sciencepalooza! FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and Information
Learn more about how you can join the fun at sciencepalooza! – the annual science fair of the East Side Union High School District. Below you will find FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about the fair as well as information you need to know regarding important fair deadlines. We look forward to seeing you there!
- What’s sciencepalooza? sciencepalooza! is for all East Side students, whether you’re a first-time science fair participant, a returning participant, and/or someone who wants to get a head start on a project you plan to enter in the regional science fair a few weeks later. You arrive at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds by 8:30 am, pick up your special edition glow-in-the-dark sciencepalooza! t-shirt, and locate your science project poster board. Judging is from 9:00 am – 11:00 am and the Awards Ceremony starts at 11:30 am and ends at 12:15 pm.
- Who attends? Usually between 700 and 900 East Side students from all grade levels. Oak Grove was the big winner during the mid-2000s, but now Evergreen Valley and Silver Creek are vying for dominance. James Lick has been well represented recently, Santa Teresa has been there every year since the beginning, and Andrew Hill also had interesting projects that went on to the Championship. Mt. Pleasant, Piedmont Hills, and Overfelt need to represent in the 21st sciencepalooza!
- Why should I participate in sciencepalooza!? A science project is among the most authentic “real world” work you can do as a high school student. In a work environment you’ll be given projects that require you to create solutions, meet deadlines, and explain your product. About one third of last year’s sciencepalooza! participants said that discussing their projects with the judges was their favorite part of the process. You’ll get to see the work your friends and students from other schools have done. Only 2% of high school students compete in a science fair; it’s a great addition to a college application.
What is the process for entering the fair?
All project ideas have to be approved before work begins. You’ll need to do some background research to get an idea and some pointers for designing your project. Then you’ll go to the sciencepalooza! Entry Form to complete an application. Mrs. Heidi Strahm Black, the district science fair coordinator, reviews each application for science value, safety, and ethics. If everything is complete you’ll receive an email that says “Approved.” If your project is incomplete or not of high-school caliber, it will be returned to you with suggestions for improvement.
Once your idea is approved, you’ll begin the project:
- A science project poster board will be provided to you free of charge and will be delivered to your school.
- Your completed poster board will be picked up from your school a few days before sciencepalooza! and delivered to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.
- You’ll arrive at the fairgrounds on the morning of sciencepalooza!, pick up your t-shirt, and discuss your project with 2 judges.
- The Awards Ceremony begins at noon. First-place winners are awarded medals. Then you’re done!
- What are the prizes? First-place Katherine Johnson Award winners receive a medal and a $50 gift certificate;
honorable-mention Rachel Carson Award winners receive a $25 gift certificate
- What are my chances of winning? Ten to twelve projects in the same grade level and category are grouped together. From that group we choose one first prize and two honorable mentions. There’s a 1-in-4 chance you’ll be a winner!
- Do I have to work alone? You may work alone, but we also accept groups of up to three. And group winners don’t have to split their prize: if there are three of you in a group, you EACH receive a gift certificate.
- What are the key deadlines for sciencepalooza!? Entry application due: 5:00 pm on Monday, January 13, 2020.
Project completed and ready for pick up at your school: 5:00 pm on Wednesday, January 29th for 19-20 school year.
If you miss these deadlines, you can’t participate in sciencepalooza!
- I’m interested in robotics. What if I’d rather do an engineering project? We have categories for experiments and investigations. Engineering, ecological studies, and computer projects are examples of the work that ends up in the investigation category. If you have a goal rather than a hypothesis, then your project probably belongs in the investigation category.See this excellent guide to doing an engineering project
- What is the Synopsys Championship? It’s the Santa Clara County science fair for all 6th – 12th grade students and is held a few weeks after sciencepalooza! Many East Side students choose to compete in this fair, too. Many have gone on to compete in the California State Science Fair. Three have even won first place and three others have won college scholarships at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair!
- What if I want to participate in the Synopsys Championship too? We want you to go on! There are separate applications and deadlines for the Championship. You can get information at www.science-fair.org.
- What types of projects are allowed? Experiments, engineering, and other scientific investigations are permitted. Work must be “hands-on”, no reports. Product testing, “what’s the best…”, is not allowed, as experiments are more than just measurements-see the rest of these pages for an example project. We also do not have appropriate personnel to approve behavioral studies. Since the SCVSEFA has a doctor and psychiatrist on the board, any student wishing to enter a behavioral science project must apply and get approved through the Synopsys Championship, then the project can be submitted to sciencepalooza!
February 1st, 2020
8:30am: Participants arrive
9:00 – 11:00am: Judging
11:30am – 12:15pm: Awards Ceremony
Santa Clara Fairgrounds
344 Tully Rd, San Jose, CA 95111