Types of Science Fair Projects & Minimum Requirements

ISEF and has adapted the forms that appear on the Intel ISEF Rules SVSEF follows web site.  SVSEF web pages provide information about requirements and procedures that are specific to our South Valley SEF.

Project Types

Product testing projects test and compare similar items using measurable endpoints. SVSEF allows ONLY allows science, engineering, math, and computer projects:


  • Science Projects

    • Science projects investigate the effects of changes or answers the question "Why?"

  • Engineering/Math/Computer Projects

    • Engineering/math/computer projects solve a need or problem and include measurements of success

SVSEF does NOT accept: 

  • Human Participants Projects

    • Human participant projects are projects where humans are being studied.

  • Product Testing Projects

    • Product testing projects test and compare similar items using measurable endpoints.

  • Demonstration Projects

    • Demonstration projects show how something works.

Minimum Requirements

Science Projects



  1. Subject defines a testable question that begins “Why… or What is effect of a change in X on Y? “(for example, what is the effect of a change in the amount of sunlight on the growth of tomato plants).

  2. Bibliography includes references from your literature research.

  3. Hypothesis based on your library research and knowledge. It is your best estimate of what will happen and it’s not only OK but quite common if your results turn out differently.

  4. Experimental design:

       (A) Define a control (a “standard” group) to which all test groups will be compared.

       (B) Define test groups where only one variable differs from the “control” group.

       (C) Define measurable endpoint(s).

  • Each test group should contain a minimum of 3 objects being tested (seed, plant, rat, etc.).

  • Plan to change only one variable in each test cycle. However, change the variable in several ways (several concentrations of a chemical, several temperatures, or several time points etc.).

  • Report measurements in metric units when possible.

  • Repeat the test more than once to see if your results are reproducible.


Engineering Projects

  1. Clearly define the problem or need the engineering project will solve.

  2. Include the bibliography from your literature research.

  3. List design criteria and design constraints

    • Physical and functional characteristics of the design (shape, weight, etc.).

    • Design constraints/limitations (cost, time, available materials, etc.).

  4. Clearly state success criteria. What will you measure to see if your design worked?

  5. Report measurements in  where possible.