10 Science fair tips to get you through without pulling your hair out.
Science fairs can be fun if you let them.
Usually there are moans and groans when science fair comes around but it doesn’t have to be that way; and I’m not just talking about “having a good attitude” (I’m sure you have heard that already from your teacher). Isn’t there something you have always wanted to learn about? (I’m sure you’ve heard that one from your teacher too) but it is the key to having a good science fair project. You are following the scientific method to find out about stuff all of the time, you just need to realize it. Do you ever use “siri” or “alexa” to find out stuff? Is there a new “something” that you want to try out? Do you ever think, “I wonder how that works?” or “why does it do that?” (be honest) The science fair is your teacher’s “go-ahead” on doing pretty much whatever you want. There are guidelines that keep kids safe, so make sure you know them and follow them. Here are some tips to make it through the rest of the fair.
Here are the tips
- Have fun. Pick a topic that you actually want to learn about. I always start with a list of stuff that I like but I’m not the only one that adds to it. I ask family and friends and teachers and coaches about stuff that they feel that I am good at or interested in. This gives my brain a little break because for some reason as soon as someone asks me about me, I can’t think of anything…..so I ask them.
- Make sure your topic is adjusted to be age appropriate. Don’t take on the world just yet, this is just a science fair not the end of the world. Simple projects are often the best.
- Follow the method. The entire reason that science fairs were developed and are still going on is to encourage students to train themselves to follow the scientific method to learn about the world and make it a more innovative place. The scientific method isn’t some crazy set of steps to follow but is just a way to methodically find out real information about a topic. It helps to eliminate false information. Seriously, how many times do you find false information on the Internet? (Like how to pop popcorn with a cellphone)
- Record everything. Date it. Time it. Seriously, even if you don’t think that you will end up doing that project, if you do any research or tests, record everything, date it, and time it. It’s best to get a brand new notebook, just for your project as soon as you start.
- Make sure you follow the fair guidelines and your teacher’s guidelines. These are in place to keep you safe and so that you know how to win. Just think if you were playing football and you didn’t know the rules, it wouldn’t be very fun. That’s what happens at science fairs. Students show up with an amazing display and then find out that it is all “wrong”. If only these students had known the rules to begin with. If you don’t know them, then ask!
- Make a list of ideas and keep it so if one idea doesn’t work out you can quickly switch to the next. Need I say more?
- Don’t wait until the last minute because there will be hitches for sure. I promise!
- Take a ton of pics at every step with you in them. These will come in handy when you are making your display. They are also nice if you have forgotten to record stuff.
- Be sure you record and present all of your data. For some reason, there is this idea that there is only one right answer when it comes to data. Sometimes students think that their data should be a certain way but data is just data and it should all be recorded and then analyzed, not the other way around. Also, know the difference between independent and dependent variables. These are chosen by you based on what you are doing. The independent variable is something that you are measuring and have decided on. For example, time. You chose to measure at 3 second intervals. The dependent variable is something that happens because of the independent variable. For example, at 3 seconds the solution is 32 degrees F and then at 6 seconds it is 20 degrees F. The dependent variable changes as the time changes. It wouldn’t make sense to say that you will measure the time when its temperature is at 32 degrees F; the temperature changes depending on the time.
- Make a visual display that isn’t too artsy. You should have an eye-catching display but if it is too busy the judges will have a difficult time figuring out what you actually did. Include graphs and pictures not lengthy descriptions. The judges will ask you anyway about your procedure so be sure to give a clear concise description but be prepared to tell the judges all of the nitty-gritty details. Also, make sure that you understand your own graphs and what they tell about your data. Include all of this in a conclusion that is once again, clear and concise.
Well, there you go. These are my tips. I’d love to hear yours. What did you do for your project? What did you wish you had included? Or what do you wish that you had excluded?
Leave me a comment about how your science fair went.