Science Fair Rules

Welcome Back! Alfred State College Regional Science & Technology Fair is returning and will be held on Friday, Mar. 1, 2024.

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  1. Eligibility
  2. 2018 science fair winnersApplications for Entry Into the Fair - Due by Feb. 09, 2024
  3. Categories and Divisions of Entries
  4. Exhibits
  5. Safety Requirements
  6. Animals
  7. Setting Up Exhibits
  8. Judging
  9. Exhibitor's Attendance During the Fair
  10. Security of Exhibits
  11. Meals
  12. Awards
  13. Judging Rubric
  14. Helpful Resources

1. Eligibility

The Alfred State Regional Science and Technology Fair is open to students attending classes in grades four through 12 at private and public schools (or homeschool), located anywhere within Western NY and Northwestern PA.

2. Application for Entry Into the Fair

Students wishing to apply for entry into the Regional Fair must have the support of their science teacher. The project must be judged by the science teacher to be of sufficient quality for regional competition. Application deadline is Feb. 09, 2024.

Print an entry form (pdf) and view the requirements for the written report, or contact Nichole Preston for an application:

Nichole Preston
Physical and Life Sciences Dept.
Alfred State
Alfred, NY 14802
Phone: 607-587-3223

Completed forms should be sent to the address specified on the entry form and should be received by the Fair Committee three weeks before the Fair. If there is a problem with meeting this deadline, please contact us at the above phone number or via email.

Normally students will receive confirmation of acceptance of their exhibit within 10 days of receipt of their application. If they do not receive confirmation within this time, they should contact the person listed above.

If students decide to withdraw, they should inform us as soon as possible so that their space can be reassigned. Late applications might not be accepted, so students should apply early to avoid disappointment.

Exhibit space may not be reserved in advance. Only applications that have been received within the above deadline for entry can be guaranteed consideration for exhibit at the Fair.

Students planning to use live animals in their exhibits should read section 6 below. Entries which do not comply with the rules of the Alfred State Regional Science & Technology Fair may be refused. The decision to deny entry rests with the Fair Committee and such decisions shall be final.

3. Categories and Divisions of Entries

Entries will be accepted in the following categories:

Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Computers, Earth Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Health & Medicine, Physics & Astronomy


  • Senior (9 - 12th grade)
  • Junior (7 - 8th grade)
  • Novice (4 - 6th grade)

4. Exhibits

4.1 Nature of the Exhibit

The exhibit should be a creation of the student, which either illustrates or demonstrates a novel idea or device in an original manner. The contributions made by others must be acknowledged on the exhibit or in the report.

Please refer to section 14 for suggestions and hints regarding the planning and preparation of exhibits and the preparation of reports.

4.2 Number of Allowed Exhibits

An exhibitor may present or be involved with only one entry at any particular Alfred State Regional Science and Technology Fair.

4.3 Repeated Exhibits

The same exhibitor may not display an IDENTICAL EXHIBIT that was shown by him/her at any previous Alfred State Regional Science and Technology Fair. Improved or modified exhibits, however, may be entered. In fact, many successful participants improve and develop their projects from one year to the next.

4.4 Physical Size of Exhibits

Exhibits must be confined to an area, which does not exceed 3 feet front to back and 5 feet from side to side. The overall height of exhibits from the floor is limited to 10 feet.

All exhibits must be self-supported. Wall space to attach exhibit material to will not be available. Tables will be provided.

In special circumstances, oversized exhibits may be accepted but special permission must be obtained in advance from the Fair Committee.

student displaying her experiment in front of a crowd4.5 Exhibits with Working Parts

Exhibits involving working parts must be self-contained. Electrical power at 110 VAC 60 Hz to a maximum of 5A will be supplied (bring your own extension cord please) but must be requested in advance. No other service, e.g., gas, water, etc., will be available.

4.6 Removal of Exhibits

No exhibits are to be dismantled or removed before the end of the Fair (2 p.m.).

All exhibits must be removed by 3 p.m.

5. Safety Requirements

The Science Fair safety officer will inspect each exhibit and determine whether or not an exhibit may be displayed with or without further modification. The decision of the safety officer is final.

When assessing the hazards of exhibits, the exhibitors should ask themselves the question, "Could a viewer -- particularly a small child -- touch or spill materials and hurt himself?" If so, additional safety precautions will be required.

Safety to the public must be a prime consideration. Suitable precautions must be taken to help ensure that serious consequences do not result in terms of personal injury, property damage, or legal action. All exhibits MUST conform to the following standards, which will be rigidly enforced by the safety officer.

5.1 General Safety

  • No poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices (for example, firearms, weapons, ammunition and reloading devices) are allowed at the exhibit.
  • No sharp items (for example, syringes, needles, pipettes, and knives) are allowed at the exhibit.
  • Remove or otherwise shield all sharp edges or corners on prisms, mirrors, enclosures, glass and metal plates.
  • Enclose hazardous exhibits with screens or shields.
  • Hazardous exhibits must never be left unattended by the exhibitor.
  • Lengths of hose or extension cords are to be kept to a minimum and out of the way to eliminate tripping hazards. Use tape to secure hoses and cords.

5.2 Fire Safety

  • Heat sources must not be used near combustible materials.
  • Open flames and heat sources must not be used unless protected and previously approved by the Science Fair safety officer.

5.3 Chemical Safety

  • No toxic, corrosive or flammable chemicals or gasses are allowed unless approved by the Science Fair safety officer. In general, dangerous chemicals should be avoided.
  • For exhibition, we recommend that substitutes be displayed in place of hazardous (toxic or flammable) chemicals actually used in the project. For example water can be substituted for flammable solvents and molasses can represent heavy petroleum products.
  • When chemicals are simulated, they should be labeled with the names of the substances they represent followed by the word "simulated" in brackets, e.g., ETHER(simulated).

5.4 Electrical Safety

In general, all electrical circuits, fittings, cords, switches, etc. must conform to all U.S. standards. In particular, please observe the following guidelines.

  • Use only extension cords and appliance cords that are in good repair and have approval. The safety officer will disallow use of unsafe cords.
  • Use the lowest possible voltage.
  • Where practical and necessary, it is recommended that indicator lights be used to indicate that voltage is on.
  • An insulating grommet is required at the point where the electrical cord enters the enclosure.
  • Electrical devices must be protectively enclosed where practical and the enclosure should be non-combustible.
  • All non-current carrying metal parts of an electrical apparatus must be grounded.
  • No exposed live parts over 36 volts are allowed.
  • Disconnect the power connection to your apparatus at the end of the day or the viewing period.

5.5 Structural and Mechanical Safety

  • Construction of framework, exhibits, displays, etc. must be of a safe design with adequate stability to keep them from tipping.
  • Dangerous moving parts such as belts, gears, pulleys, or fan blades must be suitably guarded.

5.6 Compressed Gasses

Exhibits using compressed gasses must have facilities for securing gas cylinders. Free standing cylinders or cylinders lying unsecured on the floor will not be allowed.

5.7 Lasers

All lasers used must have a power of 1 milliwatt or less. Precautions must be taken to ensure that the direct beam never reaches the eye of the observer.

6. Animals


Biological experimentation is essential for an understanding of living processes. Such studies should lead to a respect for all living things. Capable students anxious to pursue a career in biological sciences must receive the necessary encouragement and direction. All aspects of the project must be within the comprehension and capabilities of the student undertaking the study.


All experiments shall be carried out under the supervision of a competent science teacher. It shall be the responsibility of the qualified teacher to ensure that the student has the necessary comprehension for the study to be undertaken. Whenever possible, specifically qualified experts in the field shall be consulted.


No living vertebrate animal may be displayed in exhibits in any science fair.


Vertebrate animals are not to be used in experiments for projects for science fairs, with the following exceptions:

  • Observations of normal living patterns of wild animals in the free-living state or in zoological parks, gardens, or aquariums.
  • Observations of normal living patterns of pets, fish, or domestic animals.


Lower orders such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and insects can reveal much basic biological information. If experiments are to be conducted on living subjects for Science Fair projects, then only lower orders of life may be used.


Cells such as red blood cells, other tissue cells, plasma, or serum purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in Science Fair projects.


Pithed frogs and/or parts of dead vertebrates may be used provided that the pithing or killing is done humanely by an expert (teacher, professional scientist). Any dead vertebrate must have been recently killed.


Observational type studies on chicken embryos may be used in Science Fair projects. If normal egg embryos are to be hatched, satisfactory humane consideration must be made for disposal of the chicks. If such arrangements cannot be made, then the chicken embryos must be destroyed on the 19th day of incubation. No eggs capable of hatching may be displayed in a Science Fair.


Maze studies of an animal's behavior are considered as "normal" living patterns.


For information and names of qualified experts, write or telephone the Alfred State Regional Science and Technology Fair.

7. Setting Up Exhibits

Exhibits will be set up between 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.; if more time is necessary, please contact the science fair committee. You will be told at what time you are to arrive to set up your exhibit. Registration ends at 9:45 a.m.

8. Judging


Exhibitors must be present during the judging of their projects. Judges may request a demonstration of any working parts and a verbal explanation of a part or the whole of the exhibit.


The Alfred State Regional Science and Technology Fair Committee will appoint judges. The decision of the judges is final.


Judging will commence at 9:45 a.m.


Judging inevitably involves long waits by participants. While the judging teams will do their utmost to keep the waiting time to a minimum, we recommend that the participants bring a book to read during these periods.

9. Exhibitors' Attendance During the Fair

One of the purposes of a science fair is to help the general public understand scientific ideas. Therefore, we expect participants to be at their exhibits during the time that the Fair is open to the public. We realize that this will be difficult for some of the younger participants, but we do encourage you to be present as much as you can.

10. Security of Exhibits

Exhibitors are responsible for the maintenance and protection of their own exhibits during the Fair. We recommend that cameras and other expensive small items not be left unattended.

11. Meals

Alfred State will provide lunch for the participants of the Science and Technology Fair.

12. Awards


The various awards are as follows:

  • Certificate: Each participant will receive a certificate of participation.
  • Ribbons: Individual ribbons will be presented to first-, second-, and third-place prize winners in Junior, Senior, and Novice divisions as well as the grand prize winner.
  • Trophies: School trophies will be awarded to those schools which, in the opinion of the judges, have made the best overall contributions to the Fair in each division.
  • People's Choice Certificate: Awarded to the project that receives the most votes from the public viewers.
  • student wearing lab coat showing off a pink volcano-looking objectCash Prizes

Grand prize $TBD (not eligible for other cash prizes)

Senior Division:

  1. First Prize - $TBD
  2. Second Prize - $TBD
  3. Third Prize - $TBD

Junior Division:

  1. First Prize - $TBD
  2. Second Prize - $TBD
  3. Third Prize - $TBD

Novice Division:

  1. First Prize - $TBD
  2. Second Prize - $TBD
  3. Third Prize - $TBD

12.2 Division of Group Prizes

Prizes awarded to a group shall be divided equally among the members of the group wherever possible. Distribution of awards, which cannot be divided equally, shall be left to the judgment of the group and its adviser.


Any award may be withheld at the discretion of the judges if no exhibit in that division is deemed to be of sufficient merit.

13. Judging Rubrics

Our updated judging rubric can be found below.  

14. Helpful Resources

"Prepare for the Science Fair" Original Animated Short by Kevin Temmer
Cool animated video about science fairs.

Science Buddies (
For project ideas and procedures on a vast selection of scientific topics, from sociology to music to chemistry, check out this non-profit, award-winning site. Start with their “Topic Selection Wizard” to help you select a science fair project.

Science Fair Project Resource Guide (
From the Internet Public Library's website, this guide offers thorough and authoritative information and links to assist young scientists.

Little Shop of Physics - Online Experiments (

Science Fair Central (
Experts in making science fun and accessible, the Discovery Channel created a very helpful guide full of information, games, and multimedia resources for projects.

MadSci Edible/Inedible Experiments Archive (
MadSci Network is a non-profit organization specializing in scientific curiosities and questions. The science project resources are quite fun and helpful.

Successful Science Fair Projects (
A nice basic overview of how to put together a science project using proper methods. Links to other helpful sites are included.

Psychology projects for the science fair