You can be Science Fair Ready

The Science & Engineering Fair Journey

A science or engineering fair project is an opportunity for you to deeply investigate a topic you are passionate about using the same scientific methods or engineering design processes as professionals. Your journey to becoming Science Fair Ready begins here.

This page provides links to MSEF resources and sources of inspiration.


Middle School & High School FAQs

  • Do teachers have to register before students can submit paperwork on zFairs?

    Yes. Teachers must have an account in the Regional zFairs page so students can choose their name on registration. Please review the zFairs tutorial on the Resources page for more information.

  • How can I participate if my school does not have a Fair program?

    You can still participate if your teacher will review and sign all the necessary forms for you to register for your Regional and State fairs. Remember you will be responsible for understanding all the safety rules, deadlines and for making sure all required forms are submitted on time. You and your teacher will still need to set up accounts in zFairs. Explore the “Educator” page for more information.

    Student eligibility is based on their school. See more details on the Student Eligibility Policy HERE.

  • How do I find the contact information for the region?

    Consult the Fairs page on this website to find your region and contact information. Paperwork and approvals must follow deadlines for your regional fair. Please consult your regional contacts for questions about the fair event.

    MSEF can provide additional support for resources, opportunities, and trouble-shooting during your project work.

  • When does the paperwork for project approval need to be submitted?

    After the teacher makes an account, project paperwork for SRC (Scientific Review Committee) must be submitted by regional deadlines. Projects in restricted categories need pre-approval from the Regional SRC before experimentation can begin.

    Go to for 6-8th grade details.

    Go to for 9-12th grade details.

  • What are the differences between Middle School and High School projects?

    The regions and fair structure is still the same between Middle School (6-8th grade) and High School (9-12th grade). Some regions hold their Middle School fair later in the spring. There are more restrictions on the materials and projects that you are allowed to do in Middle School. Please review the page for more information.

  • What happens if I start and my project doesn’t work out?

    It is still an acceptable project if you disprove your hypothesis, weren’t able to complete enough tests, or were not successful in other ways. Being able to identify problems and articulate what you could have done differently shows judges that you have an understanding of your project area. Sometimes we actually learn more about the process and ourselves when things don’t go to plan. MSEF Alumni report that the mistakes they made in Middle School and High School projects helped them be stronger in STEM, both academically and professionally.

  • Is access to a lab essential for a strong project?

    Absolutely not. Data from past Science Fair winners has not shown that lab access provides an advantage. While some projects certainly benefit from access to lab equipment and resources, there are many project areas where it is not needed or appropriate. As long as you aren’t working with restricted materials that need a lab, judges appreciate and respect the ingenuity of creating materials and improvising. You can also consider exploring data analysis, computer modeling, social science or environmental studies among many other focal areas.

  • Can team projects involve students from different schools and regions?

    Student teams composed of members that attend different high schools are eligible to compete in the MSEF as a direct entry through the school of enrollment for the Team Leader. The teacher of record for the team/project must be employed at the same school of enrollment as the Team Leader. The teacher/team must secure approval from the appropriate person at this same school to enter MSEF as a direct entrant from said school.

    The following team compositions are allowed:

    • Students attending different high schools within the same Massachusetts Region.
    • Students attending different high schools in different Massachusetts Regions.
    • Students attending different high schools in different states, as long as the Team Leader attends
      a Massachusetts High School.
    • Students attending different high schools in different countries, as long as the Team Leader attends a Massachusetts High School.

    Note that accepted entry of any of the above team compositions will qualify the team for competition in the Massachusetts STATE level Fair (MSEF) that is affiliated with ISEF. In accordance with ISEF policy and MSEF policy, this multi-school team may only participate in one (1) ISEF-affiliated fair; in this case – the State Fair of the Team Leader’s high school. This policy has no bearing on eligibility for competition in Regional level Fairs in Massachusetts that are affiliated with ISEF.

    See more in the Student Eligibility Policy HERE.

Explore the Fair process and how to participate

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