Display Guidelines

All science projects MUST comply with the Science Exhibit Rules and the Science Display Guidelines.

Exhibit Size

Grades 9-12

  • Select either standard size exhibit or ISEF size exhibit. (It is recommended that serious contenders for ISEF use the ISEF size exhibit):
    • Standard size exhibit – Exhibit not to exceed 65 cm (25″) in width, 60 cm (2′) in depth, and 120 cm (4′) in height.
    • ISEF size exhibit – Exhibit not to exceed 122 cm (4′) in width, 76 cm (30″) in depth, and 274 cm (108″) in height. Electricity is only available for Intel-ISEF finalists during the interviews.

Not Allowed At Exhibit:


    • Living organisms
    • Taxidermy specimens or parts
    • Preserved vertebrates or invertebrates
    • Human/animal parts or body fluids
    • Photos or other visual presentations depicting vertebrates in surgical techniques, dissections, necropsies, or other lab procedures


    •  Living plants
    •  Plant materials (living, dead or preserved) in their raw, unprocessed or non-manufactured state.


    • Human or animal food
    • Laboratory/household chemicals, including water
    • Poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices (Examples: firearms, weapons, tobacco products and enriched radioactive materials.)
    • Dry ice or other sublimating solids
    • Sharp items (Example: knives)
    • Flames or highly flammable materials
    • Batteries with open-top cells
    • Awards, medals, business cards, flags, endorsements, and/or other acknowledgements (graphic or written) unless the item is an integral part of the exhibit.
    • Active Internet or e-mail connections as part of displaying or operating the exhibit.
    • Glass or glass objects unless deemed by the Science Director to be an integral part of the exhibit.
    • Any apparatus deemed unsafe by the Scientific Review Committee or the Science Director.  (Example: lasers, large vacuum tubes, or empty tanks previously containing combustibles)

Allowed At Exhibit (with Restrictions):

  • Soil or waste samples if permanently encased in a slab of acrylic
    • Photos and/or other visual depictions if:
    • Deemed non-offensive by the Science Director
    • Credited sources (“Photograph taken by…” or “Images taken from…”) are attached.  If all images are from a single source, one credit is sufficient.
    • Signed consent forms for photographs of human subjects are included at the exhibit.
  • Electrical devices or any apparatus with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains or moving parts with tension points MUST be INOPERABLE AND FOR DISPLAY ONLY.
  • Nature collections must be sealed behind acrylic making the materials inaccessible to the public.  (Plastic wrap is NOT good enough.)
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