human subject projects are divided into two categories: low risk, and high risk. A Low Risk Project involves conditions where the risks of harm to the subject are not greater or more likely than those encountered in everyday life. All other projects involving human subjects are to be treated as Significant Risk Projects.
- Examples of low risk projects include behavioural studies and surveys, and certain food and drink projects that only assess characteristics and effects of a common food.
- Examples of high risk projects include those involving any exercise testing, invasive procedures, and ingestion projects involving foods that contain additives exceeding the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) normally associated with those foods, or foods not considered to be common, everyday foods.
- If you have any questions about which category your human subject project falls under, please email the Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Chair.
Successful Science Fair Projects
Listed here are the descriptions of the four levels of complexity for the three categories of projects. Students aiming for maximum competitive success in the regional fair should aim to devise projects at the fourth level of complexity. So in other words if you would like to be successful at the fair, be creative and aim for a level 4 project!! In addition, make sure to follow all the rules and regulations, and you’re sure to do well at the Fair! For more information, see the “Rules and Regulations” page.
- LEVEL 1 – Duplicate a known experiment to confirm a hypothesis which is totally predictable.
- LEVEL 2 – Extend a known experiment through modification of hypothesis, procedures, data gathering, application, research so that hypothesis is somewhat predictable.
- LEVEL 3 – Devise and carry out an original experiment with controls. Variables are identified. Some significant variables are controlled. Hypothesis is less predictable. Data analysis includes graphic representation with simple statistics.
- LEVEL 4 – Devise and carry out an original experimental research which attempts to control most significant variables. Hypothesis is not predictable. Data analysis includes statistical analysis.
- LEVEL 1 – Study of existing printed material relating to the basic issue.
- LEVEL 2 – Study of material collected through compilation of existing data and through personal observations. Display attempts to address a specific issue.
- LEVEL 3 – Study based on observations and literary research illustrating various options for dealing with a relevant issue. Appropriate arithmetic, graphical or statistical analysis in relation to some significant variable(s).
- LEVEL 4 – Study correlating information from a variety of significant sources which may illustrate cause and effect or original solutions to current problems through synthesis. Significant variable(s) identified with in-depth statistical analysis of data.
- LEVEL 1 – Build a model (device) to duplicate existing technology.
- LEVEL 2 – Make improvements to, or demonstrate new applications for, existing technological systems or equipment and be able to justify them.
- LEVEL 3 – Design and build innovative technology or provide adaptations to existing technology that will have economical applications and/or human benefit.
- LEVEL 4 – Integrate several technologies, inventions or design and construct an innovative technological system that will have commercial application and/or human benefit.
Project Display And Safety Rules & Regulations
Certain basic restrictions must be followed to ensure the safety of all science fair participants, judges and visitors. Failure to follow the following regulations will result in disqualification of projects and participants during the screening of applications and during the set up registration evening. If in doubt about the safety features of a project, students are advised to contact the Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org well in advance of the fair. Photographs of materials and procedures can be used effectively to represent the steps and materials used in any scientific experiment or study. Photographs can be displayed on the project backboard or in a photo journal.
For more information please see the Project Display And Safety Rules & Regulations page.
An important aspect to your application is your project abstract. The purpose of an abstract is to describe the entire project in one or two short paragraphs. Abstracts are required for all projects and the ability to condense information is a lifelong skill which can be applied to many situations. A very handy guide to writing abstracts can be found here Writing an Abstract.
For more information, please visit the Project Screening page.
Use of Software & Code
All software and code that the student claims was written by themselves must be their own work and the source code must be made available to the judges.