Explore the most recent High School Manual for requirements, regulations and expectations for the fair.
Restricted Areas of Research
Hazardous Chemicals, Activities or Devices (page 13)
Human Subjects (page 16)
Vertebrate Animals (page 20)
Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents (PHBAs) page 25
Research Plan Templates (please make a copy to edit)
Template: Engineering with Humans
Template: Human Subjects
Template: PHBA – Biological Agents
Template: Vertebrate Animals
Please see manual for more details
A project may include no more than 12 months of continuous research and may not include research performed before January of the year prior to the fair.
Individual projects must be entirely the work of the individual student and team projects (up to 3) must be entirely the work of the team.
Required forms must be submitted to the Regional Scientific Review Committee for approval BEFORE starting experimentation.
Students are required to keep a bound or digital notebook with original and dated entries to record each step taking in the development of the project.
Students must have a final lab report, complete with works cited. This should include all the steps of the scientific method or the engineering design process.
Students must have a visual display prepared for presentation at the Fair. Consult the manual for restrictions on materials for the Fair presentation and venue.
Judges (professionals and academics in STEM) volunteer their time to review student projects. Judge scores are based on a student’s understanding of their project, not it’s sophistication. Review the Judges Rubric with your students to help them prepare for the experience.
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The 2023 High School Awards results can be found here.
Students who engage in research in the following categories MUST get prior approval before starting experimentation. This prior approval MUST come from the Regional High School Scientific Review Committee (SRC) for projects that involve
The following forms are required. MSEF uses the same forms as ISEF so you can preview them here. Once you have a research plan, you can create an account and fill out these forms digitally in the zFairs platform.
Checklist for Adult Sponsor (Form 1), Student Checklist (Form 1A), Research Plan/ Project Summary, and Approval Form (Form 1B)
Regulated Research Institution Form (Form 1C), when applicable
Qualified Scientist Form (Form 2), when applicable
Risk Assessment (Form 3), when applicable
Human Subjects (Form 4), when applicable – Print out this form for signatures and upload to zFairs
Vertebrate Animal (Forms 5A, 5B), when applicable
PHBA Risk Assessment Form (Form 6A), when applicable
Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (Form 6B), for all studies involving tissues and body fluids
Continuation Form (Form 7), for projects that build on earlier projects
For students who have participated in a project in past years, please consider if you need form 7 completed. It’s full title is “Continuation/Research Progression Project”. Sometimes this form is needed even if this year’s project is distinct from last years. This form is designed to clearly outline those differences.
A continuation project shows that you have progressed forward with your research, which is a valuable experience in STEM.
The two pathways for student participation at the State Fair: Regional Fair Promotion and Direct Entry
All student projects must go through the Regional Fair approval systems before the regional fair is held to participate in either pathway.
Review this slideshow for more details and resources.
Your presentation should tell the story of your project so that it explains your project and shows your understanding and interest in your work. This is a recommended format.
There are several accepted formats for a Final Report, also called a Research Paper or a Lab Report. This is one recommendation:
Your lab notebook should be worked on throughout the duration of your project. This is the ‘journal’ of your work. These handbooks have helpful sections for components of your project.
Science Research Process Handbook
You can update your project, but you cannot add any new procedures. You can repeat trials, but not try to test something in a new way. You must stay consistent with your research plan that was reviewed and approved by the SRC committees. Fixing up slides and graphs is fine and even encouraged!
You should not rename your project or change categories for judging after the Regional Fair.
Click HERE for a combined rubric for Science, Engineering and Math Projects
MSEF realizes that there may be conflicts with the scheduling of SAT and AP exams and MSEF events. However, please note that science fair students have the option to schedule these exams without conflict. Please reach out to MSEF at [email protected] with questions.
One set of safety guidelines refers to the time during which you are doing your experiment. The other set of safety guidelines refers to what you can bring the day of the science fair as part of your project display. Some of the guidelines overlap, but there are differences, so be sure to look at both sets. Consult the manual for more information. On the day of the science fair, there will be safety checks of all projects before the judging takes place.
ISEF, (International Science and Engineering Fair) is a national competition for top high school winners from the Regional Fairs. MSEF informs students of their selection and provides all necessary information for participation. Due to the timing of the Fairs, it is not possible to qualify for ISEF at the statewide fair.
Please note: some MSEF rules and expectations vary. If you are competing at MSEF it is important to familiarize yourself with the state specific rules in the High School manual linked above.