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Supervisor Information


Details on Registration and Fair Logistics

The Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair is a non-profit registered charity that operates the regional science fair. We are affiliated with Youth Science Canada and send some of our best projects to the Canada-Wide Science Fair. After participating in a CWSF, exhibitors who are in High School can apply to participate in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Over the past years, several of our students have been part of Team Canada at the ISEF.

You may choose to download a PDF copy of the Supervisor Manual below, or browse this webpage for the same information.

Teacher showing Kids how to do Science

Registration Details & Information

The Registrar can be contacted at registrar@wwsef.ca

If you have already successfully registered your entry as an exhibitor to this year’s Waterloo-Wellington Science & Engineering Fair, you’ll have to start working on your project.

We have an entire page dedicated to registered exhibitors, where you will find detailed guidelines for project creation, writing research reports, and more. Ethics will also be discussed on this page.

General Information
  • The school contact, usually the teacher involved, begins the registration procedure. (see below)
  • Exhibitor(s) should read and/or print the registration procedures (see below) before beginning to register.
  • Check the Exhibitor’s eligibility (see the Exhibitor Manual) before beginning registration.
  • Each Exhibitor and any supervising adult must verify that the exhibit meets all the rules and regulations of the Fair. (see the Exhibitor Manual)
  • Exhibits arriving at the Fair that do not meet rules and regulations may be disqualified.
  • Exhibitor(s) must fully complete the online registration form to participate in the Fair.

The completed application must be received by the registrar (see above) by the date shown on the online registration page.

Incomplete or late application forms may not be accepted.

School Sponsored Entries

Generally, young researchers develop science fair projects as part of a school activity (class or science club) with teacher support and apply for the regional WWSEF through their school.

Individual Entries

Researchers working on science fair projects independently (i.e. home-schooled or attending schools with no science fair activity) may apply directly to the Registrar (see above) to participate in the fair.

Before beginning work on a research project Exhibitor(s) should contact the Registrar prior to January 10.

Participation Formula

Schools of different sizes are allowed to apply for at least five (5), but no more than twenty (20), science fair entries depending upon their eligible population (number of grade 7 to 12 students) and the number of different grade Divisions covered by the school. See chart below.

Maximum Number of Projects by Number of Divisions:

Eligible PopulationOne DivisionTwo DivisionsThree Divisions

Maximum Number of Projects:

Add two to the above quotas if the school holds some form of local fair or judging to select some of the projects for the WWSEF from all those created in the school

Note: "Eligible Population" refers to students in the three WWSEF Divisions: Junior (Grades seven and eight), Intermediate (Grades nine and ten), Senior (Above grade ten)

For example - a three Division school would have students in all grades from seven to twelve, while a one Division school might only have students in grades seven, eight or both.

Registration Fee - Registration Fee for 2023 is $25.00

Any questions regarding registration procedures should be directed to registrar@wwsef.ca

For Online Registration Procedures, please refer to the information on the Fair Entry Registration page.


Matching the Projects by Division, Category and Type

1st - Projects Separated by Division

The science fair projects are divided by Division into:

  • Junior Division: Grades 7 and 8
  • Intermediate Division: Grades 9 and 10
  • Senior Division: Grades 11 and 12

This is so that people of similar experience compete with each other.

2nd - Division Projects Separated by Category

The projects in each Division are put into one of three Categories:

Engineering: Any topic in applied science, using electricity and magnetism, robots, pulleys, gears, rocketry, solar energy, lasers, aeronautics, structures, chemical processes to achieve a purpose, development of computer hardware, software or applications, etc. are Engineering.

Life Science: Projects dealing with living organisms, factors affecting growth, etc., whether biology or social science, are Life Science. 

Physical & Mathematical Science: Studies of chemical or physical phenomena, optics, colour and sound, radiation, comparison of similar products, corrosion, and studies in mathematics are examples of projects in this category.

Note: Many projects contain elements of two or more divisions. The stated purpose or hypothesis of the project may be the best indicator of the exhibitor's thinking, and indicate into which division a project should be registered.

Examples of Distinctions Between Categories:

Physical Science or Life Science?

  • A project examining the formation of acid rain would be Physical Science, but one that investigates the consequential effect on micro-organisms and plants would be Life Science.

Physical Science or Life Science?

  • A project investigating the factors affecting bubble gum bubble size (time, brand, etc.) would be a Physical Science project, even though some factors to be considered (chewing and enzymes in saliva) are biotic. If the focus was on the effect of chewing and saliva as a digestive process, using gum as an indicator, it would be a Life Science project.

Physical Science or Engineering?

  • A project examining the variables involved in Bernoulli's Principle would be entered as Physical Science. Designing wings, sails or other devices, which use the principle, would be Engineering.
  • Measuring solar energy would be Physical Science whereas using it would be Engineering. Similarly, comparing the effectiveness of sunscreens would be a Physical Science project while formulating a new one would be Engineering.
  • Comparing the properties of papers, even home-made, would be Physical Science while attempting to design a particular paper, or a new method for making the paper, would be Engineering.

Physical Science, Engineering or Life Science?

  • A project which examines and/or compares the physical properties of materials which absorb oil would be placed in Physical Science.
  • A project which developed a new material or a method to clean up oil spills would be Engineering.
  • A project dealing with the effect of an oil spill on flora or fauna would be a Life Science project.
3rd - Different Types of Projects

For each Division, there are three different types of projects.

An Experiment: This is the most common type of project. A gold award project of this type should involve an original scientific experiment that recognizes and controls all significant variables and demonstrates excellent collection, analysis, and presentation of data. Significant positive findings are not essential to achieve a successful experiment. Design is more important than results.

An Innovation: This type of project would involve the development and evaluation of new devices, models, techniques or approaches in fields such as technology, engineering, and computers. A computer innovation may involve software or hardware. A gold award project should integrate several technologies, innovations, or designs; or construct an original system that will have commercial application or benefit society. It must demonstrate development and design based on sound understanding of scientific, engineering, or technological principles.

A Study: This type of project involves the collection and analysis of data from other sources. Its intent is to reveal evidence of a fact or a situation of scientific interest. This could include cause and effect relationships, in-depth studies, or theoretical investigations of scientific data. A gold award exhibit in this area must demonstrate sound scientific techniques for data collection and show evidences of analysis with insight.

Note: If the exhibitor classifies the project as the wrong Type, no penalty will be assessed. The judges will assess the proper project Type so that the project will receive the fairest possible judging.


Sample Timeline for School Science Fairs

For students preparing for the WWSEF, here is a sample timeline for a typical school science fair.

This way, you can schedule your WWSEF registration and project progress.

5-6 Months Prior
School Fair Organization
  1. Get administrative permission and support.
  2. Get a few teachers to help support your efforts.
  3. Get support of English, Art, P.E., Math Teachers and Librarian.
  4. Set dates for school fair. Remember if you wish to enter the regional fair, your process must be completed according to the WWSEF deadlines on the website (wwsef.ca).
  5. Prepare a student information booklet. It might include material such as: time lines, how to choose a topic, rules and regulations, evaluation criteria, project check points, project levels, plus additional material as needed.
  6. Reserve space for school fair. (Gymnasium, Library, etc.)
  7. Order extra tables and/or chairs.
  8. Investigate sources for judges (professionals, parents, secondary school science teachers and/or students.)
Student(s) Project Development
  1. Inform students of school science fair and WWSEF dates.
  2. Encourage students to think about possible areas of investigation. (Topics)
  3. Inform students of evaluation criteria and how projects will enter into term assessment.
  4. Inform students of due dates.
  5. Distribute the student information booklet. Students working on their own can find information on time lines, how to choose a topic, rules and regulations, evaluation criteria, and project levels in this website.
3-4 Months Prior

School Fair Organization

  1. Reserve library and teacher-librarian for topic research and information gathering.
  2. Assist students with equipment needs and supplies.
  3. Send out letters to judges outlining date, time, location, task, scoring information. Judges may have to cancel at the last minute.

Student(s) Project Development

  1. Describe typical science fair projects: (display - collection, demonstration (demo of scientific principle), experimental, innovation, study (field study).
  2. Review rules and point system for judging.
  3. Review maximum dimensions allowed. Show how a typical display is set up.
  4. Since judges expect students to understand and explain their project, emphasize that most of the work in the project must be their own, and that judges are looking for what the students have done.
1-3 Months Prior

School Fair Organization

  1. Continue to monitor the development of plans for the fair: arrangements for the fair location, acquisitions of tables and chairs, volunteers to assist with set up and take down, recruitment of judges, etc.

Student(s) Project Development

  1. Assist students with the ongoing development of their projects.
  2. Continue to remind students of the importance of maintaining a notebook or logbook, detailing all steps in the project development, including things that didn't work.
  3. Continue to monitor student understanding and adherence to all rules and regulations.
1 Month Prior

School Fair Organization

  1. Create a floor plan of the exhibit area (note electrical outlets and table locations).
  2. Send invitations to parents, other schools and the public to visit the Science Fair (school newsletter).
  3. Reserve a location for judges to meet.
  4. Invite those who have assisted you or the students to visit the Fair.

Student(s) Project Development

  1. Ensure students are progressing so that projects will be completed on time.
  2. Work on project summary and display should have begun.
  3. Provide sample student Science Fair project summaries, review and discuss summary and display guidelines, provide assistance as needed.
1 Week Prior

School Fair Organization

  1. Inform staff of expected timetable interruptions.
  2. Finalize organization re assistance of others to help with set- up, supervision, etc.
  3. Confirmation of judges.
  4. Arrange for coffee, tea, snacks, etc. for judges.
  5. Assign students their Science Fair project numbers and make a list of project titles and other details. (i.e. electrical, special requirements).
  6. Review the process for set-up, judging, viewing and clean up.

Student(s) Project Development

  1. Check status of students' projects.
  2. Some schools have the project summary due a week or so prior to the school fair. These are then judged separately by the teacher or one of the volunteer judges.
  3. Assist students with project display details.
  4. Review techniques, skills needed for interview process during judging.
Day of the School Fair

School Fair Organization

  1. Assist students with project set up.
  2. Perform Safety Rules check and allow for final project adjustments.
  3. Meet with judges about a half hour prior judging. Review judging criteria.
  4. Assist judges as needed during judging process.
  5. Oversee selection of students for participation in regional fair.
  6. Gather judging sheets to assist with project assessment for term mark.
  7. Announce results of judging of the projects. The regional WWSEF reverses steps 7 and 8 so that spectators don't just look at the "best" projects.
  8. Oversee open house or parent/public viewing time of projects.
  9. Supervise dismantling of projects and clean up of display area

Student(s) Project Development

  1. Have students carefully set up projects then make any necessary adjustments as a result of Safety and Rules check.
  2. Encourage students to observe other projects to get ideas for future projects or displays.
  3. Have students participate in a self-evaluation and/or peer- evaluation of the Science Fair projects.
  4. Oversee students during judging process.
  5. Assist students during dismantling of projects and clean up. Ensure project and display materials for projects selected for regional fair are not damaged.
Days/Weeks Following the School Fair

School Fair Organization

  1. Write appreciation notes to staff, judges, others.
  2. Return all material borrowed.
  3. Evaluate process, note revisions and changes. Set up a file for next year.
  4. Provide WWSEF information to parent/guardian; obtain parent/guardian permission for inclusion in the WWSEF.
  5. Register online for projects to be in the WWSEF. (see website for info, or download the Fair Operation Manual from the website.
  6. Encourage staff, parents, judges, etc. to visit the WWSEF.
  7. Announce science fair results in school newsletter. The local newspapers are often interested in science fair results. The more publicity the better.

Student(s) Project Development

  1. Have students write appreciation notes to those who have assisted with their projects.
  2. Students should evaluate the process they followed in developing their projects.
  3. Students selected for the regional fair should continue to refine and modify their project based on feedback from the school fair judging. Some students do very extensive revision and up grading.

Parent Information Letter Sample

(Insert School Letterhead)

(Insert Date)

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Your child has been selected to participate in the (INSERT YEAR) Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair (WWSEF). The WWSEF is one of over 100 regional science fairs affiliated with the Youth Science Canada. The fair this year will be held at (INSERT LOCATION and DATE). (Please see Fair Day Manual for location maps and Fair Day timetable.) Inclusion of a map and Fair Day information, depends on whether you think it is needed.

Please note that the transportation to and from the fair site is the responsibility of the student and his or her parents or guardians. The registration fee for the WWSEF is $25 per student. At the fair, students from public, separate and private schools in Waterloo Region and Wellington County will display their projects. During the fair, the students will have their projects judged by local scientists, engineers and educators. In addition to the valuable feedback the students receive from the judges, they will participate in a scientific educational program and will have the opportunity to explain their research and project to the general public during an open house. Over 100 gold, silver, bronze, pewter and special awards will be presented to the exhibitors. Some of the best projects will be awarded with an all-expense paid trip to represent our region this May at the Canada-Wide Science Festival in (INSERT CWSF LOCATION and DATE for this year).

Please see the enclosed Fair Schedule. (Copy the Fair Day Manual and stress that exhibitors are to provide their own lunch and drinking water. Bingeman’s does not have water fountains but drink and confectionery vending machines may be available. Supper for students will be provided by the Fair.)
All exhibitors will participate in an off-site trip, travelling by school bus.

—- (cut off and return to school) —-

Please Complete and Return to (adult supervisor name) by (INSERT DATE)

My child ________, in class ________, has permission to participate in the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair as outlined in the above letter. I am aware that we, as parents/guardians, are responsible for transportation to and from the fair site.

My child has the following special health or dietary concerns: ________

Signature of Parent or Guardian ________

Date ________