Welcome to the Terra American Students Abroad / Terra International Students Science & Engineering Fairs

Important Dates & Times

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Your fairs, your opportunity!

>> Registration opened October 1. You can now create an account >>>>>>

WHAT: TASASEF serves American students living outside the U.S. who cannot compete in English for possible advancement to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) through an internationally-affiliated fair in the country in which they live. TISSEF serves all other students living outside the United States who are similarly "orphaned" from possible ISEF advancement. Both fairs and this zFairs portal are sponsored by Terra Science and Education.

WHO: High school students attending public, private, charter, parochial or home schools
     TASASEF serves students from the United States who study in any other country.
     TISSEF serves students in countries outside the United States who unable to access an ISEF-affiliated science and engineering fair. They may be expatriates or nationals.
     BOTH fairs will accept ONLY students who can document they are unable to compete for ISEF in another affiliated fair! First, visit the ISEF site and check in their FindAFair tool. Then, use
this document to verify your specific eligibility. If the country in which you live is not listed at either place, register here for your fair!

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 opened October 1. We suggest you use the impressive ideas and information at ISEF and ScienceBuddies to begin preparation for your research. Registration will close on Feb. 1st. Your 2022 entries will be uploaded in February, and judged asynchronously in March of 2022, using a secure portal provided by zFairs. Live second-round judging later that month will be conducted in child-safe virtual spaces. In April we will celebrate your achievements at our virtual Awards Ceremony!


  1. Registration
    • Student & Project
    • Teachers
    • Judges 
    • Volunteers 
  2. Submission of all safety and permission forms (SRC paperwork)
  3. SRC reviews
  4. Project material uploads
  5. Judging and scoring
  6. Sharing additional material such as how to bring your project to the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) for American students, GENIUS Olympiad for international students, and other competitions for additional opportunities.


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Let's begin with a few quick questions:

Am I eligible?

  • Are you a high school student attending public, private, base, charter, parochial or home school? Good, then keep going ...
  • TASASEF: Are you an American student living outside the United States? Is there no fair in your HOST country that will allow you to compete for possible advancement to ISEF? Then register for TASASEF!
  • TISSEF: Are you unable to compete in English for possible advancement to ISEF in the country in which you live? Then YES - welcome to TISSEF!

First check ISEF's FindAFair tool to identify the fair in the country in which you live.
Then please verify your eligibility with our
Eligibility List.
If you have any questions, if you have conflicting information,
or you
live in a country that has yet to inform Terra of expatriate students' status,
please contact our Director at terrafairs@terraed.org.

How do I participate this year?

  • You can do your research anywhere - concentrating at kitchen tables or outdoors, accessing online data, joining a Citizen Science project, or working at school or in a laboratory. However you do this, you must follow our SAFETY rules and complete your safety forms ASAP.
  • Your project falls into one of two classifications - 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.

What do I need to participate?

First, an idea! [Don't worry - we can help you find plenty of help.]

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

For fair registration, safety review, and judging, you will need an internet connection. We can help on that if you can't get reliable access.

A registration fee is charged for each student, currently $200US full cost, and $125US "early bird" before Dec. 31st. Students with sponsors (see below) will pay $20US. Details are on the Teachers page.
TASASEF: A sponsor has pledged funds to cover 90% of the fee for American students. They will receive a discount code to submit with their payment.

TISSEF: Several sponsors are already covering 90% of the TISSEF registration fees for eligible students. Those students will receive a discount code to submit with their payment.
      [1] Children of Class A mechanics
      [2] Children of missionaries in the Lutheran World Federation communion of churches
**** Please contact the Director at terrafairs@terraed.org if you wish to connect us with a potential international student sponsor (e.g., the parent's corporation, a professional association, or a cultural foundation). ****

Where can I get ideas for a science or engineering 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 interesting, or check YouTube for NOVA and other clips.
  • Do an online search with your adult for "Citizen Science" to ID great projects you can join from NASA, NOAA, Cornell University, Nurdle Patrol, or all sorts of other places.
  • Science Buddies is a terrific starting point with ideas to explore, scientists' and engineers' videos to watch, even "Ask and Expert" resources!

What about SAFETY?
Safety is our top priority! It is important that an adult reviews all your procedures BEFORE you begin experimenting or building. Sometimes additional adults sign forms documenting they have the specific expertise to make sure all involved in the project are safe. Be sure to gather accurate adults' signatures and dates to document that the evaluation was completed before your research was started.

  • TOPIC: You will complete the TASA/TISSEF Permission Form
  • RED: You will complete the appropriate Scientific Research Committee (SRC) forms.
    • Get a head start by using the ISEF Wizard to determine which forms to complete. Start completing them IMMEDIATELY so you can submit them to the SRC for approval.
    • Important: BEFORE Senior Research can begin, the SRC must approve the project, so it is vital to submit these forms as soon as possible.
    • However, if you have already started your research, don't panic. Email the SRC Chair now and we will see how best to handle completion of your forms.

So ... how do I get ready for the fair?
The process is not complicated!

  • Get that idea firmed up. It can be about something you'd like to investigate, a question that's been bouncing around your mind for a while, a machine or program on which the back of your brain has been chewing ... or it can be something you found on Science Buddies, NASA.gov, anywhere.
  • Register for the Fair.
  • Talk your idea over with at least one adult.
  • Submit your safety paperwork.
  • Complete your project.
  • Prepare to share all you have learned with others.

What about judging in March?
You will present your project in first round by uploading these items via this zFairs portal.


  • Project abstract
    This brief summary of your work is part of your registration process. Both Fair and Special Awards Judges will begin their review of your work with your abstract.
  • Project presentation
    In place of the poster used for in-person fairs, you use this slide deck to present your work to the judges. Here you share how you prepared for and conducted your work, the results of your research, the conclusions you reached, and what further work might follow from this year's efforts. This is for specialists in your field, so technical information is appropriate.
  • Two-minute video
    You may open with an "elevator speech" no longer than 30 seconds, then share the insights you have gained from your work. This and the Quad Chart are the key items for the Public Viewing, so keep them both simple and understandable.
  • Quad Chart
    Here you summarize your project for the lay audience who will visit your project during Public Viewing! Click to this PDF for the suggested formats for Topic Presentations, Science RED, Engineering RED, and Math/Computer RED projects.


  • Video demonstration / simulation / animation (one-minute maximum)
    Engineering projects, this may be the best way to explain what you did, or perhaps you want to show just how simple or complicated your process or equipment was. Just be sure to follow our Display and Safety guidelines, please.
  • Research paper
    You are not required to produce a paper in addition to your project presentation, but if you prepare a paper, we encourage you to include it. It pleases many of the judges, because you can share even more details about your preparatory literature review or market analysis, the twists and turns of your research process, and your vision for future work in this field.
  • Lab notebook image or excerpt
    A PDF with up to four pages from your laboratory notebook will be accepted. (This restriction is applied in order to protect your intellectual property. No one but you and your research sponsor or mentor should have access to all of your research process and data points.)

Our first round of worldwide-judging will be asynchronous, using YOUR videos, documents, slide decks, and other files. That round will identify which students receive Fair Honors and Special Awards, and which schools earn Terra Prizes. Second round judging identifies projects for international advancement. These TASASEF and TISSEF Finalists will participate in live online conversations with distinguished judges who will explore how each student did the research or created the project.

And now ... for the RED projects, here is our "road map" to guide you through your safety paperwork - the SRC forms.

RED Road Map to Your TASASEF / TISSEF Project
courtesy of K. Stuart Smith, SRC Chair of the TNRSEF


City Honors with Carrie Wang02.pngHello, Sponsors -
Teachers, Parents and Mentors.

Welcome to TASASEF and TISSEF!

Let's get started!

1. Verify student eligibility and status.

TASASEF and TISSEF welcome students in grades 9-12 who live outside the United States and cannot compete for possible ISEF advancement in their host country's ISEF-affiliated science fair.

Students may participate in either of two formats:

  • Topic Presentations (TOPIC): TOPIC students 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. Note: This optimizes the literature review year for students in multi-year research programs.
  • Research / Engineering Design (RED): RED students conduct an experiment or complete an engineering project. 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)!
You are guides & supporters - 
signers of paperwork, monitors for safety,
taxi drivers, and sometimes photographers or proof readers.

3. Pay your student's registration fees.

  • Early bird registration: $125US/student. Early bird ENDS Dec. 31.
  • Full registration: $200US/student. Full fees are applied Jan. 1 - Feb. 1.
  • Current 90% discounts provided by sponsors (details re required documentation upon request):
    • TASASEF:
      • Anonymous 2022 donor: All American students (this includes U.S. citizens and permanent residents!)
    • TISSEF:
      • Families in Service to the World Fund: Current sponsor in place for families serving through the Lutheran World Federation 
      • Hancox Fund: All children of Class A mechanics 

To pay for your students' project(s) via Credit, Debit or PayPal, please use the link you will find in the registration process.
If you are paying by check, please make checks payable to Terra Science & Education (include TASASEF or TISSEF and your student's name on the memo line) and mail to:

Terra Fairs c/o Karen Valentino
835 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13204
United States of America

Once you've registered yourself and started your student on the process, you shift to monitor mode ...

4. Double check project safety and required paperwork.

Review the Student Info and Registration page in detail!

Topic Presenters
Remember, TOPIC students have done NO experiment or design work. They have collected NO data. They have made NO changes to their model.

  1. Online student registration here in zFairs
  2. Topic Presenter Guide and Adult Checklist Terra Safety and Permission Form.pdf

Senior Research / Engineering Design (RED) Students
These students have collected data or made things that they repeatedly modified.

  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.

** 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.

** First Round Judging of all students will be conducted asynchronously in early March.

** Live virtual Second Round Judging will be conducted in child-safe virtual spaces later that month.

** The Awards Ceremony will be live-streamed in April.

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 - simply go to the tab at the top of the page or contact the Fair Director today!

TASA-TISSEF logo.pngWelcome, Future Judges

>>> REGISTER by creating an account <<<

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

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

Who can be a science fair judge?
College graduates in STEM fields and education, and journeymen in the skilled trades may register as Fair Judges. High school graduates may serve as Special Awards judges.

How will judging be conducted?
As we serve students in every time zone, TASA and TISSEF are conducted entirely as virtual fairs.

Round One will be asynchronous; students upload files which the assigned judges review over a period of several days. Judges will use the fairs' rubrics to score each project and submit comments as appropriate. Judges will be assigned projects based upon their category preferences.

Round Two will be live, conducted in child-safe virtual spaces. Depending on the number of projects in the fair, we may conduct individual Round Two Judging over a few days, or judge in panel format.

When should I register as a judge?
Please register as early as possible. This will help us secure enough judges in appropriate categories.
Training will be provided. 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. The comments I add to the rubric will encourage all the participants.

Rule #3
In Round Two, 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 Virtual Space, or in consultation with Fair staff! Students, parents or teachers may inadvertently witness other discussions or receive an email in error. ALL results are confidential. No details regarding deliberations are EVER discussed outside the Judges’ Deliberation or secured Terra Virtual Spaces before or afterwards.

Finally ...
  1. Training: Registered judges will receive specific training for the zFairs judging interface.

  2. Judging Rubrics: Though judging will be conducted using online tools, these RED and TOPIC Judging Rubrics will introduce you to the framework we will use.

More detailed information about judging will be uploaded by Jan. 1, 2022.

Volunteers are ALWAYS needed and welcome ...
YOU are welcome to join us on this new adventure!

In fall of 2021, TASA/TISSEF is recruiting additional members for its Fair Committee -
the volunteer team that helps recruit students and judges, publicize the fair,
engage new sponsors, conduct Fair Day, and plan the year-round priorities to make for a successful fair.

Please consider joining this exciting project with other dedicated people from around the world!

Contact the Fair Director today.

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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.

Simply have students and teachers enter school information when they register. CHECK FIRST TO SEE IF YOUR SCHOOL IS ALREADY IN THE LIST!

Students and teachers, be sure to click on your tab on the home page, and review in detail your opportunities and responsibilities.

If you need help getting started, contact us.
If you would like the Director to meet virtually with you or with staff, students, and/or parents, contact us.

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