Science Fair Information


For more information on “testable questions”:

Another good resource is to check with the Vine Hill Library and the Santa Cruz Public Library in Scotts Valley:.

More information on the Santa Cruz County Science Fair.

Science Buddies is a Web site that allows you to ask scientists about your project.  You can explain what you are trying to do and get ideas about how to run the experiment and possible pitfalls to avoid.


Step One - Science & Engineering projects: Get a notebook from the school office (or use your own). This is where you are going to record all your notes and data for your project. It’s like keeping a diary of your work. The judges will be looking at all your information in this notebook.

Invention Convention projects: Meet with your teacher at one of the Free Science Fair Help sessions. Review the “Requirements and Restrictions” (see below “Helpful PDFs”). Keep and fill out an Invention Log. The judges will be looking at all your information from this Invention Log.

Step Two: Ask a question. Is there something that you are interested in learning about? Do research from books and the Internet for science fair project ideas.

Step Three: Conduct your experiment. There are three possible types:

  • Learn and Explain (not judged)

  • Scientific Experiment

  • Invention Convention

(See below for descriptions of each format.)

Step Four: Communicate your results. Get a display board from the school office to make your presentation.

Step Five: Bring your completed board and notebook to school office on the due date prior to the Science and Engineering Fair.

Step Six: Attend the Science & Engineering Fair and enjoy the experience!


Everyone is invited to participate!

Vine Hill Science and Engineering Fair

Day - January 18, 2020

Open to the public 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Scotts Valley High School Student Union

Important Dates 2019/2020 - TBD

  • November 20, 2019 6pm - 7pm - Science Fair Parent Workshop

  • November 21-22nd - Entry forms, notebooks and display boards will be available at the school office

  • December 4th  12:30 - 1:30pm - Free Science Fair Help – we will help you choose a project or if you are doing an invention, we will review your invention log - in the Computer Lab

  • December 9th - 13th - Free Science Fair Help, during lunch recess in the library

  • December 20th -  Entry forms due in the office

  • January 10th - Project boards and notebooks due in the office

  • January 18th -  Vine Hill Science Fair at SVHS

    • Closed judging, 11am - noon

    • Student interviews, noon – 1pm

    • Open to the public, 1-3 pm

  • March 14th -  Santa Cruz County Science Fair

  • April 11th -  California Invention Convention in San Jose



  • Learn and Explain

  • Scientific Experiment

  • Inventions

Learn and Explain

In this format, the judges look at the student project, but it is not “judged” - meaning, the student does not participate in the interview and is not eligible to go on to the county science fair. “Learn and Explain” is perfect for the student who wants to do an experiment for fun and does not want the pressure of being judged. Also, there is no required hypothesis to challenge. It is just how it sounds - the student learns something and then explains it!

Required elements for Learn and Explain:

  • Background:  Do some research and provide information about the scientific concept you are exploring.

  • Procedure:  List materials and describe how you explored your idea.  This could be a model, a survey, artwork, or other ways of presenting your concept.

  • Observations:  Describe what happened when you tested your concept or built your model.

  • Conclusion: Describe what you learned from this project and how it could be used in real life.  Discuss any problems you encountered and how you overcame them.

Scientific Experiment

Projects that are entered as a “Scientific Experiment” have the option of being judged or not.  The top 10 of the judged projects will represent Vine Hill at the Santa Cruz County Science Fair.

Required elements for Scientific Experiment:

  • Introduction

    • Purpose:  Explain what you are trying to prove or why you are doing the experiment. Include what you know or discuss something you learned about the topic by doing some background research.

    • Investigative Question: What do you want to know? Make sure that you have a testable question - a question that can be answered by measurable data.

    • Hypothesis:  Explain what you think will happen in the experiment and why, based on previous knowledge or observations.  This is best phrased as: If ________, then ________ will happen because ________. (If I do this, then this result will happen because I know this information about it.)

  • Procedure

    • Materials: Make a list (with exact amounts if possible).

    • Method:  Explain how the experiment is set up, and the steps you took to perform the experiment. Another student should be able to do this experiment from your clearly written description.

  • Data:  Describe or show observations and display actual measurements in graphs, tables, photos, etc. The judges are interested in your data organized neatly in a graph.

  • Results: Summarize your test results and explain how the results pertain to the objectives or purpose.

  • Conclusion:  Discuss how the results support (or don’t support) your hypothesis. Discuss possibilities for errors, how the experiment could be improved, what you learned, future possible steps, and real life applications.

  • Bibliography: List all websites, books, or other sources that you used to do this experiment.

Important: If students wish to take part in the judging, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Have all the required elements for the Scientific Experiment format using the scientific method

  • Maintain a lab notebook that contains everything from initial ideas to experiment notes to conclusions.

  • There must be no more than 3 participants for the project.

  • Project participants should try to attend the Santa Cruz County Science Fair in March.


Projects that are entered as an “Invention” have the option of being judged or not. If you want to be judged, there are two ways:

  1. Entered as an Engineering project. You must follow the steps for the Scientific Experiment. You will test the effectiveness of the product you built and show the measurable data for your test.



  2. Entered as an Invention Convention project. Vine Hill will send completed Invention projects to the California Invention Convention in April. Note that there are separate requirements from the Santa Cruz County Fair, including an Invention Log and a video presentation. Students will also be required to do frequent check-ins during the Science Fair Help sessions in the library. Also note that serious inventions take a considerable amount of time and guidance.

Please see the California Invention Convention Requirements and Restrictions and the Invention Log for more details.



Do you need something in order to conduct your experiment at home?

Vine Hill has some materials (such as thermometers, measuring cylinders, etc.). Please ask the your Teacher,If we have it, you may borrow it!

If you can volunteer to be a judge or help out at the Science Fair, please contact

Maria Gauthier at

We need your help to make the Science Fair a success!