- What is the
Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF)?
- The ISTF is a national technology literacy program that
teaches students basic science inquiry, team collaboration
and webpage presentation skills.
- What is the
purpose of the ISTF?
- The ISTF's goal is to encourage students in grades 3
through 12 to explore real-world science, engineering and
technical career opportunities that lie ahead.
- How does the
ISTF fulfill its intended purpose?
- Student teams use information and communication
technology tools to research solutions, communicate with
experts in the field and present their findings in a website
- I am a
home-school teacher for my children; can we still enter the
- Yes. You would act as if you were a traditional school
teacher to enter the ISTF and setup an ISTF Teacher Account
using the "My ISTF" link.
- Is there a
cost to participate in the ISTF Program?
- No. There is no fee to enter the competition.
- Students in
what grade levels can enter the ISTF?
- Students in grades 3 through 12 can participate.
- Where do I
begin if I am interested in participating?
- Read the Newcomers and/or
section of the ISTF site for Teachers. (Students can also
refer to these sections to better understand their role.)
- How do I
enter my student teams in the competition?
- The "My ISTF" link
allows you to setup an ISTF Teacher Account and then enroll
your student team(s) in the competition.
- What is an
ISTF Teacher Account?
- An ISTF Teacher Account
allows you to access the secure teacher area through a
username and password that you choose. NOTE: All ISTF
Accounts are free of cost.
- When do my
student team(s) and I enter the ISTF?
- What can I do
using my ISTF Teacher Account?
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED! Add, edit, or delete student teams
and your contact information; manage technical advisor
information; complete the Progress Report; enter your
student teams' final project URLs, and complete the Final
- What is
Student Team Enrollment?
- Student Team Enrollment officially enters your teams in
the competition. Please access your
ISTF Teacher Account to do
this. NOTE: ONLY teams that ARE officially enrolled will be
allowed to participate in the competition.
information do I need in order to enroll student teams?
- You will need each team’s
National Critical Technology (NCT) Category and NCT
Technology Sub-Area, project title, 50-word problem/research
statement, and 50-word project solution statement. You must
also acquire permission from the principal of your school
(or director of your educational organization) to have the
student team’s final project website hosted from February
to the end of May.
- How do
student teams devise project ideas?
- These are only suggestions. Allow student teams
to: 1. Identify local or national problems and then select
solutions from the list of
National Critical Technologies (NCT’s) 2. Choose an NCT
and subcategory and then apply the technical application to
a problem. 3. Select from a short list of project topics
that you provide based on your curriculum.
- What should
students do after they choose a project topic?
- The students should then try to locate technical
advisors who can help the students focus their ideas and
guide their research and development.
- How do I
group my students into teams?
- These are only suggestions. You can group
students based on: 1. Project ideas, 2. Learning styles, or
3. A shared class (the whole class is a team).
- How many
students should be on a team?
- A minimum of three with no maximum limit.
- Why do my
student teams have to locate their own technical advisors?
- This method operates on the theory that if student teams
locate their own technical advisors, the students will then
feel more inclined to seek the advisors' guidance.
- How do my
students locate a technical advisor?
- These are only suggestions. You can tap local
contacts or instruct students to email federal research
laboratories, corporations, local governments or
institutions of higher education or ask their parents or
- Why is it
important to have a technical advisor?
- The technical advisor helps students understand the
connection between their problem and technical solution,
find useful Internet resources to locate information, and
verify the technical validity of project content.
- What do we do
once we find a technical advisor?
- Make sure the team technical advisor accesses the "My
ISTF" link and sets up an ISTF Technical Advisor
Account. Then, the technical advisor can officially link to
- When should I
send an “Advisor Authorization?”
- You should only send an Authorization when you and/or
the team have already contacted the advisor, he or she
agreed to be part of the team, and he or she needs to be
linked to the Project.
- What is the
“ISTF Technical Advisor Pool?”
- In an effort to assist teams with the difficult task of
locating technical advisors, the ISTF staff invites
practicing professionals from various organizations to
enroll setup ISTF Technical
Advisor Accounts and make themselves available. These
professionals join those who found the program on their own
(via the Internet or another source) in the "pool." In sum,
the ISTF Technical Advisor Pool is merely a name for the
group of technical advisors who are not linked with teams
and were not originally solicited by teams.
- What does the
ISTF do to verify the identities of members of the Technical
- Members of the Technical Advisor Pool must answer
specific questions as part of their account setup procedure.
Also, the ISTF Director contacts each member via telephone.
NOTE: Although the ISTF Director verifies these technical
advisors, the teacher ultimately decides whether a technical
advisor becomes part of a team.
- What is an
- An “Advisor Authorization” is an email that you can send
automatically to an advisor through your ISTF Teacher
Account. This email represents your permission for the
advisor to join the team and allows him or her to officially
link to the project.
- What does
“linking” a project with a technical advisor mean?
- Because the technical advisor and teacher maintain
separate accounts, it is necessary to build a bridge between
the two for the purpose of information sharing. This process
- What happens
when I send an “Advisor Authorization?”
- If you used the same email address to send the
authorization as the advisor used to setup his or her
account, then the project will appear in the advisor’s
project list as pending. Then he or she can easily link to
the project. If the email addresses don’t match, then the
advisor needs to complete an extra step but can still
officially link to the project because you gave your
- Why should I
make sure that projects are “linked” with the technical
- Who are
- Technical advisors are practicing professionals (such as
scientists, engineers, doctors, or technicians) who act (via
the Internet) as subject matter experts for student teams.
- How long does
the competition last?
- Approximately four months, from around November to the
end of February. Refer to the ISTF
Schedule for the current year's specific dates.
- How will we
know what the judges will expect of their final project website?
- You should refer to the
to grade level) for final project website content and format
Elementary (grades 3-5),
6-9), or High
- Can my
students use Geocities, Tripod, or some other free web-builder
to host their final project websites?
- This method is obviously not a preferred option, as the
pop-up advertisements adversely impact the patience of most
- What are the
National Critical Technologies (NCTs)?
- Students use the list of
National Critical Technologies (NCTs), seven categories
that encompass some of the United States' most important
technical advancements, to build their projects.