Parts of the Exhibit

Project Data Book
A project data book is a required part of each exhibit. This is the "lab notebook": all notes, observations, ideas, experimental results, questions,calculations, and so on, are recorded in the project data book. Accurate and detailed notes demonstrate consistency and thoroughness to the judges. Judges want to see this and it can effect your judging to be without.

Research paper
A research paper is strongly recommended by both NWSE and ISEF at the high school level. Students aspiring to be ISEF Finalists should include a research paper with their exhibit. A research paper includes the following sections:


Every exhibit must display a copy of the project abstract. Each judge receives online access to the abstracts for the projects they will be judging; the abstract is the first part of the exhibit that the judges see. The abstract at the display must be an exact copy of the abstract submitted online so as not to confuse judges.

The abstract is a short summary of the project. The maximum length of an abstract is 250 words. The body of the abstract is generally one paragraph. Science projects and engineering projects are different, so there are directions for each.

For a Science Project
First, begin the abstract with a statement that indicates the purpose, problem or focus of the investigation. The second part of the abstract provides further information needed to understand why the study was conducted. For example, you may describe prior research findings as a context for your question. By the time the reader reaches the end of this part of the abstract, it is essential the question you are investigation is clear. The third essential section is a brief summary of your procedures. Let the reader know the most important aspects of the design of your experiment. Mention any unusual or newly developed methods. Lastly, close the abstract with a direct statement of findings - a conclusion you might wish to see printed in a local newspaper's science section. Be sure to tell how your question mentioned previously was answered or perhaps not answered.

For an Engineering or Programming Project
Begin by explaining very clearly what you are designing. First state your design goal and the constraints on your design. The second part of the abstract provides further information needed to understand why the design is important or interesting. In the third part use a few sentences to describe your design itself. It is good to break your design into subsystems and tell what they do. Include how your design is supposed to meet the goals above. Describe how your design was tested. Lastly, close the abstract with a direct statement of findings - a conclusion you might wish to see printed in a local newspaper's science section. Be sure to include how well your design met the goals mentioned at the beginning of the abstract. If you must submit the abstract before obtaining reportable results, say so at the end of the abstract, being very careful to have defined the goals you described as your design. For further information on engineering projects click here.

Abstracts must be submitted at the Affiliated Fairs Online Registration site.

Visual Display
All research projects are presented as free-standing exhibits. Exhibits must adhere to the display regulations. Students who need electricity to power equipment or computers that are part of their exhibit must request it during online registration. Electricity is not to be used to light the display. Students must provide their own plug-grounded extension cords for reaching power connections on the floor, and duct tape for securing the extension cords. Not all requests will be honored. Complete display regulations can be found on the Display and Safety Regulations page of the NWSES Rulebook. A bigger display is not better. Judges want to be able to sit in front of the poster and easily read the information on it. Use your data book for additional graphs and data.

Middle School rules do not allow models or non paper props.

Approval Forms
Originals of all signed forms, certificates, and permits must be available at the exhibit. NWSES recommends that these be kept in a folder or notebook. They may be kept in a section of the project data book.

Poster Tips NWSES.pdf46.65 KB

Examples of Good Abstracts

Example #1
The purpose of this study was to determine if children between the ages of nine and twelve with dyslexia are able to read and understand with more accuracy passages presented when the positive and negative space is reversed (black background with white letters). It was hypothesized that the reading accuracy and comprehension of the dyslexic students would be improved with this reversal of positive and negative space. A test was created consisting of four paragraphs (two presented normally and two reversed) and two reading comprehension questions per passage. A total of 37 dyslexic students and 34 non-dyslexic students were tested. The students were given 90 seconds to read each passage, the reading comprehension questions were given and answered orally.

It was found that the dyslexic students made less errors when reading the passages presented on the black background. The reading comprehension of the dyslexic students was slightly improved by the reversal of positive and negative space. The reversal of the positive and negative space had no effect on the non-dyslexic students reading accuracy or comprehension. A chi-square test was completed comparing the black and white background reading accuracy for the dyslexic students. This test yielded a P-value of 3.46E-20 (a highly significant value). In addition a Comparison of Two Means test was also completed comparing background color, which also yielded significant results. Finally a 99% Confidence Interval was established, from which can be said with a 99% confidence that the mean reading errors of the dyslexic students will be 1.65 less when reading reversed passages. Thus, it can be concluded that it is beneficial for dyslexic students to read passages presented when the positive and negative space is reversed.

Example #2
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are synthesis network polymers that contain recognition sited for specific molecules. MIPs are designed to bind the molecule that they have been imprinted with over other structurally similar molecules. The goal of this project was to create a beta- Cyclodextrin (BCD) based MIP imprinted with the amino acid L-Phenylalanine (L-Phe).

MIPs, which are prepared based on relatively weak intermolecular attractions between the template molecule and pre-polymer components, have decreased binding abilities in polar solvents. However, to be used in many practical applications in the future, MIPs will need to be able to function in polar solvents such as water. In this project, the goal was to synthesize a MIP that could bind L-Phe in an aqueous solution by using the hydrophobic attraction provided by the B-CD cavity.

MIPs were formed by polymerizing (crosslinking) B-CD with m-xylylene disocyanate (XDI) in the presence of L-Phe (template molecule). CuCl2 was used to increase the solubility of L-Phe in DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide, solvent). Control polymers were formed in the same way, but in the absence of L-Phe and CuCl2. All polymers were thoroughly washed and dried to prepare them for rebinding studies and analysis.

The polymer obtained from the synthesis described was analyzed with IR spectroscopy, and the structure of the polymer was proposed.

Due to difficulties in removing background UV-V is absorption caused by the polymer or other contaminants in rebinding study solutions, the efficacy of the polymer in binding L-Phe over D-Phe in aqueous media was not confirmed, and will be the focus of future studies.

Example #3
This project presents a summary of a successful design, fabrication and testing of wind turbines mounted on a car roof for the purpose of extracting power from the kinetic energy (dynamic pressure) contained in the wind flow around the car. The placement of the turbine was based on aerodynamic considerations. Various design concepts were tested and evaluated. Drag tests were conducted that showed the turbine did not negatively impact vehicle performance. NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) ducts were evaluated and shown to offer additional choice for turbine design and placement. The results obtained from the tests conducted in this research demonstrate the feasibility for the efficient extraction of energy from wind flow around an automobile. Literature research consisting mainly of a review of NACA reports supported the findings of this study.

Example #4
It is both natural and interesting to replace the ring of integers and field of real numbers with the ring F[x] and the field F((1/x))for a field F, and to try to use continued fractions in F((1/x))to solve Pell’s equation in F[x].

I hypothesized that the solvability of Pell’s equation in this context is equivalent to the eventual periodicity of the associated continued fraction (a non-trivial constraint for infinite F) and that such periodicity exhibits symmetry properties analogous to the classically studied case.

I proved my hypothesis, overcoming numerous obstacles not seen in the classical case, such as non-trivial units and lack of order structure. The method applies in characteristic 2, using a generalized form of Pell’s equation. The technique of proof is a mixture of non-Archimedean methods and polynomial algebra, the central breakthrough being a close study of the properties of a concept that I call a “reduced quadratic surd”. After proving some importance technical properties of reduced surd, I show that eventual periodicity of continued fractions implies the specific periodic and symmetric structure analogous to the classical case. I then use this result to prove that Pell’s equation has solutions if and only if the associated continued fraction is periodic – a result not seen in the classical theory.

As a result, the problem of Pell’s equation in F[x] and the periodicity structure of quadratic surds in F((1/x)) is solved for arbitrary coefficient fields F, giving us interesting insight into the classical case.