It is essential to be very explicit about your Science & Engineering Fair rules. If you don’t want to be a stickler, then you might change your mind after reading this. There are good reasons for setting strict rules – health & safety, for one, and implications of being too lax, another.
Your fair’s rules should not be taken lightly.
- Schools and school districts might have some form of legal requirements, guiding documents, and formal procedures around Health & Safety during school-wide events.
- If you are organizing your school’s fair as a Parent Teacher Association/Organization, then consider requesting a copy of their insurance policy to ensure you are covered in the case there is an emergency associated with the event.
- Student research is required to follow formal research protocol that might require that your school form an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or Scientific Research Committee (SRC).
Effective ways to getting students to follow your fair’s rules:
- Make a Rule Checklist sheet or form so students have to read and check a box for each rule.
- Require both students and parents to sign their completed Rule Checklist.
- Require the completed and signed Rule Checklist the day of the fair.
You’d be surprised to see what some students will bring to school to display during their fair – acid, dead animals, weapons, explosives, open flames, you name it. Not only do you need to set limits on what students can bring, but you need to also ensure that they be safe while doing their research. We recommend that you carefully read through and base your school’s Science & Engineering Fair rules on the Society for Science & the Public (SSP) International Science & Engineering Fair rules.
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