Northwest Ohio District 2 Science Day at UToledo

Information for Teachers

Important Dates      

 Important Information

Why Should Students Participate in Science Days?

*Participation in science days helps students develop basic skills they will use daily throughout their life—to sense and clarify problems that exist, to conduct research, to find creative solutions to problems, and to communicate.

*Participation in science day gives students the opportunity to develop the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that will help them be comfortable and successful in an ever changing scientific, technological society.

*Preparing students for citizen participation in the development of science and technology policy and the utilization of science in everyday life are worthwhile goals often ignored in school curricula that are achieved through a student research project.

*Science days offer students the opportunity to define a problem and to design an experiment that will attempt to solve or investigate that problem, thus enabling the student to learn through discovery a topic of their own interest.

*Students can win special recognition for achievement, certificates, cash awards and college scholarships.

*Top students can advance to State Science Day and/or the Buckeye Science & Engineering Fair.

Suggested Calendar

Sept-Oct    Students should begin background work and decide on project. Fill out forms necessary for project that need to be approved before research begins: All projects need Checklist for Adult Sponsor/Safety Assessment Form (1), Student Checklist/Research Plan (1A), (be sure to include research plan attachment) and Approval Form (1B). Sign and date Form 1 and IB and make certain other signatures and dates are on Form 1B. Please also note that Form 1A has two parts. This is for your information; all needed forms will be determined by the online registration site and registrations will not proceed if the required forms are incomplete or incorrectly filled out.

Oct-Nov    Approve project and/or send to Local Scientific Review Committee or Institutional Review Board (scroll down for information about these committees).  All required forms must be signed by appropriate people before experimentation begins.  Make duplicate copies for your files.

Although all forms will be transmitted digitally, make certain students print out copies of all forms and understand that they need to have them available at their project on Science Day.

Oct-Dec    After project is approved, students:

  • Continue background research
  • Begin experimentation 
  • Collect data and draw conclusions 
  • Write paper and reference properly
  • Prepare presentation/poster board 

Dec-Feb     Local fair at your school, school district, county, etc. Arrange for judges for NWDSD. All participating schools must supply two qualified judges for each 5 projects registered. Have your judges register online via ProjectBoard.

February 26, 2024: Deadline for receipt of registrants and entry fees for NWDSD. Every project will require Form 1, Form 1A and attachment, Form 1B, Consent and Release Agreement and Abstract and may require additional forms, depending on the area of research. Have judges representing your school register on-line and make certain they indicate they are representing your school. Lack of receipt of the necessary number of judges could lead to disqualification of your school’s students. Closer to NWDSD check with your judges to make certain they will be representing your school. Have emergency backups in case some have a change in plans. We can never have enough judges.

DSD REGISTRATION DEADLINE:As of February 1, a “Submit” button will appear for student projects. If a student has completed all of the required portions of the registration process, they can click Submit. At that point, they will no longer be able to edit their project. As of February 26 at 11:59 pm, all projects will become uneditable by students regardless of whether they have clicked Submit.

Around NWDSD make certain participants know the calendar of the day's events and where to sign in. See Day of the Event Details.

Make certain qualifying students know how to register for State Science Day. We will mail your school's certificates after Science Day.

2024 Virtual State Science Day at OSU

Local Scientific Review Committees and Institutional Review Boards

In order to properly oversee science project research each participating school should have a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and/or Institutional Review Board (IRB). The SRC is a group of at least one biomedical scientist, science teacher, and other qualified individual that is responsible for evaluation of student research, certifications, research plans and exhibits for compliance with NWDSD/ISEF rules and guidelines. An IRB is a committee of at least one science teacher, one school administrator, and one psychologist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, physician's assistant, or registered nurse that reviews research plans involving human subjects to determine potential physical or psychological risk. Please note that teachers or adult sponsors cannot serve as Chair of these committees to avoid obvious conflict of interest scenarios. These committees must meet to review and approve or reject research plans before experimentation begins and again before NWDSD. Projects that do not comply will be ineligible for participation at NWDSD. If your school does not have ready access to the above committee members they may consider combining with other schools and forming joint SRC's and IRB's or contacting the NWDSD Director Mark J. Camp for help.

You may act as the SRC assuming projects do not present any recognized research risks or issues. When in doubt however, contact the NWDSD Director.

The District level SRC and IRB will review the projects upon registration to NWDSD. Failure to comply to ISEF standards will result in disqualification.

Typical, and some non-typical, SRC/IRB Violations-What not to do!

  • Written reports and log books failed to disclose and cite where appropriate the specific source(s) of the idea for the project. Citations must be fully documented with references such as author(s), date, publication, and URL, if website.
  • Equipment, specimens, etc. brought in and at some display sites. Remember only the backdrop poster and supporting paper documents should be at a student's site.
  • Teachers and/or adult sponsor serving as Chair of SRC/IRB. This is a conflict of interest.
  • Improper abstracts; sometimes confused with Research Plans. Abstracts should be one or two paragraph narratives, not entire pages or part of the Research Plan Attachment.
  • Lack of copies of the registration forms at project site on Science Day. Judges may ask to see these. Copies must be present.
  • Misuse of photos on display boards.
  • Display boards exceeding permitted dimensions.


Read the information included on the Ohio Academy of Science and NWDSD web pages including: the Ohio Academy of Science Standards, which contains instructions, judging criteria and research reports. Be sure to review the following: 

a)  The Rules for the Northwest Ohio District 2 Science Day

b)  Rules for Research Involving Live Vertebrate Animals, Human Subjects, hazardous substances, pathogenic organisms, etc.

c)  Sponsored Awards List (this list often is not finalized until January)

d)  Abstract Writing

  1. Have students identify a topic or problem to study and begin the research project as soon as possible. Place the research project in one of the following categories: behavioral science, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, computer science, earth & space science, engineering science, environmental science, mathematics, medicine & health, microbiology, physics or zoology. Be sure to complete Checklist for Adult Sponsor/Safety Assessment Form (1), before experimentation begins. Then complete Student Checklist/Research Plan (1A), (individual or team version) and Approval Form (1B). Note that Form 1B must pass review from the District Scientific Review Committee (SRC). Later complete the registration by filling out forms as specified by the online registration.

  2. If a project involves research at a registered research institution or industrial setting and/or involves research with nonhuman vertebrate animals, human subjects, pathogenic agents, controlled substances, recombinant DNA, human and nonhuman animal tissue, and/or hazardous substances and devices additional forms must be completed and submitted with each registration. Check Science Service for a guide to what forms are required for different research areas. These forms may  include Registered Research Institutional /Industrial Setting Form (1C), Qualified Scientist Form (2), Risk Assessment Form (3), Human Subjects and Informed Consent Form (4), Vertebrate Animal Form (5), Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form (6A), and Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (6B). If a project is a continuation of research from a previous year, Continuation Form 7 will need to be included. These forms are detailed, require certain signatures, have time restraints, and must be carefully adhered to. Online registration via ProjectBoard will guide the participant through what forms are needed. If you have any questions or problems please contact the Director Mark J. Camp at 419-530-2398 or It is assumed that participating teachers will be familiar with these requirements due to attending the several workshops that have been offered. If you are a new teacher and are not familiar with the requirements please contact the Director. Classroom teachers may approve research plans in lieu of review by a Local Scientific Review Committee, if the proposed research does not involve recognized research risks or issues.

    REQUIRED TILES IN PROJECTBOARD: For student registration in ProjectBoard, students will enter the usual contact information, etc. Additionally, they will have to complete some (not all) tiles shown on their ProjectBoard project page. The only tiles that are required for all District Science Days are the ISEF Forms, Completed Final Written Report, and Abstract tiles. The Quad Board and Video tiles are only required if a district wants to require one or both of them. The Quad Board and Video tiles are required for BSEF and State Science Day.

  3. Have student write a detailed report. The report usually includes a title page; table of contents; abstract; introduction (problem and hypothesis to be investigated); methods and materials of investigation; analysis of collected data; conclusions or implications; graphs, tables, and diagrams; and references. The student(s) must submit an abstract containing no more than 250 words. A heading must contain the project title and name(s) of the author(s). The heading does not contribute to the word count. The purpose of the abstract is to provide a summary of your project that will inform interested individuals of the contents. The wording must be written in a manner that any scientifically-minded individual, who may not be familiar with the topic, can understand the project's important points. The following should each be summarized in a few sentences:

    a) Background information necessary to understand the abstract and its importance.
    b) The problem that was investigated and the hypothesis.
    c) Outline of the materials and methods used in the experimentation.
    d) Summary of the results obtained from the experimentation.
    e) The conclusions drawn from the results.
    f) The importance or potential applications the research offers.

Make certain the abstract is a true abstract. Abstracts should include the key points, be brief and concise and contain complete sentences. Abstracts should only provide necessary information needed to understand the project's basic points and importance. Abstracts and Research Plans are not one the same; they are separate forms.

The abstract should be a brief synopsis of the pertinent techniques used and a summary of the findings, it is not the same as the report which goes into greater detail of the research process and results.

4. Have students set up a physical display. This is a poster display (36" wide x 30" deep) exhibiting data tables, diagrams, graphs, models, reports, etc. No equipment is to be displayed at the exhibit site; only the poster setup and supporting paper documents.

5. Conduct a local science fair at your school or at the school district or county level. This allows students to practice their oral presentations before NWDSD. As a general rule, schedule this event sometime in January. 

6. Enter winners (not required to compete in NWDSD) of your local science fair in the Northwest Ohio District 2 Science Day by completing online registration:

    1. Have students complete online registration via ProjectBoard.
    2. Each school is required to provide one judge per five students entered in Northwest Ohio District 2 Science Day. Please use the online judging form at our website. We count on these judges! We also need any individuals who would like to judge in selected fields of interest. PLEASE, VOLUNTEER!
    3. The entry fee for NWDSD is $30.00 per student. The entry fee for team projects (see below) is $30 per individual student i.e. $60 for two person team and $90 for three person team. There will not be a registration fee payment page included in student registration this year via ProjectBoard. The registration fee of $30 per student must be submitted through this online payment link.

Can Teams of Students Enter District and State Science Day?

The Junior Academy Council of OAS endorses the concept of team projects at District and State Science Days. The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) has also adopted the idea.

Rules for team projects for grades 5-12 at NWDSD  are as follows:

  1. A team is limited to three (3) students. All students on a team must play an active role in the science experiment. Individuals should not be used solely for writing reports, making displays, etc.
  2. A 50 point rating scale is used for teams including a category for teamwork.
  3. Each student on a team, and in attendance, will receive the district’s usual recognition.
  4. Points will be deducted for non-appearance of any team member on the day of judging.

How are Students Judged in Northwest Ohio District 2 Science Day?
Professionals in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering, and education, volunteer their time to judge on Science Day. The judge’s use the criteria set by the Junior Academy Council of the Ohio Academy of Science, and all judges’ decisions are final. The criteria are:

-Knowledge Achieved
-Effective Use of Scientific Method
-Clarity of Expression
-Originality and Creativity

If a project falls in the engineering category “Uses of Engineering Design” will replace “Effective Use of Scientific Method”.

Students receive between 1 and 10 points for each of the four categories. The points are summed to form a rating category. The minimum number of points for each rating is:

-Superior 36
-Excellent 24
-Good 12
-Satisfactory 4

Team projects are judged in the four above categories plus a fifth category, teamwork.

In order for a participant to have a reasonable chance of qualifying for state competition he/she must score some combination of 10s and 9s in each of the four judging categories -- knowledge achieved, use of scientific method, clarity of expression, and originality & creativity -- totaling a 36-40 or equivalent team point total (i.e. a higher superior rating). In order to assure quality student performances at State Science Day please note that judges will be looking for the following:

1. A Student Research Plan (1A) displayed with an 8-10 page research report. Report must be neat and well organized. Although in most cases judges will not be able to critically review all aspects of the report, any spelling and grammatical errors, notable lack of scientific method, and absence of pertinent references will lower ranking.

2. All completed forms including special forms for live vertebrate animals, human subjects, recombinant DNA, controlled substances, hazardous substances and devices, human and nonhuman animal tissues, or pathogenic agents..

3. A well written complete concise abstract.

4. All superior projects must be free of errors in spelling and grammar.

5. ProjectBoard Informational Videos on YouTube.

6. If project involves experimentation, a control or controls must be present and explained. A minimum of 3 sets of data must be part of the analysis.

What About Re-judging?

Two judges will judge each project following Ohio Academy of Science standards. If each judge grants a total score within any one rating category (Superior, Excellent, Good, or Satisfactory), that specific rating (Superior, Excellent, Good, Satisfactory) will be granted to the student and no rejudging is permitted. Rejudging is automatic and is permissible only if all three of the following conditions apply:

a. the judges' final ratings are in different categories,
b. the average of the judges' scores is in the lower category, and
c. if the judges differ in their total points by more than five points.

  • Awards Ceremony/Judging - see Day of the Event Details. State qualifiers will be given an entry packet at the awards ceremony and must register online. Please tell students to read the instructions included with each entry packet immediately as there are important deadlines.

The Buckeye Science and Engineering Fair information.

State Science Day for 2024 will be held virtually. For information on State Science Day go to State Science Day. 


Materials including books, pamphlets, and videos about conducting science fairs are available from:

The Ohio Academy of Science
1500 W. third Avenue
Columbus, OH 43212
Telephone: (614) 488-2228
Website –

Navigating ProjectBoard YouTube Tutorials for Teachers

Last Updated: 1/4/24