What is a science fair?

A science fair is a place for students to present their science projects to professional scientists and to the community. Its main purpose is to get you excited about science by doing it rather than simply learning about it. A scientist first asks a question about some aspect of the world and then tries to find its answer. At the science fair, each student presents a project, both visually and orally, with the question and answer displayed in an interesting way. Students should be able to explain their projects and answer questions.

For additional inspiration and ideas for science project topics, consider reviewing the Brookline Science K-8 Big Ideas.


Registration will open January 13 and close Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

There is a $10 registration fee per student

  • Scholarships are available - email to inquire.

  • Please drop off an envelope with $10 per student to the Main Office, including: Child's Name, Grade, and Teacher

  • Checks should be made out to "Driscoll School PTO".


(details will be finalized closer to the event):

Saturday, March 7, 2020

K-2nd grade in the Cafeteria

9:00 School Open for Scientist Setup
9:30 Judging Begins
10:30 K-2 Awards Ceremony in Cafeteria
11:00 K-2 Finish
11:00 Science show in Cafeteria for all ages

3rd-8th Grade in the Gymnasium

9:00 School Open for Scientist Setup
9:30 Judging Begins
11:00 Judging ends. Science show in Cafeteria for all ages
11:30 Awards Ceremony in Gymnasium
12:00 3rd-8th Grade Finish

Judging Criteria

This year all the students have the option of being judged, but only grades 3-8 will be able to be part of the competition. Students in K through 2 will interact with judges and receive feedback, but there will be no formal competition. The competition is voluntary; students do not have to compete or be judged if they don’t wish to, but we do encourage every student to speak with the judges as most kids report that this is the highlight of the fair for them.

A first prize is awarded in each grade from grade 3-8, and there may also be a few special judges’ awards. Each grade is judged separately. Multi-student projects from different grades are classified according to the grade of the oldest participant. The total number of awards will not be more than one-quarter of the number of projects in that grade. A major component of the score is the quality of the presentation (both physical and verbal). Home-built models carry more weight than commercial kits. Since novelty and creativity are important, there may be fair-wide awards for different criteria such as: the most beautiful project, the funniest, the most disgusting, and most unusual, etc.

Proposed judging criteria:

  • Oral Presentation 30%

  • Creativity 30%

  • Scientific Excellence 30%

  • Poster 10%

  • Bonus: Organized log book (or journal)

For a more detailed description of how to judge, please consult this Regional Fair Judging Guideline.

Restricted Materials

Some things just aren't appropriate for an elementary or middle school science fair project. See an extracted list of materials that a Science Fair project may not involve at any stage.

For additional details, please consult manual for the Massachusetts State Fair Manual.

Prohibited items:

  • Blood products, fresh tissue, teeth or bodily fluids

  • Blood products, fresh tissue, teeth or bodily fluids

  • Nonhuman vertebrate animals and their parts, exception eggs

  • Ingestion or inhalation of any substance by humans subjects (no smelling or chewing of ANYTHING)

  • Pathogenic agents*

  • Recombinant DNA

  • Carcinogenic or mutagenic chemicals

  • Compressed gas (including, but not limited to CO2)

  • Controlled substances

  • Explosive chemicals

  • Hazardous substances or devices (including, but not limited to BB guns, paint ball guns, potato cannons, air cannons)

  • High voltage equipment

  • Highly toxic chemicals

  • Lasers (any strength)

  • Ionizing radiation X-rays or nuclear energy

  • Radioactive materials (except non-ionizing, naturally occurring materials)


Check out these resources for project ideas:

More information about the steps for your Science Investigation

What Makes a Good Project?

  1. You ask a question in a subject you are interested in – it’s something you like to think about and will be happy to spend time working on.
    For example, you may have a pet bird at home who is a very picky eater. What is its favorite food? Does it ever get tired of eating the same food all the time? Once you’ve chosen a question, you must figure out a way to find the answer to your question. There are many ways to answer questions. You can design an experiment or a survey, build a model, or write a computer program that could help you find the answer.

  2. A good project is one you can do mostly by yourself, with only a little help from grown ups - parents, Science Fair Organizers, teachers, and friends.
    The reason to do a project is because it is fun and will help you learn something you didn’t know before. Having someone else help you too much takes away some of your fun at discovering something new, and you don’t learn as much. Your project doesn’t have to be perfect – if it follows the scientific method and is neat enough to read then it is good.

  3. A good project is something you design and build by yourself from regular or every-day materials.
    Doing it by yourself is more satisfying than simply buying a kit someone else made in the store. If you need any special equipment that you can’t find easily at home or in a store, please contact the Science Fair organizers, and we’ll try to help you get it.

  4. A good project is one that, when you’re done with it, makes you think of new things.
    One way to tell if you have a good project is to see if the results make you wonder about other things. Did seeing what happened in your project make you think of other questions you’d like to know the answer to? That’s a great project!

State Science Fair Information

We follow the rules for the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair, so the top finishers of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the Brookline Science fair are eligible to advance to the regional science fair, which ultimately feeds into the Massachusetts State Science Fair.

Ultimately, the decision of which, if any, students advance beyond the Driscoll Science Fair is at the sole discretion of the judges and Science Fair Organizers. The decision will be communicated to the students shortly following the Driscoll Science Fair.

Advancing to Regional State Fairs

Your project must follow these regulations to advance beyond the Driscoll Science Fair to the regionals or state.

Regional Science Fair

State Science & Engineering Fair