Preparing
During
Completing


The following will help you prepare for the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) Program.  Every student should take the time to review each of the links below to thoroughly understand what is expected.  If you have questions, please ask your teacher to contact the ISTF Program Staff.


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Forming a Student Team
Students must form teams in order to compete in the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF). Although the ISTF has had teams with as small as three students and as large as a whole class, teachers and students alike seem to think that the best size for a team is from three to seven people. This year, there must be at least three students on a team. There is not a maximum limit on the number of students per team.
The small size allows team members to better communicate, determine who is responsible for various tasks and meet to work on your project.
Remember, your teacher determines who participates, approves the focus of your project and enrolls your team in the ISTF competition. Be sure to keep your teacher informed throughout the competition period.
Reviewing the Guidelines for your grade grouping
Why are the Content Guidelines important?
The Content Guidelines are important because they describe the type and amount of information your team must develop to complete your final project.
The judges for the ISTF follow the Content Guidelines when they are scoring each website. This is to make certain your team supplied all the information required.
Why are Format Guidelines important?
The Format Guidelines are important because they describe how your team must present the information you developed at your final project website.
The judges for the ISTF will follow the Format Guidelines when they are scoring each website. Be certain to include what is required and locate your information where it is required.
Determining your ISTF Project focus
Your first step is to identify a problem that is of interest to your team.
Students work in teams to solve a problem that may exist in their own community or one that is common to many people in many different places.
Create a 50-word description about the problem your team has selected (Problem/Research Statement).
Decide on a solution for your problem that is related to the National Critical Technologies (NCTs).
Students innovate a solution to the problem they identified using a NCT technical application.
Create a 50-word description that explains how you intend to solve the problem you described using the NCT technical application you selected (Project Solution Statement).
Remember, every project solution must have a related NCT Category and NCT Technology Sub-Area.
If your team is unable to decide on a problem, use the NCTs to locate a project idea.
Create a project title.
Your project title may be changed up to the submittal of your team's final project website.
Locating a technical advisor
Why do we need a technical advisor?
The technical advisor your team will look for should be someone who knows a great deal about the NCT technical application your team selected. The individual you seek is a practicing or retired professional. He or she may be or may have been an engineer at a local or national company, a scientist at a federal research laboratory, medical technologist at a hospital or researcher at a local or national university.
NOTE: Your team may have more than one technical advisor.
The technical advisor should be able to help you better understand how your problem and technical solution are connected, where there are useful Internet resources to locate information to help you, and verify the technical validity of project content.
How do we find a technical advisor?
A technical advisor could be the parent of one of your classmates, or he or she might work right in your own community. Your parents and teachers may be good resources for finding the right individual.
Use the Internet to explore local and national organizations where an individual with the experience you seek might be located. Feel free to use the following example as a model for what you send to potential technical advisors.
Dear Mr. Smith,
We are a twelfth grade class at UCF School located in Orlando, Florida. We are going to participate in the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) this fall. We will be building a website that discusses ways to solve the problem of poor tasting water that exists in our community. We think we can improve the taste of the water by using a special filtering device. Since you work in the environmental testing field, we think you would be the best person to advise us on the technical content of our website. If you accept this invitation you will become part of our ISTF team. Before you answer this e-mail, please go to the ISTF website at: http://istf.ucf.edu and look it over. You will find examples of winning websites and information about what a technical advisor does to help a team participate. If you decide to help us, we will send you more information about our team, our school, and our teacher. We hope you will consider being the technical advisor for our ISTF project. Thank you for considering this challenge. 
Sincerely, 
The members of Mr. Furino's 12th grade class at UCF School
Share with your technical advisor the focus of your project.
Each year, many technical advisors indicate that their student teams understood their project, but needed to tighten their technical solution focus.
The very first thing you need to do is to make sure your technical advisor understands the technical solution your team proposed and the problem you identified. Your technical advisor can help you tighten your project's focus so you and your teammates do not waste valuable time.
What if we find or already have a Technical Advisor?
When you find a technical advisor, you will need to provide him or her with your ISTF team number and make sure he or she sets up an account using the "My ISTF" link. When they complete the process, they will be officially connected with your project, team and school. This will also allow them to complete the Progress Report and Final Process Evaluation.
What if we do not find a Technical Advisor?
Locating an appropriate technical advisor is a rewarding challenge. It is a challenge for it may take some time. Some teams finally locate technical advisors well into December and January. It is advantageous when the connection is made for the individual brings knowledge that is critical to the success of your team's final project.
Be sure to keep record of all your attempts to locate a technical advisor. If you are unable to find the right individual during the course of the competition, your documentation will be required to fulfill certain program requirements.
Coordinate with your teacher to enroll your student team.
Teachers (or other educational coordinators) must first enroll themselves before they can add a student team.
He/she will need to set up an account using the "My ISTF" link and provide very important contact information concerning him/her, particulars about your school and obtain permission to host your final project at the school's website.
Why must a teacher enroll our team?
A teacher or educational coordinator is recognized as being the the only person eligible to enter student teams in the ISTF competition. They are responsible for determining who is on your team, when and how much time you spend working on the ISTF in the classroom, helping you locate in-school support for developing your final project website and making sure you complete the required progress reports and Final Process Evaluation.
Teachers may enroll more than one student team.
Your teacher will need a Project Title, a Problem/Research Statement, a Project Solution Statement, names of students on the team (using only first names and the first initial of last names with parents' permission), and the NCT and NCT Technology Sub-Area for each team enrolled.
Teachers may enter as many teams as may be properly managed.
What if the information changes?
Information regarding your project description and members on the team may be updated/changed by the teacher at the ISTF website.
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