Preparing
During
Completing

 


 

If you decide to act as a mentor for a team participating in the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) Program, below is an outline of tasks involved in preparation.


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Familiarize yourself with the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) website:
Consult the Newcomers page for a brief summary of pertinent information.
Check the ISTF Schedule to see if you will be available to help throughout the competition.
Review Content Guidelines for your team's grade grouping.
Setup an ISTF Technical Advisor Account by accessing the "My ISTF" link. (NOTE: If you have participated before and already have an account, your username and password will be the same.)
Decide which Type of Advisor you are, then: 
Complete Profile Setup (if necessary--you were not approached by a student team or teacher). 
Complete the Project Linking process (immediately for team-located advisors and perhaps later for members of the "Technical Advisor Pool.")
In the Winners section, you will find previous ISTF awardees. 
Each ISTF Project must relate to one of seven National Critical Technologies (NCTs) and an NCT Technology Sub-Area:
Within each NCT category, you will find Technology Sub-Areas. In many cases you will have access to more detailed explanations of technical applications that have been developed within these sub-areas.
Focus on the NCT Area and Sub-Area that the students chose for their project.
(When a team contacts you, the students should send you a Problem Statement and a Solution Statement.) Read the team's Problem Statement and Solution Statement to see if:
Your expertise could assist the students with their project.
The team's Problem Statement or Solution Statement is too broad or unfeasible (if so, tell the team and explain how it might narrow the focus).
The team's project seems unrealistic (if so, provide advice and direction).
It is necessary to challenge the students to consider changing their project's focus to a more manageable topic for their grade level.
When you agree to be a team's technical advisor:
Get to know the team's background, including age level, school and its location, the class for which the project is being undertaken, and any other pertinent information you feel you need.
Try to send them resources you think are appropriate given their grade level.
Try to limit your vocabulary to words you think they can understand given their grade level. Leave out jargon when possible.
Share with the team information on your position and background so that the students will understand they are dealing with a professional.
Manage communication with your team(s):
Prior to mid-November, the team may contact you by e-mail, phone or visit.
After mid-November, all contact must be by e-mail. 
Students have been asked to contact you about once a week.
Begin an e-mail exchange with the team, explaining how and where (home, office or both) you want them to contact you, how often to contact you, the kinds of questions you expect from the students, and any other pertinent information that will help establish good communications.
If you want access to the team's web site as the students develop it, let the team know and ask for the site's URL. 
Since some teams will not begin working on the web site until well into the competition, you may have to request this URL more than once.

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