Elementary Division

Project Restrictions     School Registration for SEFI     NIRSEF Registration


Overview of registration process for local fair coordinators, teachers, parents, and/or sponsors. More details on each step are further down this page.

  1. Log into the Science Education Foundation of Indiana (SEFI) website before the end of the calendar year to let us know your school is participating this year.
  2. Enter in names of all students participating in your local fair
  3. Select students to attend NIRSEF. Enter student information and project title, category, and a 1-2 sentence abstract (description of project). Returning schools can send as many projects as they've sent in previous years. In general, schools can send twice as many students as the number of grades participating in the school science fair. Schools with large participation can request additional spaces.
  4. After project and student information is complete, check "Advance to Regionals" within SEFI website. If you advance them before asking students/parents to enter information it will NOT save.
  5. Have students for NIRSEF through the Notre Dame website and pay $12 fee (per student not project). They can pay online, agree to pay the day of fair, or state that the school will pay.

Project Restrictions

The following are prohibited in K-8 Science Fair Projects with NO Exceptions

  • NO MOLD OR BACTERIAL STUDIES FOR STUDENTS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (GRADES K-5) WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ENTRY TO AN INDIANA REGIONAL FAIR.
  • Biological Agents Experiments at Home projects that use or study microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, prions, fungi and parasites.
  • Vertebrate Animal Research involving pain, withholding of food or water. All Vertebrate animal research should be reviewed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Class IV Lasers (All use of lower class lasers must be under direct supervision of a qualified adult)
  • Radioactive substances or equipment that emits any form of ionizing radiation
  • Hazardous Chemicals or reagents, DEA Controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, firearms or explosives.

The following may be permitted but only with permission from the NIRSEF Safety Review Committee in advance

  • Human Subjects may be used only if all experimentation is conducted under adult supervision and student researchers have notified parents of the conditions of the experiment and provided the opportunities for subjects to opt out of participation. All guidelines for human participants research must be followed and forms submitted to an IRB committee BEFORE experimentation begins.
  • Animal Behavior Studies Research projects should be reviewed by a Veterinarian to ensure the safety of the student and animal. All Vertebrate animal studies MUST be of an observational nature and not be done with any animals other than family pets.
  • If you wish to do an animal research project, please use invertebrates!

All Safety Review Committee (SRC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB) forms can be completed on the SEFI Project registration site or can be downloaded from the Society for Science and the Public site. The philosophy of SEFI is that Elementary students should not undertake projects which require special safety approval except in rare circumstances.

back to top


School and Project Registration

Local Fair Director Letter

All teachers should read through the following information about registering your school and student projects for the NIRSEF.

  1. Register your school by logging in to the SEFI website to activate your account for the 2018-19 school year by January 1, 2019.
    • Returning Local Fair Coordinators select "Teacher Login" and reactivate your account by entering your school email address and password from the last year you sent students (you may also retrieve your password online). 
    • New Local Fair Coordinators select "New Teacher Registration," select Northern Indiana, then your school, and enter your information.
  2. Enter the names of all students participating in your local fair into the SEFI website. If you have a large number, you can send an excel spreadsheet of names to NIRSEF.
  3. February 15, 2019 is the last day for Local Fair Directors to Register Student Projects for NIRSEF via the SEFI website - this means ALL information must be finalized and each student must be selected to advance to the Regional. After you have decided which students will advance to NIRSEF, enter the student's project title and select a category. For the abstract, enter a one sentence description of the project. This helps us recategorize if needed. Once student and project information is finalized, check "advance to regionals". If you need to edit something after, you will have to uncheck the box, edit, then recheck the box.
  4. You may advance 2 students for every grade level to NIRSEF. If your school includes grades 3-5, you can send 6 students, but they could all be from 4th, or 5th grade. Additional spaces may be granted on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the number of projects you will be judging at your Local Fairs. This is another reason to input all of your students participating in your local fair and not just those advancing to NIRSEF!
  5. Once registered, teachers who want to check on their students' progress in entering project information can login at http://www.sefi.org/register/ and do so. Click on "Student Listing" and you will see a list of your students. When you click on "View", you will can check on each section of your student's information.

Forms 1-Checklist For Adult Sponsor, 1A, 1B MUST be completed by all NIRSEF participants and brought to the fair. Please note a one sentence abstract (description) must be entered into SEFI for projects advancing to NIRSEF.

back to top

NIRSEF Registration

All exhibitors attending the NIRSEF should pre-register online by Friday, February 22, 2019 and provide information about whether they can be advanced to HSEF/ISEF. The $12 fee may be paid online or in person on the day of the fair. If your school is paying the $12 per student registration fee, please pay online and advise your students to select ‘my school is paying my fee’ when they register for NIRSEF. Students still need to register even if the school is paying. If your school does not allow online payment by debit, credit, or electronic check, please contact the NIRSEF Executive Director for an invoice.

Student registration (available in 2019)

School payment (available in 2019)

Participants must bring a signed participation waiver, registration fee if not already paid, and forms 1, 1A, 1B with you to the fair.


See the SEFI website for more information. Questions about project eligibility and registration can be directed to NIRSEF.

back to top