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Middle School Fair

How to Enter:

The Worcester Regional Science & Engineering Fair encourages scientifically talented Worcester area middle school students ( grade 6-8) to enter the annual fair held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It is not necessary for a school to hold its own science fair in order to enter the Regional Fair. Students involved in research or independent projects may enter directly. Each school may send up to ten (10) projects, no exceptions. Team projects of up to 3 students may participate. Students must inform and consult with their science teacher and school before beginning a science research project.  Please Click Here for more information on the science fair process and how to enter the Worcester Regional Science & Engineering Middle School Fair.  

Research Plan Forms1A and 1B and if necessary Form C and D must be filled out by the students and the science teacher and submitted to the Regional Safety Review Committee (SRC) on or before the deadline. Students and teachers should review the Middle School Rules and Regulations before submitting forms. The SRC will review the projects and send the research plans back with comments or approval. Once they are approved, the student can begin work on their project.

Projects chosen to enter the Regional Fair (10 per school) must submit a Registration Form and appropriate approved Research Plan Forms to the WRSEF (Region II) Middle School Chair before the deadline. If applicable, submit ALL signed copies of Form C with the registration.

Schools in Region:

The Worcester Regional Middle School Science & Engineering Fair is restricted to grades 6-8 and includes central Massachusetts public, private, parochial, charter, and home schools in the following cities and towns:

  • Ashburnham
  • Ashland
  • Athol
  • Auburn
  • Barre
  • Berlin
  • Blackstone
  • Bolton
  • Boylston
  • Brimfield
  • Charlton
  • Clinton
  • Douglas
  • Dudley
  • East Brookfield
  • Fitchburg
  • Framingham
  • Gardner
  • Grafton
  • Hardwick
  • Harvard
  • Holden
  • Holland
  • Holliston
  • Hopedale
  • Hopkinton
  • Hubbardston
  • Hudson
  • Lancaster
  • Leicester
  • Leominster
  • Lunenberg
  • Marlborough
  • Maynard
  • Mendon
  • Milford
  • Millbury
  • Millville
  • New Braintree
  • Northborough
  • Northbridge
  • North Brookfield
  • Oakham
  • Oxford
  • Paxton
  • Phillipston
  • Princeton
  • Rutland
  • Shrewsbury
  • Southborough
  • Southbridge
  • Spencer
  • Sterling
  • Stow
  • Sturbridge
  • Sudbury
  • Sutton
  • Templeton
  • Upton
  • Uxbridge
  • Wales
  • Warren
  • Webster
  • Westborough
  • West Boylston
  • West Brookfield
  • Westminster
  • Whitinsville
  • Winchendon
  • Worcester

Rules and Regulations:

The following Rules and Regulation apply to the Worcester Regional Middle School Science & Engineering Fair. The Manual and Rules can also be downloaded.

The Science Fair projects may not involve at any stage of the project the following:

  1. Blood products, fresh tissue, teeth or bodily fluids
  2. Nonhuman vertebrate animals and their parts, exception eggs
  3. Ingestion or inhalation of any substance by human subject-no smelling/wafting or eating/chewing of ANYTHING)—NOTHING in or on parts of mouth—including but not limited to teeth, tongue, lips
  4. Pathogenic agents*
  5. Recombinant DNA
  6. Carcinogenic or mutagenic chemicals
  7. Compressed gas (including, but not limited to CO2)
  8. Controlled substances*
  9. Explosive chemicals
  10. Hazardous substances or devices (including, but not limited to BB guns, paint ball guns, potato cannons, air cannons)
  11. High voltage equipment
  12. Highly toxic chemicals
  13. Lasers (any strength), exception: infrared thermometers
  14. Ionizing radiation X-rays or nuclear energy
  15. Radioactive materials (except non-ionizing, naturally occurring materials)

*FURTHER EXPLANATIONS:

Controlled Substances

  1. Controlled substances, including DEA-classed substances, prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco are not allowed.

Pathogenic Agents

  1. Pathogenic agents are disease causing, or potential disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, fungi, mold and others.
  2. Organisms collected, isolated and/or cultured from any environment (e.g., air, soil) are considered potentially pathogenic and experiments using these procedures will not be allowed.
  3. Raw or partially processed human/animal waste is considered to contain potentially pathogenic agents.

All human research projects must have an Informed Consent Form (Form C) attached.

  1. All human research projects including surveys, professional tests, questionnaires, and studies in which the human subject used is also the researcher need Regional Safety Review Committee (RSRC) approval. Copies of standardized and/or student prepared tests, surveys, etc. to be used must be attached to the Research Plan for approval. The student researcher before submission to the RSRC for approval must fill out questions 1, 2, and 3 on the Informed Consent Form.
  2. After SRC approval, Informed Consent Form (C) must be signed by all subjects involved in human research projects prior to the their participation.  Copies of all signed Informed Consent Forms must be submitted with the Registration Form to enter the Fair, if Informed Consent Forms (C) are not sent in with Registration Form the project may not be judged. If a participant is under 18 years old, the parent/guardian signature is required.

Experiments with non-pathogenic microorganisms* must have a Designated Supervisor Form (Form D) completed and submitted for RSRC approval. Experiments with any non-pathogenic organisms may only be conducted in a laboratory setting (not in the home) with the following capabilities:

  1. Laboratory work is to be supervised by an individual with general training in microbiology.
  2. Standard practices for sterile technique must be observed.
  3. Work is to be done on an open bench or fume hood.
  4. Purchased microorganisms must be identified and certified as non-pathogenic from the supply house with full name of microorganism, source of purchase and catalog number.
  5. Lab coats must be worn.
  6. Culture plates/tubes of bacteria must be sealed and not opened in the laboratory after culturing and growth.
  7. Sub-culturing is not allowed.
  8. Decontamination must be achieved by either chemical disinfectants or steam autoclaving.

*Two exceptions: Baker's and Brewer's yeast do not need Form D.

Special Safety Concerns Other situations such as use of power tools, chemicals, etc. which require adult need to be documented on Form D, Designated Supervisor.

General Requirements

  1. Only new research projects done in the current school year will be eligible for participation.
  2. Individual projects must be entirely the work of the individual student and team projects must be entirely the work of the team.
  3. Students are expected to keep a bound logbook with original, hand-written, and dated entries that record each step taken in the development of the project.
  4. Students must remain with their projects during judging and exhibition times.
  5. Parents, advisors, mentors, teachers and guests must wait outside the project area until public display begins.
  6. Cell phone use is not allowed during the judging period.

PROJECT DISPLAY GUIDELINES

Students must adhere to all display guidelines. If the Safety Committee considers the presence or operation of any equipment or material to be dangerous or unsafe, it shall have the right to prohibit the presence or operation of such equipment or material. Exhibitors are encouraged to demonstrate the safe use of materials through photographs, videotapes, charts, diagrams and other simulations.

All Science Fair participants must attend to the safety aspects of their projects as follows:

  1. Projects must fit into a 40" x 26" table space, no aisle space available. Wall space for posters is not available. Design your exhibit so that all posters, charts and displays are free standing.
  2. No laser pointers allowed.
  3. Glass is prohibited from display area but may be encased in a break-resistant container or replaced by a break-resistant container, exception is light bulbs.
  4. Mercury thermometers are prohibited.
  5. Approved liquids in sealed break resistant containers may be displayed. We reserve the right to limit the amount of liquid displayed. If project advances to the State Fair NO LIQUIDS of any kind may be displayed.
  6. Knives and other sharp objects may not be displayed.
  7. Microorganisms may not be displayed.
  8. Drugs, aerosols, over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, vitamins and latex products (including balloons) may not be displayed.
  9. All power driven parts must be suitably guarded to prevent unauthorized or accidental access.
  10. Access to electrical outlets is limited, so please bring a heavy-duty/three-pronged extension cord. Please check the appropriate space on the registration form if electricity is needed.
  11. All exhibits that require an external source of electricity for operation must be designed for a standard 110-125 volt AC supply.
  12. All wiring, switches, power cords and metal parts carrying current in an AC circuit must be properly selected for load requirements and soldered or fixed under approved connectors with insulated connecting wires. No exposed wires, switches, joints, or un-insulated fasteners will be permitted.
  13. The power supply cord for the electrical apparatus must terminate in a three-prong grounded outlet. All power supplies and electrical equipment must be grounded.
  14. Bare wire and exposed knife-type switches are permitted on 12-volt DC circuits or less. Approved standard enclosed switches are required for all other electrical installations.
  15. Wet-cell batteries with open tops are not permitted. Closed-cell or dry-cell batteries are permissible.
  16. The operation of high-pressure vessels and pressurized systems is not permitted.
  17. There must be no open flame, torch or burner in the display area.
  18. All microwave and radio frequency sources must be designed and operated in compliance with state and federal regulations as well as applicable standards of the American National Standards Institute.
  19. Robotics projects should have interlocks or other controls.

Registration Forms:

Dates and Deadlines:

The following dates and deadlines are for the 2016 Middle School Science Fair. These dates are firm and will be updated if inclement weather forces changes.

Informational Workshop for Middle School Teachers:

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 3:30 - 4:30pm: Gibbons Middle School, 20 Fisher St., Westborough, MA. Informational workshop for middle school teachers interested in entering studetns in the Worcester Regional Middle School Science & Enginering Fair. Schools new to the process and forms are strongly urged to send a representative to this meeting. If interested RSVP to klebeau@scifair.com or greenwaldl@westboroughk12.org.

Middle School Fair Deadlines:

Friday, March 3, 2017  Research Plans (Forms 1A, B (required) and C, D (if needed) are due to the Regional Middle School Scientific Review Committee (SRC). Note: These forms can be submitted any time before the deadline for approval and the SRC will review upon receipt. Students may not begin experimenting until project has been approved.

Thursday, April 12, 2017, Registration Forms for entry to the Middle School Fair are due, along with copies approved research plans. Copies of all signed Form C must be submitted, if applicable.

Monday, May 1, 2017,  Odeum, Campus Center, WPI: Worcester Regional Middle School Science & Engineering Fair.

Sample Score Card:

Middle School Fair

  • Scientific Approach
  • Did the student start with a clearly stated hypothesis, purpose, or statement of an engineering goal?
  • Was the student orderly and logical with the setup and follow-through of the project?
  • Are the student's conclusions consistent with the data he or she collected?
  • Up to 25 points

Score: _________


  • Knowledge of Project Areas
  • How effectively did the student conduct preliminary research?
  • Is the explanation of the project clear and precise?
  • What is the extent of the student's knowledge of materials related to the project?
  • Is the student aware of both the scope and limitations of the project?
  • Up to 20 points

Score: _________


  • Thoroughness
  • Is there evidence that the student used multiple sources in the literature search?
  • Has thorough use been made of data and observations?
  • How successfully has the original plan been followed through to completion?
  • Was there complexity to any aspect of the project?
  • Up to 20 points

Score: _________


  • Written Records and Report
  • Has the student kept an original day-by-day notebook with all plans, procedures, observations, and conclusions for failures as well as successes?
  • Has the student put together an accurate written report, complete with a bibliography?
  • Up to 15 points

Score: _________


  • Ingenuity and Creativity
  • Did the student show originality of thought, design or implementation of the experiment?
  • How well has the student used his or her materials in the solution of problems?
  • Does the student present any new or unique ideas or interpretation of the data?
  • Up to 15 points

Score: _________


  • Visual Presentation
  • Is the project displayed in a logical and organized manner?
  • Have charts and graphs been used where needed?
  • Does the display poster effectively convey the message in an understandable manner?
  • Up to 5 points

Score: _________


Fair Day Information:

Please note that the following information is for students, teachers, parents, and schools that have properly submitted registration materials and approved research plans in accordance with the rules of Worcester Regional Middle School Science & Engineering Fair.

A Day at the Worcester Regional Middle School Science Engineering Fair

What You Can Expect

Registration

Between 8:00 am and 9:00 am is registration. The Fair is held in the Odeum, Campus Center, at WPI. You will check in at the registration desk, where you will receive your project location. You will find a name badge at your location. Please attach in a visible place. You will then set up your display. Bottled water is provided for you as it is important that you remain hydrated throughout the day. Should you have any questions, please speak to someone at the registration desk.

Safety Check

At 8:00 am members of the regional science fair safety committee will walk around the exhibit area and perform safety checks. Complete copies of the "Rules and Regulations" are available at the registration desk, should you have any questions.

Judging

At about 9:00 am the judging will begin. Only students and judges are allowed in the hall at this time. Judges are assigned throughout the morning to ensure that three judges visit each project. Judges are asked to spend no more than 20 minutes with each project, so try to focus on the important steps in your project. The judges will ask questions about your project and review your notebook. Make sure each judge signs the judge record list before leaving the project. Judging continues until 12:00 noon.

Lunch  and Public Viewing

Lunch is between 12:00 noon and 12:30pm. Students can eat at their project area or anywhere else in the hall. Students will not be allowed in the WPI dining halls.

Judging should be completed by 12:00 noon. Please notify someone at the registration desk if you have not had 3 judges by 11:30am. The exhibit hall is open to the public from 12:30 to 2:00 pm. This is when your family, friends, and teachers can visit the fair and talk with the exhibitors. Sometimes WPI students and faculty stop by to view the projects also

Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony begins at 1:30pm in the front of the hall. At its conclusion all display boards and items brought to the fair need to be taken home. Please leave your area clean and neat and dispose of any trash.

Congratulations to all who entered. YOU represent the best of Central Massachusetts!!