Display and Safety

Safety: Prohibited Items


The Reading-Berks Science and Engineering Fair is an ISEF-affiliated science fair. ISEF provides guidelines for the safety of the students and the public. ISEF guidelines have been used to develop the following rules.

  • Living organisms e.g. live plants, animals, microbes (bacteria), fungi (mushrooms) Suggestion: use photographs or drawings
  • Dried plant materials 
  • Taxidermy specimens or parts, preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals (includes embryos human or animal food, human or animal parts) Exceptions: teeth, hair, nails, dried animal bones, histological dry mount sections, wet mount tissue slides, empty container of product or picture
  •  Soil or waste samples
  • All chemicals, INCLUDING WATER Suggestion: use the empty container or art supplies to simulate the product
  • Soaps, paints, make-up, shampoo, other cosmetics
  • Poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices (i.e. firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices) 
  • Dry ice or other sublimating solids (solids which vaporize to a gas without passing through a liquid phase)
  • Sharp items (syringes, needles, pipettes, any sharp pointed objects on a display)
  • Flames or highly flammable display materials 
  • Empty tanks or containers that previously contained combustible liquids or gases, unless purged with carbon dioxide 
  • Batteries with open top cells (acceptable to use 1.5 v flashlight battery)
  • Awards, medals, business cards, flags, corporate or institutional logos 
  • Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in other-than-normal conditions (i.e.. surgical techniques, dissection, necropsies or other lab techniques)


  • Projects with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains and moving parts with tension or pinch points 
  • Class III and IV lasers
  • Any device requiring over 110 volts.

The RBSEF will reject any exhibit which, in its opinion, is not safe or which constitutes a hazard in a public exhibition.

There will be no exceptions to these rules!

Eligibility and Exhibit Rules

1. Eligibility Rules: Determine whether or not you can compete.

  • Your exhibit may not be an identical repetition of one you entered at the Reading-Berks Science & Engineering Fair in a previous year.
  • You may not enter a team project (project completed by more than one student).
  • You may compete in only one science fair affiliated with the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) in any one school year. If you have competed in a fair not affiliated with ISEF, you may enter that project in the Reading Berks Science & Engineering Fair.
  • If you are in grades 6, 7 or 8, you will enter your exhibit in the Junior Division.
  • If you are in grades 9, 10, 11 or 12, you will enter your exhibit in the Senior Division.
  • You must apply for display space at RBSEF before the registration deadline.
  • Your school must be in Berks County. If you are a homeschool student, you must live in Berks County.
  • Cyber school students must live in Berks County and register as homeschool students.
  • If your project involves vertebrate animals, human subjects, tissue, recombinant DNA, pathogenic/potentially pathogenic agents, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices, or blood – you must fill out special forms (see button below) and get approval BEFORE you start experimenting.

2. Exhibit Information: Size and Weight Restrictions

  • Size limits for all exhibits: Grades 6 through 12
    Maximum size of 36 inches wide, 72 inches high and 15 inches deep is allowed for table top exhibits. Floor exhibits with a maximum height of 108 inches are available by request only.
  • Weight limits for all exhibits: Grades 6 through 12
    All table top projects must weigh less than 100 pounds. Floor exhibits are available with a weight limit of 250 pounds.
  • Size accommodations for senior division, grades 9 through 12 only
    For the senior division only, if your project requires a 48-inch wide space, you may make a request and a wider space will be assigned to you at project setup.

3. Disqualifying Violations 

  • Your exhibit may not have any words or photos that identify you or your subjects in your project.
  • You may not acknowledge names, email addresses, or physical addresses of individuals who have helped you with your project.
  • You may not include  your school name, teacher’s name or your frontal (face) picture on your project board or in your notebook.

4. Additional Exhibit Guidance

  • Your exhibit should include a project notebook and research paper placed on the table in front of your display.
  • Your project number must be on the back of the display board and in the notebook.
  • Set up your project between the lines in the correct space. Your first name and project id will be on a sticker on the table indicating your designated display area.

RBSEF Required Forms

1. Forms for Grades 6-8

  • All students complete Form 1: Checklist for Adult Sponsor
  • All students complete Form 1B: Approval Form
  • If you do not need to check items in number 4 (projects dealing with vertebrate animals, some human experiments, fungi, microbes, recombinant DNA and tissue cultures) of Form 1,  you are finished.
  •  If you do need to check any items in 4 on Form 1 you need to follow the Grade 9-12 form requirements.

2.  Forms for Grades 9-12

  • All students complete Form 1: Checklist for Adult Sponsor
  • All students complete Form 1A: Student Checklist (numbers 10 Research Plan and 11 Abstract  are optional and not required  for this fair, use of estimated dates is ok)
  • All students complete Form 1B: Approval Form
  •  If you need to check any items in 4 on Form 1, (projects dealing with vertebrate animals, some human experiments, fungi, microbes, recombinant DNA and tissue cultures) additional forms may be required.
  • Use the ISEF Rules Wizard to help you determine which forms to use.