The Display

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The display communicates the essential parts of the project in a quick, visual way. The display should be sturdy, free standing, colorful, simply illustrated, well labeled, and attractive.  The backboard may be made of pegboard, masonite, or plywood no larger than 76-cm (2.5 ft.) deep, a maximum of 122-cm (4 ft.) wide, and a maximum of 198 cm. (6.5 ft.) high (if placed on table) or 274 cm. (9 ft.) high (if placed on floor). (Of course, the display does not need to be this large). An easy-to-handle folding design is made from pegboard held together by three notebook rings between each section. Scrap wood can be covered with fabric for an attractive display.  Try requesting scraps at lumberyards, construction sites, hardware stores, or yardage stores before spending money. Foam core or folding backboards may also be purchased from science or office supply stores.

The title and section headings on the backboard should be clearly visible and readable from a distance of three to four feet. Use complementary colors as background and bright or dark letters for the titles of each section.

If using a computer to generate headings, use a boldface font of at least 18 points.  Cut paper strips and frame and/or mount the title of each section.  A photocopier can also be used to enlarge text for titles and section headings. The title should have the largest print on the display board and be neatly done.

Enlarge graphs and use color for the different lines or bars. Use photographs that are clear and sharp, with the correct exposure. A 5 x 7 photo creates a better display. There should be an explanation under each photo and graph.

Set the entire display board flat on the floor and arrange the various parts before beginning the final assembly.  Be certain all titles, graphs, photos, and text are lined up properly and in place before gluing them down. Use rubber cement instead of glue so pieces can be replaced if necessary.  Make sure the edges of the paper are glued down securely to the backing to prevent peeling or drooping later.  All this attention to detail will result in a display board that is attractive, easy to read and as neat as possible.

Safety Guidelines for the Display

  1. Fire regulations prohibit use of highly flammable materials or decorations in project displays. Background panels must be of Masonite, pegboard, hardboard, wood or foam core board, to which poster paper, cardboard or fabric may be attached.
  1. No dangerous or combustible solids, liquids or gases may be exhibited. Cylinders, tanks and/or other containers that have held such substances, unless thoroughly cleaned and/or purged with carbon dioxide, are also prohibited. Rockets MUST NOT contain fuel. No flames, open or concealed, are permitted in the display building.
  1. No syringes, pipettes or similar devices may be displayed.
  1. Devices producing temperatures in excess of 100 C must be adequately insulated.
  1. The following electrical safety rules must be observed:
  • Wiring must be properly insulated and fastened.
  • Wiring, switches and metal parts of high voltage circuits must be located out of reach of observers and must include an overload safety device.
  • High voltage equipment must be shielded with a grounded metal box or cage to prevent accidental contact.
  • Approved connecting cords of the proper load-carrying capacity must be used for 110-volt operation of lights, motors, transformers and other equipment.
  • Standard switches must be used for 110-volt circuits. Open knife switches or bell-ringing push buttons are not acceptable for circuits exceeding 12 volts.
  • Batteries with open top cells (wet cell batteries) are not permitted
  • Electrical connections in 110-volt circuits must be soldered or fixed under approved connectors and have connecting wires properly insulated.
  • Electrical circuits for 110-volt AC must have an Underwriters Laboratory approved cord (or proper load carrying capacity) at least 2 meters long and equipped with a standard grounded plug.
  • Devices (vacuum tubes, lasers, etc.) which generate dangerous rays must be properly shielded.
  1. Only lasers with less than 1 miliwatt output may be operated at the Fair. These lasers must (1) have a protective housing or barricade preventing human access to the beam during operation, (2) be disconnected from the power source when not in operation, (3) be operated only in the presence of the exhibitor, and (4) when displayed, be accompanied by the following sign: LASER RADIATION; DO NOT STARE INTO BEAM. (See Science Safety Handbook for California Public Schools for specific details regarding laser use.)
  1. No live or preserved plants, vertebrate or invertebrate animals or parts (including embryos, microbial cultures or fungi, (whether known to be disease causing or not) may be exhibited at the Fair. Sealed insect collections will be permitted on display.

  2. Human parts, other than teeth, hair, nails, histological sections and liquid tissue slides may NOT be exhibited.

  3. Photographs or other visual presentations depicting humans or vertebrate animals in other than normal conditions may not be displayed on the student’s exhibit.

  4. The use of Controlled Substances (drugs, chemicals, anesthetics, etc.), are regulated by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and must conform to existing local, state and federal laws. Such substances may not be exhibited at the Fair.


Click here to download the Science Fair Displays slideshow PDF

Click here to download the PDF for Display Examples

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