When students arrive at the fair, they must check in with the SASEF desk, where they will receive their table number. This is the spot (about half or an 8 foot table) for the display. We follow strict guidelines for display materials, especially since we often have young children stop by on field trips. The complete guidelines can be found at: http://www.societyforscience.org/page.aspx?pid=314
However, in general, they are:
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR SCHOOL or any part of your display or papers.
Your display makes the first impression on the judges. Your display is a special way to "tell a story." You need to show what you were trying to find out, what you did, what results you got, and finally what conclusions you reached. The detailed description of all of this is your report. Your display is the summary, or essence, of all of this. It should be enough to inform at a quick look, and stimulating enough to call for a second, longer look. Being clear is the whole aim of the display. Choose carefully what you include in your display. Avoid needless clutter. A simple display with few key items is the most effective. Keep the amount of writing on the actual display board to a minimum. While your exhibit board summarizes all of your research, judges will also read the research papers. Include the papers in the display and your experiment log book.
Your display should include the following:
  • your title
  • the problem or question you tried to solve
  • your hypothesis
  • background information on your project and topic
  • your objectives, what you wanted to learn
  • an abstract
  • the materials you used
  • the methods you followed
  • the results of your experiment
  • your conclusions
EXHIBIT PHOTOGRAPHS AND DRAWINGS: Use pictures, drawings, and photographs. You have heard that one picture is worth a thousand words. It is true. If you have a camera, take photographs of the progress of your project. You should photograph specimens from your experiments since most cannot be displayed. Color is preferable to black and white. Don’t staple or glue the photographs to your board; mount them on matt board or cardboard.
In preparing any drawings or charts, avoid materials that smudge. If you use anything that might smudge, keep it covered until the last possible moment. Do not mount your photographs and drawings in an arbitrary fashion, but arrange them in an eye-catching way. Some displays lose their appeal because too much is included. Avoid too much color or gaudy combinations; they detract from the appeal of your exhibit.
Remember, the judges do their first evaluation of your project based upon what they can learn from your display. A picture without an explanation is easily misunderstood. For each picture, graph, or model, a brief description should be written.
As you assemble your display, lay everything out before attaching anything to your backboard. Arrange everything so that nothing on the board will be blocked from view. When everything is just the way you want it, attach it with glue.
Be sure your display meets the size requirements. Oversized projects will be disqualified.
WHAT ELSE TO EXHIBIT: If you exhibit a model, it should be neat and attractive. Place your complete report, materials used in the investigation, or samples from your experimental group on the table in front of the exhibit.
WHAT TO EXCLUDE FROM YOUR EXHIBIT: A large number of items on display does not mean your project is more comprehensive or detailed. Display only the materials that convey the most information. You cannot exhibit anything considered hazardous to the public. Many things you might not consider hazardous, cannot be exhibited. Check the safety and display rules and regulations before you arrive at the SASEF.
Maximum Size of Display at the SASEF
76 cm (30 in) deep
122 cm (48 in ) wide
274 cm (108 in) high including table
1) Fair provided tables at SASEF will not exceed a height of 91 cm (36 in).
2) Backboards are not provided at SASEF.
3) Display area consists of 1/2 of 8 ft. table
Not allowed at project or in booth:
  • Your name or school name on any part of the display
  • Living organisms
  • Taxidermy specimens or parts
  • Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals
  • Human or animal food
  • Human/animal parts of body fluids (for example, blood urine) (exceptions: teeth, hair, nails, dried animal bones, histological dry mount sections, and completely sealed wet mount tissue slides)
  • Laboratory/household chemicals including water (exceptions: water integral to an enclosed apparatus or water supplied by the Display and Safety Committee)
  • Poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices (for example: firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices)
  • Dry ice or other sublimating solids
  • Sharp items (for example: syringes, needles, pipettes, knives)
  • Flames or highly flammable display materials
  • Batteries with open-top cells
Allowed at project BUT with the restrictions indicated:
  • Dried plant materials if permanently sealed in acrylic or other similar material
  • Soil or waste samples if permanently sealed in acrylic or other similar material.
  • Empty tanks that previously contained combustible liquids or gases must be certified as having been purged with carbon dioxide.
  • Any apparatus with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains, or moving parts with tension or pinch points may not be operated.
  • Class II lasers:
    a) may be operated only by exhibitor.
    b) posted sign must read "Laser Radiation: Do Not Stare into Beam."
    c) must have protective housing that prevents access to beam.
    d) must be disconnected when not operating.
  • Class III and IV lasers may not be operated.
  • Large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices must be properly shielded.
  • Pressurized tanks that contain non-combustible materials may be allowed if properly secured.
  • Any apparatus producing temperatures that will cause physical burns must be adequately insulated.
SASEF Requirements and Recommendations:
  • A project data book and research paper are highly recommended.
  • Prior years' data, written material or visual depictions may not be displayed on the vertical display board.
  • Participants using audio-visual or multi-media presentations (for example: 35 mm slides; videotapes; images, graphics, animations, etc. displayed on computer monitors; or other non-print presentation methods) must be prepared to show the entire presentation to the Display and Safety inspectors before the project is approved.
  • The only photographs or visual depictions of identifiable or recognizable people allowed are photographs of the participant, the participant's family, or persons for which consent forms are readily visible on the table or in front of the vertical display board.
  • No photographs or any other visual depictions may be included in any manner at a project or in the booth if they are deemed visually offensive by the Scientific Review Committee, the Display and Safety Committee, or the SASEF. This includes, but is not limited to, visually offensive photographs or visual depictions of invertebrate or vertebrate animals, including humans. The decision by any one of the groups mentioned above is final.