S^4 Super Summer Science Search™ 2017 Contest FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

S^4 Super Summer Science Searches Contest for Cupertino Middle School Students

Here are a few fast answers to the questions we hear the most. For complete information, see the links at the bottom of the page.

Q: Who can participate in the S^4 contest?

A: All outgoing 6th, 7th and 8th graders living within the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD). All participants must register with parental consent between May 1 and June 1, 2017.

Q: Does it cost anything to enter the contest?

A: No, it’s free, thanks to the Cupertino Library Foundation (CLF), and a generous grant from the Peter Likhachev Family Foundation. The contest is co-sponsored by CLF, the CUSD and the Cupertino Library, part of the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD).

Q: You said there are prizes? What can I win?


First place-$400 for each team member or equivalent value prizes: Wacom Intuos Pro, Jetson TX1, Maker Select Plus 3D Printer

Second place-$200 for each team member or equivalent value prizes: Arduino kit, Science Museum passes, Telescopes

Third place-$100-for each team member or equivalent value prizes: Microscope kits or Raspberry Pi

S^4 Super Summer Science Search Contest Study Session for Cupertino Middle School StudentsQ: Do I work by myself, or are there teams?

A: You can work independently or in a team of up to three other students. Invite your friends! Remember that each student/team member must complete the registration by June 1, 2017.

Q: Do I have to attend the Workshop Sessions?

A: No, but it is highly encouraged! You’ll learn information that is helpful to completing your project, meet with other students in the contest, eat snacks, and be eligible for prize drawings. See the Workshop Sessions page for more information.

Q: Do I have to use the library databases to do the research?

A: Yes, you must use the SCCLD databases, and you must list at least three of those databases in your “Works Cited” document to be eligible for judging. You are allowed to use other resources—websites, books, magazines, newspapers, interviews, etc.—and list them in your “Works Cited.” Citing sources such as Wikipedia is not recommended. See our Database Suggestions page.

S^4 Super Summer Science Search Contest WinnersQ: Do I need a library card?

A: Yes, if you do not already have a library card you will need to get one from the SCCLD, along with a personal PIN number. See the library’s website for more information.

Q: What is the Contest Prompt?

A: It’s the prompt for your research, report and presentation.  See the Contest Prompt and Official Rules pages for more information.

Cupertino Library Foundation Teen Council assists with S^4 Super Summer Science Search ContestQ: What is a “Works Cited” document?

A: It is a list of all resources you use in your research. Use the MLA format for your citings document, as found on the Purdue OWL website.

Q: What is the journal?

A: We require every individual or team to keep a journal as you are working on your project (no more than five pages total). Start the journal when you begin your research, and keep track of your steps and thoughts day by day. Write down the date and a brief description. If you do nothing on some days, just say so. If you are working on a team, you can take turns on entries in the journal, or create a brief joint entry. You decide the format you want to use. Judges find the journals useful to understand the critical thinking, creativity and research methods used by students as they develop their projects.

S^4 Super Summer Science Search ContestQ: What am I supposed to do for a presentation?

A: Choose the format you like best: slideshow, video, audio, Prezi, webpage, etc., and then be creative and have fun! Do not simply restate your written report, and make sure it is no longer than five minutes.

Q: What format should I use for my report?

A: Your written report and works cited should follow MLA (Modern Language Association) format as defined on the Purdue OWL website. Judges will consider if your report follows MLA formatting, and will mark down the score if it does not. If you have any questions, ask the contest program manager, one of the S^4 team, or mentors at the study sessions.

Q: How are winning entries selected?

A: Entries are checked to make sure that all requirements are met. Two groups of judges then read through the entries using the judging criteria found in our Official Rules. We suggest you focus on the originality of your thoughts and ideas. Be creative!

S^4 Super Summer Science Search Contest Grand Prize Winner 2014Q: When can I submit my entry?

A: All qualified contestants will receive instructions on how to submit on July 1, 2017. You may submit your entry anytime between then and 11:59 p.m., PDT, August 1, 2017. Entries submitted after that deadline will not be eligible for judging.

 S^4 Super Summer Science Search Links

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