Do teachers have to register before students can submit paperwork on zFairs? Yes, a teacher must register so that when students fill out the forms the school and teacher name is available as a choice to select on the zFairs platform.

Once I know what region my school is in, how do I find the contact information for the regional chair and when the regional fair will take place? Here’s a list of the six Regional Fairs, including contact information and fair dates.

How do I know in what region my school is located? Here’s a list of the six regions and the towns included in each one.

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.

Are any approvals needed before beginning projects? Yes, research plans (Form 1A & 1B and C & D if necessary) need to be approved by the Regional Scientific Review Committee to be sure that the proposed project follows all safety rules.  If promoted to the State Science Fair, the project will be checked again for safety. These forms will all need to be downloaded, then uploaded with signatures, to zFairs.

Can a parent be a designated supervisor (Form D)? Yes, at the middle school level, a parent may supervise a student’s project if the parent has the expertise to do so.

How do I know if a student’s project has been approved? Teachers and students will receive an email once SRC has approved the project. Students can also log into zFairs to check on status.

What can I do 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.

How do students who placed at the Regional fair get entered into the State fair?  The top 40 will be automatically promoted as a State Fair participant via the zFair platform and information will be sent about the details of the State Fair. Each school can additionally send one direct entry to the state fair. Please inform your regional chair about a direct entry so they can promote to the state fair.

What is the Broadcom MASTERS? The Broadcom MASTERS (“Math, Applied Science, Technology, Engineering Rising Stars”) is a national competition for the top 10% of winners from all middle school regional and state fairs. Students with qualified projects receive a certificate and information about submitting their projects online. It is the student’s responsibility to submit their project by the deadline. You can find out more about Broadcom MASTERS by going to the SSP website.

What are the requirements for MSEF and the fair to be judged?

  • Display Board (you can upload your PDF or slides to zFairs but a project board must be displayed at the fair)
  • Lab Report with work cited
  • Bound logbook: hand written, dated & signed on each page

Do I get less space if I need electricity? Yes. This is due to the limited number of outlets and the layout of the exhibit hall. We suggest charging computer laptops before you arrive, if that is the only reason you need to have electricity access.

Why are there two sets of safety guidelines? 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.  On the day of the science fair, there will be safety checks of all projects before the judging takes place.

Are there any restrictions on what I can bring the day of the state fair? Yes, there are some that are due to space limitations, to restrictions of the venue and for safety at a public event. You can find a list of prohibitions here.

PROJECT SAFETY and MATERIALS:

Where are the safety rules for project work? Look in this Manual or click here Research Rules.

Are “human consent” forms necessary even if the student is just observing people for the experiment? Yes, the people you are observing need to give their permission to be observed, even if they might not be aware that you are doing it. If you observe people who are under 18, you need to have their parent/guardian sign the Human Consent Form.

Can I use any rating level of video game, movie/video clip/music in my experiment? No. The ratings must be appropriate for middle school student experimenters and their subjects. The following ratings are the only ones that can be used:

  • Video/clip – C, E, or E+
  • Movie – G or PG
  • Music – The title, lyrics and artist must be submitted for approval prior to beginning the experiment.

Can we use compost in an experiment? No. There is a possibility that the experimenter may unknowingly cultivate harmful microorganisms that could cause disease or allergic reactions.

Can I observe food spoiling under different conditions? No. There is a possibility that the experimenter may unknowingly cultivate harmful microorganisms that could cause disease or allergic reactions.

Can I do an experiment to find out if there are bacteria on doorknobs, countertops and bathroom surfaces? No. It is not safe to grow bacteria from either an inside or outside environment. The reason for this safety rule is that the bacterial or other microbial species is unknown and could be disease causing, thereby posing a health risk for the experimenter.

Is it OK under the safety rules to do experiments about chewing gum since gum is not swallowed? No, any experiment that involves putting anything in the mouth, on the tongue or teeth is not allowed.

What soil can I use for planting projects? Because of the potential of pathogenic agents, only bagged, sterile potting soil may be used. Not all potting soil is sterilized so make sure you look for that on the label.

For Further Information

Massachusetts State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair

Contact: Karin Lebeau at klebeau@scifair.com or 508-517-7863