Welcome to the Terra Twin Tiers Science and Engineering Fair

Important Dates & Times


Your fair, your opportunity!

>>> When Registration opens by October 1, you will create an account above! <<<

WHAT: T3SEF serves students living inside the NY counties of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and the PA counties of McKean, Potter, and Warren. The fair and zFairs portal are sponsored by Terra Science and Education.

WHO: Middle and high school students attending public, private, charter, parochial or home schools.

HOW: Students prepare science or engineering projects or topic presentations to present to qualified judges. In the process, students start to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, math and the skilled trades, "trying them on" to see how they fit. An adult sponsor will begin the process with you (e.g., a teacher, parent, guardian, youth leader). You plan your work, get safety approval from adults who sign your safety paperwork, then you're off and running!

WHEN: Student and Teacher Registration will open by October 1.The fair will take place in-person (target) one weekend and there is a contingency plan to go virtual as well, either way the fair will occur on March 26th .


  1. Registration
    • Student & Project
    • Teachers
    • Judges 
    • Volunteers 
  2. Submission of all safety and permission forms
  3. SRC reviews
  4. Project material uploads
  5. Judging and scoring



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Welcome to T3SEF Fearless Adventurers!

Let's begin by answering a few quick questions:

Am I eligible?

  • Are you a middle or high school students attending public, private, base, charter, parochial or home school? Good, then keep going ...
    (Younger students may use the
    Math Placement Tool to see if they may compete this year.)

  • Please verify your eligibility with this Eligibility Tool.

If you have any questions, please contact the Director at t3rsf@terraed.org.

How do I participate this year?

  • You can do your research anywhere - at kitchen tables or outdoors, accessing online data, joining a Citizen Science project. Make sure to follow our SAFETY rules and complete your forms ASAP.

  • The fair itself will be online, using YOUR videos, documents, slide shows and other files in advance of judging. On your Judging Day, you will participate in a live online conversation with fair judges, who will ask you questions about how you did your research or created your project.

  • Your grade determines your Division - grades 5-8 are JUNIOR Division, grades 9-12 are SENIOR Division.

  • Your project is either Research and Engineering Design (RED) or Topic Presentation (TOPIC).

  • For Research and Engineering Design projects (RED), you conduct an experiment and collect data, or make something and improve upon it repeatedly ("iterations").

  • For Topic Presentations (TOPIC), you learn a lot about a topic that really interests you, or you make a model without improving upon it at all.

    • Beginning students often do TOPIC first as they learn about making posters, talking with judges, etc.

    • Advanced students often do a TOPIC presentation one year as they conduct their literature review and learn research techniques. The following year they run experiments or do their engineering, and compete with RED projects.

What do I need to participate?

First, an idea! [Below you will find plenty of help.]

You will also need a teacher or parent to be the mentor for your project. They will help you register for the fair, design a good project, follow the fair rules and complete your paperwork.

For fair judging, you will need an internet connection. We can help on that if you can't get reliable high-speed access.

A registration fee is charged for each student. Currently that is $10, but if you register late the payement goes up to $20. Payments can be made via PayPal.


Where can I get ideas for a science project?
There are many places online and in real life to get ideas.

  • Talk to your science or tech teacher, check out books from the library or Hoopla, walk outdoors and look for something that's interesting, or watch Nova on PBS.
  • Do an online search with your adult on "Citizen Science" for great projects you can join from NASA, NOAA, Cornell University, all sorts of places.
  • Access any resource in our "Ideas and Links" PDF
  • Science Buddies is a terrific starting point with ideas to explore, scientists' and engineers' videos to watch, even "Ask an Expert" resources!

Safety is our top priority! It is important that an adult reviews all of your procedures BEFORE you begin experimenting or building. Sometimes additional adults sign forms using their specific expertise to make sure all involved in the project are safe. Be sure to gather those adults’ signatures and dates to prove that the evaluation was completed.

  • SENIOR RED: You will complete the appropriate Scientific Research Committee (SRC) forms.

    • Get a headstart by using the ISEF Wizard to determine which form(s) to complete. Start completing them immediately so you can submit them to the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) for approval.

    • Important: Before Senior Research can begin, the SRC has to approve the project, so it’s vital to submit these forms as soon as possible. 

    • If you have already started your research, don't panic. Contact the Director now and we'll see how best to handle your forms.

How do I get ready for the fair?
You can get ready for the fair in 4 easy steps:

1. Register for the fair
2. Submit all safety paperwork
3. Complete your project
4. Prepare to share all you have learned with others 

Judging in March
You will present your project to teams of judges, and there will be chat rooms and a virtual Showcase of all the projects so you, your family, classmates, and other participants can see each other’s projects and connect. Depending on the number of participants, we may extend judging over several days.

Scores from the judges will determine the awards, from being advanced to the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) or GENIUS Olympiad, to Fair Honors and Special Awards (some with cash prizes).

Important dates
Oct. 1 - Registration opens
February 4 - Registration closes
February 13 - All Sr. RED SRC forms must be submitted
March 26 - Fair Day
April - Awards Ceremony

Paying for your fair registration

To pay for  registration via Credit, Debit or PayPal - please use the PayPal Link (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=HYY8BDG2YCXDA)

If you are paying by Check, please make checks payable to Terra Science & Education (include T3RSF and your student's names on the memo line) and mail to:

Terra Fairs c/o Karen Valentino
835 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13204

NOW head to "Create Account" in the upper nav bar and join the fair!

Then from this point on, you will use the tracking tools inside zFairs.
Sign in at the top of the page and go for it!

What do I need to Submit?

  • For each project, we are requiring students to submit the following:
  • And for Senior Division RED projects, here's a "road map" to guide you through your safety paperwork:

Road Map to Your Science Fair Project: (Courtesy of K. Stuart Smith)


Hello, Sponsors - Teachers, Parents and Mentors.
Welcome to the T3SEF


Let's get started!

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1. Verify student eligibility and status.

Your T3SEF students should be in grades 5-12, and attend school in (NY) Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua or (PA) McKean, Potter and Warren counties. Younger students may use the Math Placement Tool if they wish to be considered for early acceptance. 

Students may participate in either of two Divisions:

  • Topic Presentations (TOPIC): TOPIC students (Grades 5-12) present to judges about a science, technology, engineering or mathematics topic. They do not conduct an experiment, use no engineering design, and do not collect any data. They may make a model and run it, but they have not improved it.
  • Research / Engineering Design (RED): RED students conduct an experiment or complete an engineering project (Junior Level grades 5-8; Senior Level grades 9-12). All RED Students must complete and get signatures on safety-related paperwork. Double checking students’ paperwork is one of the Sponsor’s most important roles. Contact our SRC Chair with questions concerning dates of supervision, etc.

2. Register as a Teacher.

In zFairs, "teacher" is the label for the sponsoring adult, whether a classroom teacher, parent, mentor or youth leader. If you have not registered yet, go to Create an Account.

A Reminder to Science Fair Adults
Adults should not conduct the experiments, 
or do any part of the projects, papers, or displays (unless safety requires!)
We are guides & supporters - 
signers of paperwork, monitors for safety issues,
drivers, and sometimes photographers or proof readers.

3. Paying for Your Student's Project.

To Pay for your students registration via Credit, Debit or PayPal - please use the PayPal Link (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=HYY8BDG2YCXDA)

If you are paying by Check, please make checks payable to Terra Science & Education (include TTRSF and your student's names on the memo line) and mail to:

Terra Fairs c/o Karen Valentino
835 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13204

Once you've registered, you shift to monitor mode ...

4. Double check project safety and required paperwork.

Review the Student Info and Registration page in detail!

Topic Presenters (Grades 5-12) – Remember, TOPIC students have done NO experiment or design work; they have collected NO data.

  1. Online student registration here in zFairs
  2. Topic Presenter Guide and Adult Checklist Terra Safety and Permission Form.pdf
  3. Registration Fee: $10/student
  4. Registration Deadline: Feb.4

Junior Research / Engineering Design (RED) Students (Grades 5-8)

  1. Online student registration here in zFairs
  2. Junior Level RED Guide and Adult Checklist Terra Safety and Permission Form.pdf
  3. Registration Fee: $10/student
  4. Registration Deadline: Feb. 4

If a Junior RED project involves any of the following, these additional forms will be required: Project Plan (experimental procedure), Surveys (if applicable), Written parental permission of any human subjects under age 18. Contact our SRC Chair for more information.

  • Human subjects, including surveys
  • Non-human vertebrate animals
  • Pathogens, controlled substances, recombinant DNA
  • Human and/or animal tissue
  • Hazardous substances

Senior Research / Engineering Design (RED) Students (Grades 9-12)

  1. Online student registration here at zFairs
  2. SRC paperwork as required by International Science and Engineering Fair (Rules Wizard to download forms).
    Sponsors, PLEASE be sure to review the SRC paperwork carefully with your student(s). ISEF provides a detailed guide to its paperwork, which will answer many questions.
  3. Senior RED Media Release TerraFairs_MediaRelease.pdf
  4. Registration Fee: $10/student
  5. Registration Deadline: Feb. 4


** SRC = Scientific Review Committee, the team of specialists ensuring the safety and quality of research presented at any internationally-affiliated fair. They determine whether a student’s work is safe and appropriate.

** Judging  will be take place on March 26. If virtual a schedule will be announce in early March.

** Awards Ceremony will be in  April, more information to follow.

Yours is an essential role in the science fair process. As you guide and support a student’s project, you show that scientific experiments and problem solving are an important part of everyday life. 

One last reminder: To prepare a science fair project, students go through several steps. You may help your students to plan ahead and set deadlines for each step. You may walk your students through the process of making projects more manageable and less frustrating by breaking the process down into smaller steps. However, the process is most successful if you are not a drill sergeant with constant reminders and nags. 

Invitation to all Fair-related adults

You are welcome to volunteer on the Fair Committee or serve as a judge - go to the tab at the top of the page!

Welcome, Future Judges at the T3SEF!

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>>> REGISTER by creating an account using the tab on the TOP NAV BAR! <<<

Would you like to judge a science fair?
We hope so and if you have a high school diploma, we have a place for you!

Our goals

  1. Encourage students’ pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  2. Showcase students’ science and engineering research.
  3. Excite students about returning to next year’s science fair.

Who can be a science fair judge?
Junior Level RED and Topic: High School graduates including current college students qualify to judge Junior level projects.
Senior Level RED: College graduates in STEM fields and education, and journeymen in the skilled trades are welcome to judge at both levels.
View the list of categories here.

How will judging be done this year?
This year we will be entirely virtual.  Judges will be divided into teams responsible for a particular category, topic or special award. They will have the opportunity to view each project's materials before joining a live video or audio chat session where they will be able to interview the students.  Judges will again meet privately to deliberate. There will be training opportunities before live judging days.

Depending on the number of projects in the fair and the number of judges available during live sessions, we may spread judging sessions out over a few days.  We hope that this will allow the maximum number of students and judges to fit the fair into their schedules.

When should I register as a judge?
Please register as early as possible. This will help us make sure we have enough judges in appropriate categories and schedule the live sessions in time to notify everyone.
Seven to ten days before the fair, you will receive an e-mail with your assignment (Junior, Senior, Topic Presentation, Special Awards). If you are an experienced judge, you may be selected as a team captain.

Judging Do's and Don'ts

Rule #1:
I will recuse myself if I have any connection to the student, project, school, family or friends.

Rule #2:
I will make this an educational and motivating experience for every kid! The high point of the fair for most students will be MY judging interviews. I will encourage all the participants.

Rule #3:
I will remember that judges represent professional authority to students. So I will use an encouraging tone when asking questions, offering suggestions or giving constructive criticism. I will NOT criticize, treat lightly or act bored toward projects that seem unimportant to me. THE PROJECT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE STUDENT. I willl thank each student for the hard work and accomplishment.

Rule #4:
I will be discreet! I will discuss students and projects only INSIDE the Judge Deliberation Area! Students, parents or teachers may overhear other discussions or receive an email by mistake. ALL results are confidential. No details regarding deliberations are EVER discussed outside the Judges’ Deliberation Area before or afterwards.

Detailed information about judging is in the following documents:
Registered judges will receive specific training for the zFairs judging interface.
Judging Rubrics Though judging will be conducted using online tools, this Research and Engineering Design rubric is the framework we will use.




Principals! Teachers! Home Schoolers!

Are you interested in getting your students involved in the science fair? Whether you enter one student or twenty, we would love to see what your amazing students can do. Schools do not have to register separately; rather, each teacher and student identifies their school when they register. 

If you need help getting started, Contact Us!



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