Science Fair

029 - crop.JPG

Mineral Area College Science Fair

Join us on Friday, April 5, 2024 in the Robert E. Sechrest Field House on the main campus in Park Hills for our 39th annual Science Fair!

Middle School and High School entrants can choose from five categories this year:

  • Chemistry
  • Product Testing
  • Engineering/Physics/Math
  • Natural Science
  • Behavioral Science

Register online at the link below. Registration deadline: March 25, 2024

Science Fair 2024 Flyer

The Science Fair started at Mineral Area College in 1985 under the leadership of several area high school teachers and the MAC science department. The categories and rules were developed at that time. Below are some reminders that may assist you in your planning:

  • There is no entry fee. Mineral Area College will pick up the cost of this fee that pays for the science fair t-shirt and certificate for students attending the Fair.
  • The fair was started by the Math-Science Department which split into two departments many years ago. The fair continues to involve the disciplines of psychology, math, and computer science under the heading of Science Fair, but we have minimized the categories to Chemistry, Product Testing, Engineering/Physics/Math, Natural Science, and Behavioral Science.
  • Be aware that students will be asked to remove their projects from the fair if the project is determined to be unsafe for the fair participants.
  • Just like last year, the fair will be held on a Friday instead of a Saturday.
  • There will now be fillable Google Forms for all submissions on the Science Fair website (
  • Sixth-grade teachers will no longer be restricted to one entry per category.
  • Because of safety concerns, experiments involving the use of explosive materials such as potato guns will not be allowed.
  • Absolutely no experiments may involve exposure of vertebrate embryos to teratogenic or toxic chemicals.
  • If only three students are in a category, they will each receive either a first, second, or third-place ribbon.
  • There will be a hospitality room for the sponsoring teachers. We will offer cookies, coffee, and a private place to talk with your colleagues.

We hope you are interested in joining us this year for the 38th Annual Science Fair at Mineral Area College. I have included the rules and forms needed to participate in the Fair along with a planning calendar. Please let me know if this helps in any way. There is also a list of definitions with some ideas for projects. Please copy the forms as needed. The Rules and Forms can also be found on the Science Fair website.

Feel free to call me if you have any questions or if there are any problems. Thank you again for taking the time and energy to encourage these students to pursue academic competitions. I know that it is always above and beyond your normal teaching duties and not always rewarded.



Jodi Dillon
Science Fair Coordinator

Friday, April 5, 2024

7:30 – 9:30 am

  • Students may set up their projects. Projects are to remain on display until after the awards assembly.
  • The MAC Store will be open 7:30 am if you need supplies. Cardinal’s Nest Café will be open 8:00 am for the purchase of food.
  • Projects must be set up and the students with their display by 9:30 am. Chairs will be available, but students might want to stand when the judges interview them about their project.

8:30 – 9:30 am

  • Judges meet in the judging area in the private dining room.
  • Breakfast served for judges.

8:00 – 11:00 am

  • Hospitality Room for Sponsoring Teachers is behind the south bleachers. Coffee and cookies are provided.

9:30 – 11:30 am

  • Judging of Projects. Students must be with their projects for judging.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

  • Judging will be stopped for lunch (lunch is provided for judges). Cardinal’s Nest Café will be open.
  • Participants must return to their projects by 12:30. 

12:30 – 1:30 pm

  • Judging resumes. Students must be with their projects for judging.

1:30 – 2:30 pm

  • Projects open to the public.

2:30 pm

  • Awards Assembly in the Field House

All projects must be removed by 3:30 pm.

Thank you for coming to the 39th Science Fair at Mineral Area College. We know how much effort is involved for the participants, sponsoring teachers, and parents.  We appreciate your participation and hope you will return next year.

“Understanding science is the key to our future.”

Creative Ability (30 points)

A. How much of the work appears to show originality of approach and handling?
B. Was there ingenious use of the materials?
C. If a collection, is it purposeful?

Scientific Thought (30 points)

A. Does the exhibit show organized procedures?
B. Are observations accurate?
C. Was there a “control group” in the experiment?
D. Is there verification of a scientific theory?
E. Does it explain a “cause and effect” relationship?

Thoroughness (15 points)

A. How completely is this story told?
B. Have several sources of information been used? Step­by­step detail of construction is not necessary for full point value.

Skill (15 points)

A. Is the workmanship of good quality?
B. Will the exhibit demand frequent repairs?
C. Will the exhibit demand constant attention?
D. In collection, is the display skillfully displayed to show important points?

Clarity and Dramatic Value (15 points)

A. Will the average person understand what is being displayed?
B. Are there misspelled words, poor grammar?
C. Are there mislabeled materials or insufficient guide marks for the observer?
D. Are descriptions too brief or too lengthy?
E. Will spectator attention progress sensibly through the display?
F. Is this display more attractive than others in the display?
G. Are the sight, sound, smell, and/or touch of the display (at the display) at the correct intensity?
H. Are there devices, gadgets, etc., which do not serve a purpose?


For a full copy of the scoring sheet, click here.


Categories established for grouping and judging science research projects at Mineral Area College are:

  • Life Science: any experiment with living organisms, biology, anatomy, botany, micro, etc.
  • Physical Science: chemistry, physics, geology, engineering, earth science, etc.
  • All Other Stem: math, product testing, computer science

Research Projects

A finalist may enter only one research project and it must be the student’s own work. Group research is accepted at the Mineral Area College Science Fair; however, a maximum of two students per research project is allowed. 

The identical repetition of a previous year’s work is not permitted. However, a finalist may again exhibit research on a continuing problem provided the research shows significant progress when compared with the previous year.


Exhibit size is limited to 76 cm deep (front to back), 122 cm wide (side to side), and 274 cm high (floor to top). Tables are 76 cm high.  Any exhibit exceeding these dimensions will be disqualified at the Mineral Area College Science Fair.

Written Material

A paper describing the research, notebooks, computer programs, or other relevant written materials are encouraged and may be displayed.

Animal Displays (vertebrate or invertebrate)

No live animals or microbes, preserved vertebrate animals or parts including embryos, may be exhibited at the Mineral Area College Science Fair.  Research involving the use of animals or microbes may display drawings, photographs, charts, or graphs to illustrate the conditions, developments, and results of the investigations.   Absolutely no experiments may involve exposure of vertebrate embryos to teratogenic or toxic chemicals.  Sealed insect collections will be permitted on display.  Photographs and other visual presentations of surgical techniques, dissection, autopsies, and/or other laboratory techniques depicting vertebrate animals in other than normal conditions may not be displayed on the student’s exhibit but may be contained in an accompanying notebook or shown during judging.

Human Tissue

The exhibition of human parts is prohibited except: teeth, hair, nails, histological sections, and liquid tissue slides properly acquired.


Normally, 110-volt AC, single-phase service with 500 watts per exhibit will be available.  Overhead lighting of the exhibit hall is excellent, and except for any highlighting that a finalist may desire, general illumination is unnecessary.

Exhibitors will furnish their own grounded electrical extension cords as necessary to reach power connections.


Each finalist must assemble their exhibit without major outside help, except for transportation and unpacking.


Anything which could be hazardous to public display is PROHIBITED:

  • Live disease-causing organisms which are pathogenic to man or other vertebrates.
  • Microbial cultures and fungi, live or dead.
  • Any flames, open or concealed.
  • Highly flammable display materials.
  • Dangerous chemicals including caustics and acids.
  • Highly combustible solids, fluids, or gases.  Inert substitutes must be used if such materials are required for the display.
  • Tanks that have contained combustible gases, including butane and propane, unless they’ve been purged with carbon dioxide.
  • Any drug listed under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, Public Law 91-513, 91st Congress, H.R. 18533, Oct. 27, 1970, as amended.
  • Operation of a Class III or IV Laser.
  • Experiments involving the use of explosive materials.  For example, experiments involving potato guns will not be allowed. 

Proper attention to safety is expected of all Science Fair participants, including compliance with the following requirements for all operating exhibits:

  • Any exhibit producing temperatures exceeding 100EC (212EF) must be adequately insulated from its surroundings.
  • Batteries with open-top cells are not permitted.  Other types of batteries may be used for electric power.
  • High-voltage equipment must be shielded with a grounded metal box or cage to prevent accidental contact.
  • Large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices must be properly shielded.
  • High voltage wiring, switches, and metal parts must be located out of reach of observers and designed with an adequate overload safety factor.
  • Electric circuits for 110-volt AC must have an Underwriters Laboratories-approved cord of proper load-carrying capacity, which is at least six feet long and equipped with a standard grounded plug.
  • All wiring must be properly insulated.  Nails, tacks, or uninsulated staples must not be used to fasten wiring.
  • Bare wire and exposed knife switches may be used only on circuits of 12 volts or less; otherwise standard enclosed switches are required.
  • Electrical connections in 110-volt circuits must be soldered or fixed under approved connectors and connecting wires properly insulated.
  • Safety precautions for substances in the American Chemical Society (1155 - 16th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20036), booklet “A Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories”.

Each research exhibit will be examined to ensure that it conforms to the MACSF Rules for display size, quarantine, safety, animal research, human subjects, and recombinant DNA.  Exhibitors not conforming will be disqualified, and the exhibit must be removed.  No changes, modifications, or additions to exhibits may be made after approval by the Display and Safety Committee and the Scientific Review Committee.

For more information, contact our fair coordinator:

Jodi Dillon
(573) 518-3824