Teachers and Sponsors

Thank you for sponsoring student entries to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo. This fair is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and requires that all entries follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the Intel ISEF. You should take the time to look over the most recent version of the ISEF regulations.

An adult sponsor may be a teacher, parent, professor and/or other professional scientist in whose lab the student is working. This individual must have a solid background in science and should have close contact with the student during the course of the project. The adult sponsor is responsible for working with the student to evaluate any possible risks involved ensuring the health and safety of the student conducting the research and the humans and/or animals involved in the study. The adult sponsor must review the student's Student Checklist (1A) and Research Plan to certify that:

  1. Experimentation is within local, state and federal laws and Intel ISEF rules
  2. Forms are completed by all required adults
  3. The sponsor complies with the qualified scientist criteria

The adult sponsor must be familiar with the regulations that govern potentially dangerous research, as they apply to be specific student project. These regulations may include chemical and equipment usage, experimental techniques, research involving human and/or vertebrate animals, and cell cultures, microorganisms, or animal tissues. Some experiments may involve procedures or materials that are regulated by state, federal or non-U.S. national laws. If not thoroughly familiar with the regulations, the adult sponsor must help the student enlist the aid of a qualified scientist. The adult sponsor is responsible for ensuring the student's research is eligible for entry in the Intel ISEF.

Instructions for Sponsors

The following is a suggested plan of action for sponsoring your student:

  1. Getting Started: Have your student(s) read the ISEF Student Handbook. This will help them choose their topic and let both of you know what to expect as you begin the project
  2. Picking a Topic: The student handbook recommends a limited subject for the experiment. This allows the student to acquire as much knowledge as possible on the subject, and become an expert in their chosen area
  3. Research Plan: Help your student determine exactly what the experiment will be, and how the experiment will be conducted. At this time, the student should write out a detailed research plan to follow
  4. Determine whether your project requires special protocol forms and/or prior approval.
    All Projects require:
    • Form 1: Checklist for Adult Sponsor/Safety Assessment Form
    • Form 1A: Student Checklist/Research Plan Instruction
    • Form 1B: Approval Form
    • Form 3: the Risk Assessment Form is highly recommended for all projects, though not all projects require it. This form makes your student aware of any problems or dangers this project may cause.

Depending on the nature of the student's chosen project, other forms may be required. If the project involves any of the items listed below, the corresponding form must be completed, and the project will require prior approval from the Scientific Review Board or Institutional Review Board prior to any data collection/experimentation:

    • Form 2: Qualified Scientist Form: This may be required for projects involving human participants, vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents, or DEA-controlled substances. This form is necessary if:
      • The sponsor does not have the appropriate background to provide suitable supervision.
      • Another protocol form requires the review of a qualified scientist (such as Form 6A).
    • Form 4: Human Participants Form is required for any project that involves a human subject or subjects. Even if you're just conducting a survey, this form must be completed, and the project requires prior approval before any data is collected. In addition, the human subjects (or their guardians) must sign a consent form notifying them of the risks involved with the experiment. You may have your student fill out the Sample Human Informed Consent Form provided by ISEF, or work with your student to create a separate form. The form must also be approved by the review committee
    • Forms 5A and 5B: One of these two forms must be completed if the experiment involves Vertebrate Animals (household pets are included here); 5A should be used if the experiment will be conducted at home, at school or in the field (this is the more common occurrence). 5B should be completed if the experiment will be conducted at a regulated research institution. If using Form 5A, the project must be approved by the Scientific Review Committee. If 5B is needed, then approval must also be obtained by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the regulated research institution used for experimentation
    • Form 6A: The Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Risk Assessment Form is required for research involving microorganisms, rDNA, fresh/frozen tissue (including primary cell lines, human and other primate established cell lines and tissue cultures), blood, blood products, and body fluids. This form also requires Form 2 because a qualified scientist is needed. It also requires the experiment be conducted in a regulated research facility. Since projects concerning these materials are considered potentially hazardous, the project must be approved by an institutional biohazard committee and an IACUC (from the research facility the student will be working from), as well as the fair's scientific review committee
    • Form 6B: The Human and Animal Tissue Form is to be completed when the student will be using tissue (including primary cell lines, human and other primate established cell lines and tissue cultures), blood, blood products and body fluids from a human or vertebrate animal. Because of the risks associated with the materials used in these types of experiments, a qualified scientist in this field of study will be required to sign off on the project, including a finished Form 2.

If the project requires approval from a Scientific Review Committee or Institutional Review Board, the research plan and protocol forms must be submitted before experimentation can begin. All of the protocol forms are on the ISEF Forms Page. When you obtain the necessary signatures and send them to the review board.

These forms may seem like a hassle, but remember – these rules exist to make sure everyone conducts their experiments safely! The Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo has a review committee to look over projects that require prior approval. Please see the Important Dates for protocol review deadlines.

  1. Experiment!
    Once approval has been obtained, your student can begin their experiment! Make sure your student follows the procedures that were approved, and encourage them to keep a detailed book of their findings as they collect their data. **If the research was conducted in a regulated research facility, the student must have the supervising adult complete Form 1C: the Regulated Research Institutional or Industrial Setting Form after experimentation.
  2. Write an Abstract
    The student may use the Abstract Form, but it is not required. Remember that the Student Handbook states an Abstract should not be more than 250 words. The abstract should include the purpose of the experiment, the procedures used, data and conclusions, and any possible real-world applications of the student's findings.
    If this project is a continuation of a previous project, or if the subject matter is similar, the student must complete Form 7: The Continuation Project Form. Form 7, requires that the abstract and research plan from the previous project are also submitted.
  3. Make copies of all your paperwork
    The research plan, abstract and protocol forms are important documents required to be displayed in your student's exhibits on fair day.
  4. Enter in the science fair
    Ensure your student fills out the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo Entry Form completely. Every part of it is important. Take extra care when choosing the category. Most projects can be justified as applicable in several different categories, but it is imperative that only one is chosen. The category the project is entered is also where it is judged. Team projects, junior division only, will be judged with individual projects in their respective categories. Send the entry form, all the protocol forms, research plan and abstract to the science fair via mail, email, or FAX. Don't forget to include the entry fee!

    Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo
    ENMU Station 18
    1500 S Ave K
    Portales, NM 88130
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    FAX: 575.562.4091
  1. Creating the Display
    Remember, the project is about the science, not about the show. ISEF has strict guidelines about what can and can't be shown during judging. See the ISEF Display and Safety Regulations for rules. If the display does not meet requirements, prohibited materials will be removed from display and returned at the close of the fair.