CWSF Project Classification

3. Programs
Policy Number:
Policy Section: 
CWSF Participation
Approved by: 
National Policy Advisory Committee; National Judging Committee; Executive Director
Date Approved: 
Sat, Dec 13, 2003
Date Effective: 
Date Last Amended: 
Mon, Jul 6, 2015
Date of Next Review: 
Wed, Aug 1, 2018
Executive Director

1 Background

1.1 Projects at the Canada-Wide Science Fair are classified for the purposes of judging and the assignment of awards. The project category is based on the finalist’s school grade and the project type on the methodology employed.

2 Project Categories

2.1 Junior (grade 7 and 8, Secondary I and II in Québec)

2.2 Intermediate (grade 9 and 10, Secondary III and IV in Québec)

2.3 Senior (grade 11, 12, Secondary V, CÉGEP I and II in Québec)

2.4 The category placement of a group project (maximum of two finalists) will be based upon the most senior member of the group.

3 Project Types

3.1 The judging of “scientific thought” requires special attention since a variety of different types of projects exist. The most common types of science fair projects are experiments, innovations and studies. Projects of each type are equally capable of winning top awards at the fair, providing they meet the necessary criteria.

3.2 Experiment

  1. This is traditionally the most common type of science fair project. A winning exhibit of this type should involve an original scientific experiment to test a specific hypothesis in which the young scientist recognizes and controls all significant competing variables and demonstrates excellent collection, analysis, and presentation of data. The judge should also realize that it is not regarded as essential that any significant positive findings result from the project. It must be recognized that it is the design rather than the results that are most important.

3.3 Innovation

  1. A project of this type would involve the development and evaluation of new devices, models, techniques or approaches in fields such as technology, engineering, or computers (both software and hardware). A winning project should integrate several technologies, inventions, or designs and construct an original innovative technological system that will have commercial application and/or human benefit. It must demonstrate how the innovation was designed or developed on the basis of a sound understanding of the scientific, engineering, or technological principles involved.

3.4 Study

  1. This type of project involves the collection and analysis of data from other sources to reveal evidence of a fact, situation, or pattern of scientific interest. This could include a study of cause and effect relationships or theoretical investigations of scientific data. A winning exhibit in this area must be able to demonstrate that the methods used to obtain the original data involved sound scientific techniques and controls, and demonstrate insightful analysis.