Course Description

Science Research Program – Grades 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year – Level H: Incoming freshman and sophomore students must apply for admission to this program in January of the prior academic year. Acceptance into the program will be based on a science teacher recommendation, a written essay, and excellent academic grades.

This is an ongoing program that is taken in conjunction with the student’s regular science course. There are several tiers to the program. During Year 1 students learn the components of scientific research including the scientific method and apply these concepts in various settings including designing and conducting an authentic science research project and communicating results by participation in at least one local science fair. Students also explore various applications of science topics through field trips, guest speakers and class projects. Advanced students (Years 2-4) select their science research topic, locate an out-of-school mentor (either in industry or at a local university) and compete in a variety of science fairs including the CT State Science Fair, Southern CT Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (SCSEF) and the CT Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (CT JSHS). Advanced students pursue their selected research in depth, perform statistical analysis and compete at a number of local and/or national science fairs and competitions. In Years 2, 3, and 4 students are grouped together in a non-traditional classroom setting and are required to meet individually outside of class with their Science Research Instructor biweekly to review individual goals and assess progress. All students participate in the culminating annual activity, Amity’s Science Symposium.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2015 CSEF Registration and Preliminary Judging

What was your experience like when you checked in at the 2015 CSEF?
a. Registration process in general (smooth or complicated)?
b. Poster set up
c. Preliminary Judging
d. Volunteering (if applicable)


  1. A. Registration was simple and straightforward. It went smoothly, and volunteers helped us through the entire process.

    B. The tables gave adequate room for posters, and inspection was fast and painless.

    C. We had a pleasant judging experience. Our judge gave us extra time to present, asking questions throughout and making the entire process relatively unstructured. This created a dialogue that allowed us to fully present our project while answering all of the judge's questions. Took about 15 minutes.

  2. a. My registration went smoothly. I was able to get my paperwork quickly and easily.
    b. I found my poster place quickly and was able to set up my poster without a problem.
    c. Unfortunately, my preliminary judging experience was somewhat hectic. I was judged before I was safety checked/handed in my green form. Therefore, I was caught a little off-guard. Then, I was judged twice when I was specifically told that I would be judged once (I was surprised). However, I thought my judging experience went extremely well. My judges asked many questions and stayed for about 10-15 minutes.
    d. Did not volunteer.

  3. Owais Khan

    Registration went smoothly. After setting up, a volunteer immediately came to check off the requirements on the green sheet. It was a very quick process.

    The tables provided adequate space to set up. There wasn't anything that made set up more difficult than it should have been.

    Preliminary judging went well. A few minutes after handing in the form, two judges arrived to listen to my presentation. They allowed me two minutes, though they weren't strict about it. In the next eight minutes, they asked many different and relevant questions that Arvene and I were adequately able to answer.

    I didn't volunteer.

  4. The registration process was quite smooth in general - I went to the booth and signed a few papers - within a couple minutes I was able to set up my poster. The lighting in the registration gym was lacking though - very yellow and artificial.

    Poster setup was easy - I found my spot quickly and placed my poster/binder/lab notebook in place. It took a little while for me to find a setup volunteer, and though he was not very thorough, that check was easy.

    It took me a little longer to get a judge after handing in my registration paper to the booth. However, preliminary judging went very well. My judge was friendly and helpful - he asked me to explain my project, and I did for about 2 minutes. The Q&A session afterwards was also very good - his questions were genuine and he seemed interested in my project. My judge did not have any strict time limits on my presentation. However, I did have to chase him down afterwards so I could get my green judging paper back (he consulted the judging table and then handed it back to me). The t-shirt line was short enough, though the people manning the station were condescending and generally unfriendly.

  5. A. The registration process went very smoothly. It was very quick and we did not have to wait in line at all. The instructions were clear and easy to follow.

    B. Poster set up also went very well. There was more than enough space for the poster and the binder with our research paper and journals. It was quick and easy to set up and get approved.

    C. Preliminary judging was a little rough. We had to wait close to an hour before we were judged. When she arrived, the judge told us that we would have 2 minutes to present but she was not too strict about it. The judge also interrupted our presentation several times but she did offer some helpful criticism. Overall, the process probably took less than 10 minutes.

    D. Volunteering was a good experience. The process for checking the projects was logical and easy to follow. There were a lot of volunteers so it was not too hectic. The food was pretty good.

  6. A) A) Overall, my registration process was very smooth. Signing up was a bit tedius because my mentor had to sign so many forms, but I finally got them all in! At the fair, there were lots of volunteers and they explained what you were supposed to do right when you got there. They were also nice because one of them let me charge my phone.
    B) B) Poster set up was also smooth, I had someone from Amity check my poster! I’m happy I didn’t use a lot of pictures from other sources because they had to ask if it was included in my bibliography.
    C) C) The judging was very informal compared to what I was expecting. At scisef the judges would wait until the end and ask questions, and in class we had the two minutes then our partners asked general questions, but this judging experience seemed pretty conversational. Both of my judges interrupted me a lot which was actually helpful because I’m not used to summarizing in just two minutes so I could expand on what they wanted to know. The second judge set a timer for 10 minutes, but he never checked it and I didn’t hear any alarm. Although I didn’t like how they didn’t tell you when the judges came, they came pretty quickly once I was set up which was relieving. Overall, I think I like SCISEF judging better because we’ve practiced it like that so much, but this was more casual.

  7. D. I volunteered. It was a good experience, I liked seeing the different projects and helping people with their safety checks. It was tiring running around for 4.5 hours, but it was still very valuable to be able to understand all the work put into these fairs. The food was good, but as a vegetarian, I couldn't eat the chicken.

  8. D. I was a volunteer and this was my second year so I pretty knew what was going on. We stayed at the safety table and helped people check in their projects to make sure they pass the safety guidelines. It was also fun to make sure the projects passed the height inspection...
    As for the food, it was amazing and the cookies were the best.

  9. Victoria Liu
    a. Registration was the same as the other years; went smoothly
    b.Poster setup was simple, easy
    c. Judge kept interrupting me with her comments on small details; she probably talked for half the time and tried to give me many chemistry lectures
    d. Volunteering was the same as the past few years (Sandy Mueller though...). Food was good, but I miss the lasagna :(

  10. a. Overall the registration process was sort of complicated. When I arrived, the registration volunteer gave me the wrong project number. She fixed this later.
    b. The poster set up was fine. The judges came promptly after I handed in my safety sheet.
    c. The judges were very nice and they listened to my entire project. They also asked relevant questions. There were two rounds of judging. One judge came each round.
    d. I didn’t volunteer.

  11. Vinnie Silverman
    A. The registration process went very well. The volunteers made the process very easy.
    B. Poster set up was similar to that of other science fairs. It was very easy and straightforward.
    C. The judging process was similar to that of other science fairs, but it was not clear to students how long the judging would last. We were told we would only get judged once, but many students got judged more than once, which was confusing.
    D. I did not volunteer at CSEF.

  12. Kevin Dardik

    A. I was late and part of a team, so I didn't register.

    B. We didn't have any special equipment, so poster set up was easy.

    C. The judging process was clearly disorganized, but our judges were understanding.

    D. I did not volunteer.

  13. Victoria Li

    a.Registration went smoothly, and there were no problems signing in and getting my poster checked.

    b.Poster set up also went well, and I was able to get everything checked and approved.

    c.Preliminary judging was a little weird. I was expecting one judge to come, but two separate judges came. The first judge had apparently been recruited last minute, and so didn’t really understand what CSEF was. The second judge had set a timer, but never checked it afterwards. Both judges asked me pretty basic questions about my project and the information on my poster.

    d. I didn't volunteer.

  14. a. The registration process was very smooth. There were no complications that I had run into while registering.
    b. Poster set up went smoothly as well. Was able to easily find a volunteer to help me with the safety check and handed in the green slip to end the poster set up process.
    c. I had to wait about an hour to get judged after finishing set up.Many people were able to get judged twice; however, I was only judged once and my judge did not exactly know what the project was about. He came up with his own solution, and it was one that had failed before and led to even more deficits. He seemed in a rush and stopped me in the middle of my 2 minute overview of the project. He interrupted me multiple times as I was about to get to the details that were essential to understand the project. Was hoping to have a judge that was a little more attentive towards the project.
    d. I did not volunteer.

  15. Arvene Golbazi

    a. We got there pretty early, so there weren’t many people there meaning our registration process was swift and lackluster.

    b. Our poster set up was also generally easy to set up, we used some tape to make sure the whole thing remained stable and quickly got a volunteer to check us over.

    c. Our judging went pretty well, we presented our project for 2 minutes, mostly emphasizing our implications, and then answered basic questions from the judges (who were your mentors, where did you perform this, etc.).

    d. N/A

  16. Jasmine Moon

    D. This was my first year as a volunteer, and I really enjoyed it. I went to different students’ posters to make sure that they passed the safety and display regulations. Also, I quickly made a new friend when we went together on our first couple of safety inspections. I really had a great time!!
    (Plus, the dinner was pretty good, ESPECIALLY the cookies!)

  17. d. Volunteering was great, I was able to listen to several different presentations and talk to many presenters. I checked that projects followed the Safety and Rules, and tried to answer as many questions as I could. The food was good, I enjoyed the chicken and cookies, but no lasagna.

  18. What was your experience like when you checked in at the 2015 CSEF?
    a. The registration process was very smooth and quick. There weren't any mix-ups, and the instructions were pretty straightforward. Registration took at most about five minutes.

    b. The poster set up was very well organized. I simply had to find the spot with my project number, get the poster checked, and hand in the judging sheet. The process was very quick and straightforward, which was very thoughtful.

    c. Preliminary judging was an odd experience, and the process was very jumpy. The judge actually didn't let me do my two-minute presentation. Instead, she asked me questions right off the bat, and skipped around a lot in the different aspects of the project, which threw me off. I wasn't able to provide any background information, so I answered the questions uncertain of whether the judge actually understood what I was talking about. However, most of the questions were answered with excess information from the presentation, so I got to explain most of the presentation. However, I think the process was hurt when the questions really jumped around from topic to topic.

    d. I wasn't a volunteer.

  19. Eli Silvert
    a. I thought the registration process was fairly smooth, although I found Form 1C to be a bit confusing because we were supposed to send it in after research at the institution was completed, however, research still hasn't been completed so I think those directions could be clearer.
    b. The poster set up was clear and straightforward. It got done pretty efficiently because there were a lot of volunteers helping out when we got there.
    c. I thought the preliminary juding was a bit complicated and not very consistent because people's number of judging experiences varied greatly. Also, when we went to the judging table to tell them we were ready, they said a judge would be over shortly, but it took at least 40 minutes for a judge to arrive. This wasn't a problem but it did seem a little disorganized. Our judge asked us the significance about a minute into the presentation, specifically what we would tell an investor if we wanted them to invest in our project. This was difficult to answer because we hadn't discussed the results yet, but we tried to answer it the best we could. She handed the form in, but another judge came by after and I feel like that was a better experience.
    d. I enjoyed the volunteering experience. It was relaxed because there were so many volunteers. It was interesting to see the other side of the science fair--not just participating in it. Also the apples were good.

  20. A. Registration was very straightforward, the volunteers were helpful and their instructions were clear.

    B. There was plenty of room for our poster. The inspection was quick and without trouble.

    C. Our preliminary judge was very intrigued with our project. We did not present, per say, but we were able to communicate our project thoroughly through the questions he asked. It took about 10 minutes.

  21. Joseph Neumann

    a. The registration process was fairly simple this year, though my past experience with this fair definitely helped. The forms were simple, and the online registration worked without a hitch.
    b. The poster setup was as simple as it has always been. It wasn't difficult to set up my poster at all.
    c. The judging process was rough for me, but that was at no fault of the fair. That being said, the judge didn't do what I expected. He asked questions during my presentation, which threw me off a little bit.
    d. While I was technically a volunteer, I did very little volunteer work because I arrived late. There's not really much I can say.

  22. A. The registration went smoothly, both online and in the fair. During the fair, the lines weren’t too long and the instructions were fairly straightforward.
    B. The poster set up also went smoothly. The volunteers were very willing to help (although some of them seemed a bit confused about the poster set-up procedure) and the room layout was easy to understand.
    C. The preliminary judging didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped it would. My judge had read my abstract beforehand and had generated questions of his own that seemed to be the only things he wanted to get out of the judging session. As such, he was not engaged in the presentation throughout and was often looking at other parts of the poster than the part I was presenting. A little under half way through the 2 minute presentation, the judge cut me off and asked me a question about the conclusions. Jumping from the introduction that I had been presenting to the conclusions section made my presentation very choppy and not very understandable. He also cut me off several times while I was answering his questions. He also almost entirely ignored the procedure and middle section of my poster board until I brought it up at the end of his questions. One good thing about the judging, however, was that his questions were both relevant and challenging, and highlighted in my mind areas that I needed to do more research on.
    D. I did not volunteer.

  23. Sarah Saxe

    a. The registration process went very smoothly in general. Online, Wynn Muller was very helpful when I had questions about particular forms. On the day of poster drop offs, helpful volunteers were plentiful and easy to locate.
    b. The poster set up went well. There was adequate space for my poster and binders. The volunteers completed my safety check very quickly.
    c. Preliminary judging went decently. My judge was very friendly, but she stayed very shortly (less than five minutes). After my initial two minute presentation she simply asked me where I went to school a couple times, and other questions about robots in general. She didn't ask any questions that truly pertained to my project. It was much more informal than I expected.

  24. a. The registration progress went over smoothly. All information necessary to complete it, along with the deadlines, were very clear.
    b. The fair had clear signage to get me to where I needed to be and the initial forms. At each stage in the set up I was given directions to the next, with the only confusion being when I gave my papers to the judging table. It was assumed that I was participating in the preliminary judging program, which I was not.
    c. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to be judged because of the rigidity of my own schedule.


  25. a. Registration was quite easy and everything went smoothly.
    b. Setting up the poster was very simple. Volunteers were around to check everything for safety and the whole process took less than 5 minutes.
    c. I had three judging interviews due to judges putting my sheet back at the judging table. Overall the first two went well, but the third judge interrupted me numerous times to ask questions before I could finish my two minute presentation.
    d. I thought volunteering at the fair was very fun. The food was great and it was nice to see how the fair was run and help out other students.