Middle School Paper Rules and Guidelines

The Middle School Paper Competition follows guidelines for the National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, which is the high school paper competition. The complete set of rules can be found at http://www.jshs.org/guidelines.html

For the state level of middle school paper competition, no need to send electronic copies of any papers to the Academy of Science. Have 2-3 copies of your paper with you for the presentation room judges.

Excerpts from National JSHS on what to include in your middle school paper:

The paper should be a minimum of 5-6 pages and a maximum of 20 pages, including appendices.

Photography may be used in the oral presentations.

Graphs, tables, diagrams, charts, or other graphic representation should be simple to allow the judges on-line access to the research paper.

A recommended outline for the research paper includes:        

  1. a title page, or cover page stating the student's name, school address, and title of the research;
  2. acknowledgement of major assistance received;
  3. table of contents;
  4. if applicable, statement that "resesarch involving non-human vertebrates or human subjects was conducted under the supervision of an experienced teacher or researcher and followed state and federal regulatory guidance applicable to the human and ethical conduct of such research";
  5. introduction;
  6. materials and methods;
  7. results (data or findings);
  8. discussion and conclusions;
  9. references, or literature cited;
  10. and appendices (if necessary).

Presentation Time

Middle school paper presenters will have 12 minutes to present their scientific research in an oral presentation followed by 6 minutes for questions asked by judges only. Room moderators will keep time and let students know how much time they have remaining using visual cues. Room moderators will also keep judges to 6 minutes of Q & A.

Presentation Materials

Students should use PowerPoint slides for their presentation and must bring their own laptops. Projector equipment will be available.


Abstracts for middle school papers must not exceed 200 words. If an abstract is submitted in violation of the abstract length, it will be sent back to the student for corrections until the abstract meets length requirements.

Excerpts from National guidelines on Abstracts:

The format for the (not more than) 200-word abstract includes: 1 inch margins, keyed in 10 or 12 point font (Times or Times New Roman). Abstracts must be adequate in length but not exceed these specifications. The header preceding the abstract body must include:

1. Title of the research;
2. Authors name(s);
3. Middle school, Middle school city, Middle school state;
4. Name of teacher/mentor/sponsor and his or organization. Precede the individual's name with a subheading (i.e. teacher, mentor, sponsor);
5. Include one line of space between the heading and the abstract body.