Introduction to Science Fair Ready Framework

This framework for middle and high school teachers provides guidance for successful implementation of science and engineering projects driven by student interest and initiative. It includes information and resources to help your classroom easily navigate the process and policies for participating in a fair at the school, regional, and state level. The framework is designed to prepare your classroom to be Science Fair Ready!

To access these materials, please fill out this form. Upon submission, you will receive access to the framework and supporting resources that include:

Science Fair Ready: Process, Project, Policy

The framework has three main sections to help you easily locate guidance and resources:

  • Process: Organized as Observe, Plan, Explore, Explain, this section walks through the process for developing project ideas, conducting research, analyzing data, and communicating results.
  • Project Guidance: This section provides support and resources including Project Registration, Scientific Review Committee, Timeline Tools, and Display Board Guidance to help students meet project requirements and stay on track.
  • Policies & Regulations: This section includes summaries of MSEF policies for quick reference to current rules & regulations.

MSEF Student Resources: This additional section includes guiding documents, videos and resources that were created by teachers and students for both middle school and high school students.  Students and Parents can secure access to this folder by filling out this form.

What are some benefits of participating in a science & engineering fair?

The Science & Engineering Journey

Participating in a science & engineering fair is an opportunity for students to guide their own long-term investigation on a topic they are passionate about. Although this framework is based on the scientific method and engineering design process, an independent investigation is most successful when it engages in an iterative process with emphasis on reflection and revision. Each student will have a unique experience during their project, and these personal journeys are an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Completing an independent research project can build self-confidence and provide a sense of fulfillment.

“I learned about time management, communication, perseverance, organization, and useful technical skills.” – High School MSEF Participant 2021

Learners vs. Winners

Although science and engineering fairs involve an element of competition, this experience should celebrate each student’s learning journey. As students become the “expert” on a topic that resonates with them, they will be able to share their knowledge with (and learn from) their peers, community, and the judges. The judging process is more than picking who will get awards, as it also provides an opportunity for student engagement and feedback with professionals in science and engineering fields.

“In the end, success was being able to explain the scientific process and the methods used in my experiment to anyone who asked. And not boring them to death. Success was also clicking the submit button and feeling like the project I was about to put forward was something I was proud of, and that I could say I worked hard on”  – Middle School Science Fair Participant 2021

Interdisciplinary Experience

Independent student projects can be an interdisciplinary experience, combining skills from science, engineering, social studies, math, technology, and language arts. There is an opportunity for students to investigate questions or issues that are relevant to their local community. Exploring personal or societal issues through an independent project provides “provide a rich and motivating context in which students can learn scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts that unify the study of science and engineering, and the disciplinary core ideas of the sciences and engineering (Klosterman and Sadler 2010, via NSTA Position).”

“I learned that you don’t have to wait until you’re an adult or in college to solve real world problems using science.  The projects of all the students are incredible and shows the potential of youth to truly make an impact.” – High School MSEF Participant 2021

Special thanks to the teachers, students and organizations who contributed to the creation of these materials.