Welcome to the Oakland Science and Engineering Fair

Important Dates & Times

Oakland Science & Engineering Fair (OSEF).png

Congratulations to all particpiating students!

390 Projects were submitted!

Over 600 students participated!

56 scientists/engineers judged projects!

Check out this year's projects by going to the showcase under "Fair" on this website or by viewing this spreadsheet.

Share your thoughts on our community padlet.




The 2021 Oakland Science & Engineering Fair (OSEF), the 63rd Annual District Science & Engineering Fair, will be held virtually this year. Going virtual last year was a great success! We had 166 students and 55 local STEM professionals participate and 107 projects submitted. In the midst of a pandemic, students showcased their scientific creativiy and engineering ingenuity. Explore last year's projects.

This year's OSEF will take place on May 3-7, 2021.

Timeline for the 2021 Virtual OSEF:

  • January - Kick-off and announce this year's OSEF!
  • February 2 - Info Session for OSEF Coordinators
  • February-April - Students work on projects!
  • March 24 - Deadline for students to register for OSEF by creating an account on this website
  • April 28 - Deadline for students to submit a project to this website
  • May 3-7
    • Monday May 3-Tuesday May 4 - Local STEM professionals review student projects 
    • Wednesday May 5-Friday May 7 - Students and STEM professionals discuss projects over zoom! Projects will be shared for the community to review, comment on and celebrate!
  • End of May - Students receive feedback on their project, OSEF certificate, ribbon or medal, and prizes!

To particpiate students must:

  1. Register by creating an account on this website by March 24 to let us know they are participating!
  2. Complete a science or engineering project. This can be done as part of a class or completed independently at home. We encourage students to collaborate digitally with their classmates and/or to work with their family - science and engineering are collaborative!
  3. Keep a journal/notebook of their work and findings throughout the project. This can be done in a paper notebook or digitally.
  4. Showcase their findings by writing a scientific abstract and creating a video, poster or other artifact explaining the results and what was learned from the project. 
  5. Submit evidence of the project by April 28. All work must be submitted on this website.
  6. Optional: Participate in a zoom call, moderated by a teacher, with a local STEM professional on to share about your project and learn about the STEM professionsals work!

This checklist is a useful tool that goes over the submission criteria, with desciptions and examples.

Community members can participate by:

  • Registering to be a Judge! Go to the Judges Page to learn more.
  • Returning here or visitng the OUSD Science website on May 7-8 to view and comment on student projects

We look forward to celebrating our young scientists and engineers...the world needs you now more than ever!



If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Pipping - sarah.pipping@ousd.org.



Hello Young Scientist or Engineer!

Watch this video for a step-by-step guide of how to submit your work!


We are so excited to learn from your research! By participating in this year's OSEF you will:

  • Strengthen your STEM skills and contribute to the fields of science and engineering!
  • Get feedback on your project from STEM professionals!
  • Have the chance to meet virtually with a scientist or engineer to talk about your project and learn about their research/job!
  • Be awarded an OSEF Certificate, a ribbon or medal, and be entered into a raffle for additional prizes!

It's important you let us know you are participating so we can support you. You must:

  1. Make an account on this webiste by Wednesday March 24. See video at the bottom of this page for support.
  2. Submit your project to this website by Wednesday April 28. See video at the bottom of this page for support.

Maybe you're doing this as part of a class assignment or maybe you're doing it on your own, either way your teacher can help you and you should reach out to them for support.

Follow the steps below to participate:

  1. Figure out what's required. This checklist explains what you have to submit for your project. Review it carefully so you are thinking ahead.
  2. Choose a project. What are you interested in or passionate about? What is a question you have always been curious about? What is a problem you have always wanted to solve? If you feel stuck try:
  3. Start a Journal. Figure out how you are going to document all your thinking, findings and questions as you do your project. Your journal could be a notebook, a google doc, notes/pics/voice memos/video on a phone, or scraps of paper put together. It doesn't matter what your journal is, or if it is on paper or digital, just as long as you keep track of all your findings and ideas!
  4. Think about the why. Why is this project important? How will it contribute to science and society? Why does it matter to you?
  5. Access your prior knowledge and do some background research. What do you already know about this topic? What is already known about this project? Document what you already know and do some research to further develop your question or problem and make your project stronger.
  6. Develop a plan. How will you answer your question or solve your problem? 
    • If you're working on a science investigation you should determine what your variables are, what materials you need, what steps you'll take and the data you'll collect.
    • If you're working on an engineering project you should think about all the possible solutions to your problem, determine what materials you'll need to build and test your solutions, and develop criteria and contraints.
  7. Make a prediction. What do you think will happen? What might the answer to your question be? What will be the best solution to your problem? If your answer/solution is right, what do you predict the data you collect will be?
  8. Do the work! Carry out your plan. Set up your experiment, collect your data, build your prototype/model, test your solution, do what you need to do to answer your question or solve your problem. Don't forget to document all your thinking, findings and any new questions that come up...your journal should be by your side the entire time!
  9. Make Sense of Your Work. Examine your data....what is it telling you? What conclusions can you make? Based on your results, what is your current best answer to your question or solution to your problem? What does it all mean? What do you want to study next?
  10. Share Your Findings. Figure out how you want to share your findings. Do you want to make a poster? Record a video? Write a report? Regardless of how you share your findings, you need explain your question or problem, what you did and how, the results you got and what it all means. Refer to the checklist to figure out what you have to submit and the rubric to see how your project is evaluated.
  11. Submit your work! Create an account with Zfairs and submit your work. Watch the video below to see how to register and submit your work. Check out these slides for a step-by-step guide for how to make an account. 

  12. Celebrate! You've worked hard! Celebrate that you completed a science & engineering fair project, that is no small feat! One of the best ways to celebrate is to talk about your work and defend your thinking, so make sure you participate in a zoom call on Wednesday May 5 to talk about your work with a scientist or engineer. By the end of May we'll send you feedback on your project, an OSEF certificate, and a ribbon or medal.



Reach out to your teacher if you have questions or need help!

You can also email Sarah who supports the OSEF - sarah.pipping@ousd.org

Hi Teachers!

Thank you for taking the time to support your students' pursuit of STEM!

Here are the ways you can support your students with OSEF:

  1. Check in with your OSEF coordinator. We are hoping to identify one person from every school site that would like to serve as the OSEF coordinator. Don't see one for your school site? It could be you!
  2. Make an account for this website.
  3. Review the Student Tab on this website to make sure you are clear on the process and requirements.
  4. Review the OSEF Resources that have been compiled by fellow hardworking OUSD teachers.
  5. Integrate OSEF into your distance learning plan with your students or set up times to work with students 1-on-1 who are interested in participating. 



This virtual OSEF process is new to all of us...we welcome any and all feedback.

Reach out to Sarah if you have questions or comments - sarah.pipping@ousd.org

Hi Judges!

Thank you for taking the time to be a part of our second-ever virtual Science & Engineering Fair!

OSEF doesn't techincal have judges, at least not in the traditional Science & Engineering Fair way. We like to think of each of you as a mentor or collaborator for our students. While we do evaluate student projects using the ISEF rubric, we do not give out awards based on those scores and we only share feedback, not scores with students. As an educator community, we use your scores and feedback to help our students reflect on their strengths and areas of growth and as a way to guide and improve our program and teaching.

By signing up to be a judge you are committing to:

  • Attending a OSEF Judge Training on April 29 from 4-5pm on Zoom. The training will be recorded if you can't make it, but we hope you can be on the Zoom with us!
  • Reviewing and evaluating your assigned projects on your own time between May 3-4.
  • Participate in a Zoom call May 5-7 sometime during the school day. Teachers will schedule the exact date and time. On the Zoom call, you will chat with students whose projects you reviewed and have the opportunity to ask them questions, give them feedback and share about your research/job.

If you are interested in being a judge please create an account on this website and register as a judge!

We look forward to working with you and celebrating our students' research!



This is the second time we are bringing judges into our District Fair and using the Zfairs platform, so we appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we adopt these new practices and tools and we welcome your feedback and ideas.

Reach out to Sarah if you have any questions - sarah.pipping@ousd.org.



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