General Participation Guidelines

General Participation Guidelines

  • Participation guidelines for the Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair are modeled after the International Rules for Pre-college Science Research and the Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs as published by Science Service, Inc. Teachers and students may access the ISEF rules and guidelines by logging onto: http://www.sciserv.org/isef/primer/rules.asp for all specific exhibit guidelines.
  • All students whose projects involve vertebrate animals, human subjects, recombinant DNA, tissue, pathogenic agents or controlled substances must complete certification forms found in the current ISEF rules book before any research begins.
  • Research plans for the subjects listed above must be reviewed and approved by the fair’s Scientific Review Committee or your school’s Institutional Review Board prior to research. Refer to ISEF rules and guidelines for information regarding specific subjects. Projects involving these subjects that do not receive the proper prior approval will not be accepted in February by the Category Selection Committee.
  • No living organisms (including plants, animals and microbes), preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals (including embryos), dried plant materials, taxidermy specimens or parts, human or animal parts and or human or animal food is permitted on display.
  • Soil or waste samples, chemicals (including water); poisons, drugs, controlled substances; dry ice or other sublimating substances; flammable and combustible materials, liquids or gases; and sharp items are not allowed on display.
  • All research and experimentation must follow existing local, state and federal laws.
  • Only one project per student is permitted. Exhibits must be designed and produced by the student exhibitor.
  • Senior division includes ninth through 12th grades; junior division includes seventh and eighth grades.
  • Only full-time students not older than 21 before May 1, 2019, are eligible to participate in CASEF and enrolled in 7-12 grades.
  • Exhibits entered in a previous CASEF may not be entered again unless considerable expansion or development has been made and noted on the project.
  • Students may compete in only one fair affiliated with ISEF in any one school year. Exhibits entered in any previous fair affiliated with ISEF are not permitted in CASEF. A student competing in fairs not represented in ISEF may enter a project in CASEF.
  • Senior Division only! In order for a student to be considered for senior division grand champion, he/she must sign a form indicating agreement to attend the ISEF. The participant’s parent or guardian must also sign the form, and the form must be submitted with all required forms by the due date listed. (See Agree to Attend Form)
  • Students are required to write a (maximum) 250-word, one-page abstract. An abstract must include the purpose of the experiment, procedures used, data and conclusions. It may also include possible research applications. The abstract should focus on work done since the last CASEF and should not include any acknowledgements or procedures done by a mentor.
  • Descriptive cards and charts must accompany exhibits to make them self-explanatory. Labels should be brief and neat.
  • Exhibits are limited to 30 inches deep, front to back and 108 inches high, floor to top. Junior division projects must be no wider than 36 inches while senior division exhibits cannot exceed 42 inches in width. Projects must be self-supporting, safe, durable and no more than 250 pounds in weight. All valuable or movable items must be secured to the project.
  • Student name and school must not be visible anywhere on the display, including the journal.
  • All wiring must be properly insulated and protected from contact by the public. Only 110 volt AC electric is available. Exhibitors are required to furnish their own 9-foot grounded electrical extension cords as necessary to reach power connections.
  • CASEF officials reserve the right to reject any exhibit that constitutes a public hazard or attempts to display prohibited items. ISEF rules state specific details about hazards. Please review these rules carefully.
  • Efforts are made to protect all exhibits against loss or damage; however, projects are entered at the risk of the student exhibitor. The Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair and Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts will assume no responsibility.
  • Projects displayed at Whitaker Center are limited to those chosen as outstanding by school authorities. It is at the discretion of the Category Selection Committee as to which projects are eliminated if available space is unable to accommodate all entered projects. Committee members reserve the right to disqualify projects not accompanied by proper certification forms.