Project Displays

This book addresses science fair project displays. This includes restrictions on size as well as content.There are additional materials linked below that can be downloaded.

Creating an Effective Board Presentation.ppt749 KB

Names and Titles

Names of students, participants, schools and companies should not appear on the display board. This includes acknowledgements.
The student's name and school will appear on the MSEF abstract and reseach plan. These are allowed. This information can also appear on any research papers, lab notebooks, etc. that are placed in front of the display board.
Many schools have the students place their name and class on the back of the board. This does not have to be removed or covered up for participation in the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair.
Contact us if there are any questions.

Photograph and Figure Attribution

Any project display that contains photographs and figures (including tables) should have attribution to the person taking the photograph or creating a figure. Each photograph and figures should have an attribution below it if there are multiple photographs taken by different people.

A single attribution can be used if all photographs and figures were taken by one person. This is usually placed near the bottom of the display board. Typical attributions are:

Photographs of people should have their front faces/eyes blacked out unless they are of the student.


Required Information

Your display board should include your title. The title may be different than the one you registered with but the information provided online will be used when announcing any awards.

The display board or presentation typically includes the following information:

Other items that are sometimes included:

The ISEF abstract form MUST be used by Senior division students. There should not be an abstract section on the display board. Only the ISEF abstract form may be used.

Junior division students are strongly recommended to use the ISEF abstract form. Elementary division students are encouraged to use the ISEF abstract form. Junior and Elementary students can display the ISEF abstract in addition to an abstract section on their display since their projects are often completed before they enter the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair.

Restricted Content and Materials

In general, photographs and diagrams are the preferred method of presentation. Most of the following items are presented better using photographs or diagrams.

These items are restricted by ISEF and are not allowed at the Mercer Science and Engineering fair.

1. Living organisms, including plants
2. Soil, sand, rock and/or waste samples even if permanently encased in a slab of plastic
3. Taxidermy specimens or parts
4. Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals
5. Human or animal food
6. Human/animal parts or body fluids (for example, blood, urine)
7. Plant materials (living, dead, or preserved) that are in their raw, unprocessed, or non-manufactured state (Exception: manufactured construction materials used in building the project or display)
8. All chemicals including water (Exceptions: water integral to an enclosed, sealed apparatus.)
9. All hazardous substances or devices [for example, poisons, drugs, firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices, and lasers (as indicated in item 5 in the section of these rules entitled “Allowed at Project or in Booth BUT with the Restrictions Indicated”)]
10. Dry ice or other sublimating solids
11. Sharp items (for example, syringes, needles, pipettes, knives)
12. Flames or highly flammable materials
13. Batteries with open-top cells
14. Awards, medals, business cards, flags, logos, CD's, endorsements, and/or acknowledgments (graphic or written) unless the item(s) are an integral part of the project (Exception: Intel ISEF medal(s) may be worn at all times.)
15. Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in surgical techniques, dissections, necropsies, or other lab procedures
16. Active Internet or e-mail connections as part of displaying or operating the project at the Intel ISEF
17. Prior years’ written material or visual depictions on the vertical display board. [Exception: the project title displayed in the Finalist’s booth may mention years or which year the project is (for example, “Year Two of an Ongoing Study”)]. Continuation projects must have the Continuation Project Form (7) vertically displayed.
18. Glass or glass objects unless deemed by the Display and Safety Committee to be an integral and necessary part of the project (Exception: glass that is an integral part of a commercial product such as a computer screen)
19. Any apparatus deemed unsafe by the Scientific Review Committee, the Display and Safety Committee, or Society for Science & the Public (for example, large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices, empty tanks that previously contained combustible liquids or gases, pressurized tanks, etc.)


In addition, the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair has the following restrictions:

1. No glass or glass objects.
2. Computers or electronics
3. All batteries
4. No liquids

The Senior Division may petition the fair to display apparatus during in-person judging but these materials are not to be left at the booth after this period. Laptops, computers and other electronics may be brought to the in-person judging session by any Senior Division student if it is providing information related to the project.


Table Size

Project space limitations are based upon the division the student is participating in.

Division Grades Wide Deep High
Elementary 4-5 30" 30" 78"
Junior 6-8 30" 30" 78"
Senior 9-12 48" 30" 78"

Only Senior division students may request placement near an electrical outlet. This is normally used for laptops but may power apparatus brought to the in-person judging session.

Elementary and Junior division students may not have any electrically powered device on display.

Electrical outlets

Only Senior division students may request for their projects to be placed near an electrical outlet. These may be used during the Senior division in-person judging so it is not appropriate for Elementary and Junior division projects.

Laptops or other electrical devices should only be used if necessary. For example, if a student wishes to show a video or animation about their project then this can be presented using a laptop. A laptop should not be used simply to present a slideshow. This kind of information is better handled on the display board or in a notebook.