ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Tips for a Successful Science Fair Project

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tips for a Successful Science Fair Project

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The late winter months are traditionally science fair season. Millions of children across the country will begin dreaming up experiments and projects to enter in school science fairs.

5 Tips for a Successful Science Fair Project

1. Pick a realistic project to complete: All too often kids pick science fair experiments and projects that are difficult to complete, leaving parents with a frustrated child, and students with no project to turn in. When brainstorming possible projects with your child, walk them through the logistics of completing the project so that you can flag any difficulties at the onset.

2. Start early: A science fair project can be a student’s first attempt at time management. Work with your child to plan out when he or she is going to work on their project to meet key deadlines.

3. Keep a record: It is obviously critical to record the data and information collected during the experiment, but you also might want to keep a photographic record that your child can use in their final display board. Pictures are worth a thousand words!

4. Follow the rules and requirements: If the rules stipulate no live animal displays, soil samples, hazardous materials, glass containers or animal products, don't choose a project that demands such items to be displayed for judging. Always refer back to the rules and requirements of the project to ensure your child won’t be penalized or disqualified.

5. Get the judges’ attention: If you’ve spent countless hours working on a science fair project, make sure that your project gets the attention it deserves with a great display.

5 Presentation Tips for Youngsters

1. Practice out loud: Practice may not make perfect, but it sure does help. Aim for giving the presentation out loud to a family or friend in advance of the real date. Reading it to yourself off the paper doesn’t count!
2. No ifs, ands or buts: If you lose your place or get nervous, just pause a second, take a breath and restart your sentence. Avoid the tendency to fill in presentation gaps with speech bloopers such as “um,” “er,” and “uhh.”

3. Keep an eye on your body language: Awkward shifting and hand gestures can be distracting to your audience. Practice your speech in the mirror or videotape it to see just how much you move while speaking.

4. Look ‘em in the eye: Ensure you make eye contact with your audience several times during your presentation. Eye contact keeps people interested and engaged in what you are saying. Plus, this small gesture will make you seem confident and look like a pro.

5. Don’t let a poor visual ruin your presentation: Make sure any visual, like a poster, is attention grabbing and complements your presentation. If you need tips on creating a poster, check out ArtSkills for a step-by-step guide on quick and easy poster creation.

Thank you to ArtSkills, a family owned company specializing in posterboard accessories, for sending us this helpful resource for putting together a spectacular science fair presentation. The company’s website is the go-to resource for poster making, featuring an exclusive design tool and ever-increasing gallery of poster layout ideas.    The example posters have been used with permission from Vault Communications.


  1. thanks for the visuals! my dd is doing a project about static electricity and balloons!

  2. Nice article! I love the posters!