Rules



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.
* 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 7-9th grade projects in Science Experiment or Demonstration/Model categories are eligible to compete further in the Regional and State levels.  Please see their rules [page 7 of https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B72J70LPcSv3OTRZeW9wclhvZEU] for more information.)
3. A contestant may enter one exhibit only.  Teachers and parents may advise, but most not build any part of the exhibit or write ANY of the report. (Please note: K-3rd grade may require 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 report*, 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. Reports* written by 7th grade and up must be typed. (All other grades may choose to either type or handwrite their Report).  Typed material should use fonts that are easily read. No clip art pictures should be included within the body of the text.  The Report should be in APA format and must contain in this order:


- ** Abstract (An Abstract is an abbreviated version of your final report. It is often easier to write the Abstract after the main body of the paper has been written. It should be typed, single-spaced, less than 200 words, and be limited to three paragraphs - purpose, procedure, and conclusion)
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Acknowledgements (this is an opportunity to thank anyone who helped you with your research/project, from an individual to a company or government agency.)
- Purpose and *Hypothesis (You should state precisely the question/model/demonstration/collection you are attempting to investigate. 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 (including why Project was chosen, research, and hypothesis of what student hopes to learn)
- Materials and Methods (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 you 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
1. Data

  • Data are 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.
  • Choosing the appropriate type of graph is important. Graphs should be presented so that someone not familiar with the work easily reads them. Axes should be labeled with titles and correct units of measurement in metric when appropriate.
  • If quantitative data are 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.
     2. Data Analysis and Discussion
  • 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.
  • 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).
    3. Error Analysis for Scientific Experiment Projects or Demonstrations
  • Experimental and/or measurement error affecting the conclusion has been considered and discussed.
  • Ways in which error was/could have been avoided may also be addressed.
- Conclusions (This should be a concise evaluation and interpretation of the data and/or results. The conclusion should be limited to the results of the investigation and should refer to the stated purpose and hypothesis. 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).
- Reference List (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/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.)
* NOTE: Required for 7-12th grades
(More information on how to write an excellent Science Fair Report can be found online at https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/science-fair-project-final-report.
Please note that the order of items in the paper are slightly different than those required for NIRSF, although the content is similar.)

13. ALL DECISIONS MADE BY THE JUDGES ARE FINAL.

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

* A Report and Journal are required for 7th grade and up, but are optional for 4-6th grades.  Students in the 4-6th grade category will receive additional points for any Reports or Journals which are included with the project.  

** An Abstract is an abbreviated version of the Project final report.  This should appear on the Display as well as at the beginning of the Report.