We truly want students' projects prepared from their desire to learn and to convey what they have discovered about God's creation through their investigations and research.  We are not looking for the student who can dazzle the judges with pizzazz, or the best computer generated or "boardroom ready" exhibit.  We ARE looking for learning and knowledge gained through truly applying oneself, and for students that have done their best handiwork, and projects with the appearance that a student prepared them.  Our goal is for each student to truly gain new insight into the world God has created.

1. Each project must be related to an area of science.  
- Unacceptable example: Surveying neighbors' choices of laundry detergent.  No science is involved. 
- Acceptable experiment project: "Which laundry detergent removes grease best?"

2. Each project will be classified by grade level and then into one of the following Entry Categories:
* Collection - Examples: rocks, shells, or butterflies.  The collection must be scientifically oriented, contain a sufficient number, and show what the student has learned through the process of collecting and categorizing.
* Model - A representation of what something is realistically like, such as a model of an ear, rocket, or life cycle.
* Demonstration - A working model of things such as volcanoes, robots, or electrical devices. Demonstrations must be conducted during presentation. Permission must be granted by NIRSF in advance for demonstrations shown via video.
* Science Experiment - A project utilizing the Scientific Method and which only has 1 variable and includes a control group.
~ Please be aware that due to IJAS State Rules outside our control, only 7-12th grade projects in the Science Experiment category is eligible to compete further at the Regional/State Exposition.  Please see their rules [page 7 of Policy and Procedure Manual for more information.)
3. A contestant may enter one exhibit only.  Teachers and parents may advise, but must not build any part of the exhibit or write ANY of the report. (Please note: K-3rd grade may allow a parent to write or type captions on their display boards, but the student should dictate the wording.  PLEASE USE DISCRETION.  K-3rd grade must perform all other work on the display board themselves, as well as their exhibit.)

4. Projects must be free-standing and should measure 36 x 48 inches.  (There are tri-fold boards available at most office supply stores which are sufficient.)  Due to limited table space, please keep all Projects within specified measurements unless special permission is granted.

5. Electrical power strips and cords needed for exhibits must be approved by NIRSF. Once approved, the exhibitor will be responsible for bringing all necessary equipment.  For safety reasons, the exhibitor will be required to use duct tape to secure it.

6. The following are prohibited: dangerous chemicals, open flames, explosives, or animal experiments that involve starvation or any form of cruelty.  NIRSF reserves the right to refuse display of an exhibit that is deemed inappropriate.  PLEASE be sure to include any information regarding special materials on the registration form and/or contact us with any questions.

7. Contact us for details on approval for animal experimentation.  We will not allow animals to be brought into the Science Fair, however, you may take videos and pictures of the animals to add to your display.

8. NIRSF, its representatives and sponsors, and the Fair location, its representatives and affiliates, assume no responsibility for loss or damage to any person, exhibit, or any part thereof.

9. All exhibitors must submit a display (both a tri-fold board and exhibit of work done), a written research paper*, and a journal*.

10. Display titles and headings can be handwritten, stenciled, or typed.  Labeling, captions, and explanations may be either typed or handwritten.  

11. Journals* must be handwritten.  The Journal is a log or diary of a student's progress on their project that is kept up-to-date throughout the duration of the Project, and must not be written after the Project has been completed.  Use a spiral-bound notebook or composition notebook. Binders with loose-leaf paper are not allowed.  Feel free to include drawings/sketches of Project, personal thoughts or anecdotes, as well as all observations regarding the Project.  Journals are an important part of scientific research!

12. Research papers written by 7th grade and up must be typed and submitted via Google Docs ( no later than one week prior to the event date. (All other grades may choose to either type or hand write their Report). Typed material should use fonts that are easily read. The Report should be in APA format and must contain in this order, with all sections centered and in bold type:
- Title Page [page 1]
- * Abstract [page 2] (An Abstract is an abbreviated version of the final report. It should by less than 200 words and no longer than three paragraphs, including the purpose, procedure, and concluding results of the project. *It is only required for all Reports for 7th grade or higher, and should be displayed on the Project Display Board as well as included in the Report.)
- Table of Contents [page 3]
Acknowledgements [page 4] (This is an opportunity to thank anyone who helped you with your research or project, and can include individuals or companies and institutions.)
(All sections below [except References] comprises 
the Body of the paper and should 
not be on separate pages.)
- Purpose and *Hypothesis [page 5+] (You should state precisely the question/model/demonstration/collection you are attempting to investigate and why Project Topic was chosen. Include [if applicable] your hypothesis or the expected outcome of your testable question. *A hypothesis is only applicable for Scientific Experiment-based projects.)
- Background Research [page 5+] (Should include why Project was chosen, as well as any information gained as a result of research or interviews.)
- Materials and Methods [page 5+] (If Applicable. This should be a simple, step-by-step account of what was done. The explanation of what was done must be clear and detailed enough so that the reader can duplicate the work. The apparatus and materials used should be listed. Explain the workings of any apparatus constructed or used. Drawings, diagrams that are clearly labeled, and photographs, are appropriate if they enhance and clarify your explanation. Do NOT use them as filler.)
- Data Analysis and/or Discussion [page 5+] (If applicable)
     1. Data is to be organized in tables and/or figures with graphic presentations that are easily read by someone not familiar with the work. All data should be listed, when possible. Summary data should follow the raw data.
     2. Choosing the appropriate type of graph is important. Graphs should be presented so that someone not familiar with the work can easily read them. Axis should be labeled with titles and correct units of measurement in metric (when appropriate).
     3. If quantitative data is not involved, a day-by-day log may be used in place of tables and charts. In either case, care should be taken to ensure accuracy and clarity. Metric measurements MUST be used.
    4. The results section (if applicable to your Project) should include text that refers to the figures and tables; figures and tables on their own do not constitute the results section.
- Conclusions [page 5+] (This should be a concise evaluation and interpretation of the data and/or results. It may also include ideas for future research, such as additional research you might wish to do based on what you learned, or how your findings/project could be utilized in the real world).
     1. Discussion should include your evaluation and interpretation of the data/research and/or results of your investigation, and compare your data to what others have found (if applicable).
      2. Error analysis for Scientific Experiment Projects or Demonstrations should include experimental and/or measurement errors made affecting the conclusion and should be considered and discussed. Ways in which error was/could have been avoided may also be addressed.
- Reference List  [last page] (This is a list of published articles, books, and other communications actually cited in the paper. Sources should be current. The reference list section is arranged alphabetically according to the author's/editor's last name when it is known or the first significant word in the title if the author/editor is not known. The correct style to use for citing references in the reference list section is discussed in detail in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, also known as APA format.)

~ Please note that there are some differences among scholarly choice in APA formatting. Whenever possible, choose the format style as listed by Perdue University's OWL online writing lab.)

(A step-by-step sample paper on how to write an excellent Science Fair Report can be found online here.


14. NIRSF reserves the right to amend these rules or make additional binding rulings as events warrant.

* A Research Paper and Journal are required for 7th grade and up, but are optional for lower grades.  Students in the K-3rd or 4-6th grade category will receive additional points for a Research Paper or Journal which is included with the project.