Rules and Guidelines Virtual Science Fair - Rules and Guidelines

As with the Help page I am gradually adding more current information to the top of this page. For the most part the older rules and guidelines remain valid.
Tutorial Review of Rules Part 1 2014
Tutorial Review of Rules Part 2 2014
Tutorial Review of Rules Part 3 2014
Tutorial Review of Rules Part 4 2014
Tutorial Review of Do's and Don'ts Part 1 2014

Please review material below before you have done too much work on your project.

 NOTE- The top page of the website must be named index.html

   Some older Tutorials etc.state this file should be named index.htm (note .htm). Ignore. Use index.html

All teachers with more than one project must complete some prejudging of their students' projects.

As much as possible, content (including images, animations, photographs, drawings etc.) should be created by the students. In cases where this is not possible, the sources of the content must be properly cited.

Students are strongly encouraged to include a video clip describing their project.

• 100% of the project must be hosted on the VSF server. Live links to external sites are not allowed. For example, you video files must be located on the VSF server NOT on YouTube.

• No! No! No! Your website cannot be built using Google Sites, Weebly or similar sites.

• Experimental Project teams should review the essential format for an experiment.
Outline of the Essential Components of an Experimental Project. (More details may be provided later, but you should follow this outline.)

Checklists >>>   Website Component    Science Content Component  


 Filenames must contain only letters, the underscore, and numbers.
•  No spaces are allowed.
•  French accents and other symbols are not allowed in filenames.
• The new VSF project server is not case sensitive .  But it would still be wise to act as though it was case sensitive and restrict filenames to lower case letters, numerals and the underscore.
 • Projects are due April 30, 2014 . After April 30, 2014 the accounts will be locked and no further changes to the projects will be possible.
 • All entries must be authorized by a Teacher and accompanied by a Teacher Registration Number.
 • All projects must be original student work.
 • All projects must be hosted on the VSF web server.
 • All content must be appropriate for a public school.
 • The decisions of the judges are final.
 • The winning projects will be retained on the VSF server for future viewing
.• Contents of submitted projects may be used for instructional purposes by the VSF.
 • Each student is allowed on only one project team.
 • Each project must conform to the rules of the student's school.
 • Students may enter projects used in prior years if it contains significant (>70%) new content.
 • Each project must contain a brief (<400 characters ) summary of the project as part of the abstract.
 • The (Flash/Director/Java) source files must be available for the judges upon request.
 • A Project Information page must be included. See below...

Team Sizes
Students will enter as members of one of the following sizes of team:

• 1 student
• 2 students
• 3 to 6 students
• greater than 6 students

Project Grade Divisions
Students will enter in one of the four grade divisions:

 • K - 3
 • 4 - 6
 • 7 - 9
 •10 - 12
The highest grade represented on a team will be the grade for the entire team.

Project Subject Areas:

• Physics/Astronomy/Mathematics
• Biology
• Chemistry
• Earth/Energy/Environmental Sciences
• Engineering/Computer Science
• Health/Sport Sciences

Project Types
All grade levels may enter projects described as Descriptive or Experimental:

• Descriptive
• Experimental

Web Page Specifications (See Checklist Also)

The top page must be named index.html

• The project should display correctly on monitors set to 1024x768 (or less) resolution.

The project should display correctly in the most recent stable versions of Internet Explorer and FireFox.

The project must not contain links to external sites. Only links to other parts of the project are allowed AND links to existing VSF projects on the VSF server. (The URL's for these links will begin

• The web pages should be reasonably fast loading.

• The navigation system should be easy to use.

• The font, text color, and background color should be selected to provide text that is easy to read.

• Filenames must contain only letters, the underscore, and numbers. No spaces are allowed. French accents and other symbols are not allowed in filenames.

• The video clips should be less than 5MB in order to load quickly and conserve server space. They should be compressed rm, wmv or mov type video files.If you wish to use much larger files please contact

• Please upload only the files needed.

• Image files should be gif or jpg.

• Image files should be modified using image editing software to reduce the file size. Images should not be larger than 100 KB.

• Use the image properties tool of FireFox to check the filesize of the images on your website.

VSF Project Checklist - Website Component

NOTE: The following list was derived from judges' comments and suggestions with respect to past projects. Your website does not necessarily need to conform completely to the checklist. The checklist is a guide to indicate the components and properties of a website that are considered by the judges when making an evaluation. The website component accounts for approximately 50% of the project score.

Project Information Page (Also Required for Flash or Video Only Projects)

The top page of the project should contain or have a clear link “Project Info” to a page containing the following information

Grade Category (K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12)
Team Size (1, 2, 3 to 6, greater than 6)
Subject Area (Physics/Astronomy/Mathematics, Chemistry., Earth/Energy/Environmental Sciences, Engineering/Computer Science, Health/Sport Science.
Project Type (Descriptive, Experimental)
Language (English, French, French and English, First Nations)
A Summary of your project
A description of the Software Tools used.(Webpage Software, Video Software)
A mention of the Hardware Tools used (Scanner, Video Camera)
A mention of the Source of the Idea for the project
A description of the Special Skills you used to build your project (JavaScript)
A listing of any Awards won for the project
Please include a link to any past VSF project associated with anyone on your team.


User-Friendly Format Tips

Special Effects

Distracting special effects such as trailing balls on the cursor should not be used.

Non-standard cursors should be avoided. They hinder naviagtion.

Navigation is clear and intuitive.
The index page provides a menu of links to all parts of the site.
Navigation links are at the top or left side of the page.
Each page contains a link to the index page.
Links clearly indicate the content of the target page.
Long pages utilize named anchor links to jump down and back to the top.
Pages have a title that accurately indicates the content of the page.

Display Width
The page displays its complete width within a 1024x768 (or less) pixel display screen.
Left to right scrolling is not required to view the page.

Splash Page
Any Flash splash page has a clearly visible “skip” button.

Font, Backgrounds, and Colours
A common font such as Times New Roman or Arial is used.
Script fonts are not to be used.
Strongly patterned backgrounds are not used beneath text.
Text size, colour, and font enhance readability rather than hinder readability.

Download Time
The webpage downloads reasonably quickly.
Multimedia files have their size(Mb) included in their label.


Thumbnails are used for large images.

All links work.

Accurate, meaningful ALT and TITLE tags are used with all images.
Images are accompanied by a complete text description of the image.
Text in an image should have the same text in the ALT tag or elsewhere on the page.

All non-original components have their source acknowledged,

The site is attractive and engaging.
The site motivates a visitor to return.
The site has a consistent design and format.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.
The site provides for some interactivity.
Text is broken into small units.
The site contains plenty of “white” space.
The site is interesting.

Video Movie
Video files are small due to lower time length, linear dimensions and/or quality level.
Visitors have a choice of video formats and file sizes.
The video contains material that indicates student authorship of the video.

Flash Movie
The linear dimensions are reasonably small.
The movie has a “skip” or “escape” button.
The Flash movie contains material that indicates student authorship of the movie.

VSF Project Checklist - Science Content Component
NOTE: The following is not a definitive listing of criteria used in evaluation of the science content component of the project. But, it does provide some essential items to be included in a project. As well, it describes the characteristics of Experimental and Descriptive Projects. The science content component accounts for approximately 50% of the project score.

Experimental Project
Note: An experimental project involves the measurement of variables and the analysis of these measurements to test a hypothesis.

The experimental design demonstrates understanding of scientific methods.
The hypothesis is clearly stated.
There is evidence that research has been done on the subject.
The use of variables and control of variables is understood.
The values of relevant variables are accurately recorded.
The procedures are clearly described and address the hypothesis.
The sample size and number of trials is sufficient
The data is presented in a meaningful format including tables and graphs.
The data is correctly analyzed.
The conclusion and summary comments follow from the data and the hypothesis.
There is mention of possible sources of error.
The project has a high degree of difficulty with respect ot the age of the student(s).


Descriptive Project
Note: All projects that are not quantitative experimental projects fall in this category. The Descriptive category includes a variety of project types.

Descriptive Project Type I Scientific Research (A Study)
This type is similar to an experimental project. There is a significant gathering and analysis of data. A difference being that the data has been gathered through a study of existing research rather than the result of performing an experiment.

The problem/question to be studied is clearly identified.
There is evidence of extensive research.
Research sources are provided.
Data has been collected to solve the problem or answer the question.
The data is organized and presented in an effective format.
The data is correctly analyzed.
A conclusion logically based on the data is presented to answer the question.
The project has a high degree of difficulty with respect ot the age of the student(s).

Descriptive Project Type II Report on a Scientific Concept (A Demonstration/Report)
This project will demonstrate an understanding of a scientific principle. Besides the science being correct, an emphasis is on it being interesting and engaging.

The concept to be reported on is clearly identified.
There is evidence of research.
Research sources are identified.
The concept is illustrated and described in several formats.
Use is made of visual and interactive media.
There is a degree of interactively.
The project has a high value as a general learning resource.
The project has a high degree of difficulty with respect ot the age of the student(s).

Descriptive Project Type III Engineering Project (Model Construction)
This project results in the building an innovative physical or abstract model to solve a problem or provide a useful application.

The problem to be solved is clearly stated.
There is evidence of research on the problem.
A project design has been prepared.
The project is constructed.
A record of construction steps is maintained.
Testing is done and measurements taken if appropriate.
A conclusion and summary of the project is provided.
The project has a high degree of difficulty with respect ot the age of the student(s).


Other Important Considerations

Photos, audio, video and other materials provide evidence of the student’s original work.
All non-original material is cited. (Source of material provided)



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