Those of us committed to young people’s explorations in science, technology, engineering and math can find wonderful resources in our region and across the nation.

Key Links for Ying TRSEF & Intel ISEF

Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair
Locate Regional Fairs; ISEF Science Project Primer.

Science Buddies
The most complete resource for science fair projects, from choosing your topic to handling safety issues to making the poster. You can even watch videos by scientists and engineers about their careers, or submit questions to “Ask the Expert” forums!

Science Fair Central
The footer has great inspiration videos with ideas you can make your own!


Society Of Automotive Engineers; “A World in Motion”
The Ying TRSEF’s director has used SAE materials with museum programs, homeschoolers, families … and it is always a joy!

Car and Vehicle Science Experiments LINK
While not endorsing ANY of the links in the footer, the list suggests fun challenges for rising scientists!

Other Assets

A Piece of the Puzzle
This video helps explain science fairs to students thinking about a project, administrators needing to understand why staff time should go to this effort, PTO/PTA groups so they can get excited about sponsoring a school fair, the local IEEE chapter so they can come on board as judges, and the CEO of a local company so s/he can write a check and fund your fair or provide some awards. Created by New York City producer Patrick Finlon, A Piece of the Puzzle is available to every teacher and fair committee member inspiring our young people to become scientists and engineers.

This report from the 2012 “Design-Make-Play: Growing the Next Generation of Science Innovators” conference at New York Hall of Science encourages those of us advocating for precollegiate STEM to keep slogging. What a great approach to gathering inspiring partners in the effort!

University of Nebraska at Lincoln encourages youth to explore STEM careers. A predecessor organization – the old Mankato CyberFair – included this clear presentation of “Five Key Ways to Develop One’s Own Research Topic”:

  1. Look at lists of science categories and pick one that interests you. Then narrow that down to a project, e.g., if you pick psychology, narrow it to the differences between boys and girls, then to a topic like “Do boys remember boy-type pictures (footballs) better than girl-type pictures (flowers)?”
  2. Use your experiences. Remember a time you noticed something and thought “I wonder how that works?” or “I wonder what would happen if…” Then turn that into a project.
  3. Check the school library’s science section. Browse and look at book titles, then look inside ones that look interesting to you. Thumb through encyclopedias and magazines. Good magazines for ideas are: National Geographic, Discover, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Mother Earth News, Prevention,and Garbage.
  4. Think about current events. Look at the newspaper. People are hungry in Africa because of droughts (growing plants without much rain; which types grow with little water). Or the ozone hole over Antarctica (non-aerosol ways to spray things). Or oil spills (how to clean oil out of water).
  5. Watch commercials on TV. Test their claims. Does that antiperspirant really stop wetness better than other ones? What are the real differences between Barbie and imitation Barbie dolls? Can kids tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi if they don’t know which they are drinking?

www.Virtual Library: Science Fairs
You will find links from this service to just about every precollegiate science research fair and competition described on the Web. Links are not frequently updated, but this still shows you the breadth of the movement to bring the opportunity to delve into the joys of science, engineering and math to youngsters before they start college.

Polymer Search
Rubber, Plastic and More – Top Science Project Ideas fits perfectly with the materials science, bioprocess engineering, and chemical engineering emphasis of much professional research.

More about precollegiate science and engineering research

As you heard on A Piece of the Puzzle, musicians know that musical talent is discovered and fostered best in elementary school, so that by high school youngsters already see themselves as musicians. How then can we expect the gifted scientists and engineers of the next generation to discover their talents and the joy of finding their calling if their minds and passions are denied research experience until college?

Want to know more about precollegiate science research?

  1. Review these resources and the many others on the web.
  2. Contact your regional science fair director about connecting with them.
  3. Explore competitions through the ISEF affiliates and through options such as eCyberMission, FIRST Legos and Robotics competitions, Junior Science and Humanities Symposia, Math Counts, NAQT Quiz Bowl, Rube Goldberg Contest, Science Olympiad, Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision, and the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
  4. For academic options, check out ESF in the High School, National Engineers Week Future City, Project Lead the Way, SAE’s A World in Motion program, and Science Research in the High School.
  5. Depending upon the county and the topic, high school students can actually undertake one committed research experience and earn academic credits through their Science Research in the High School course, defend their work at the regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, compete at their local and county science fairs plus an affiliate of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the GENIUS Olympiad, the International BioGENEius Challenge, and the STANYS Science Congress, and in their senior year submit their work to the Regeneron Science Talent Search! How’s that for synergy?
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