ORGANISING AND RUNNING A SCIENCE FAIR

GOAL

Running a Science Fair is an excellent opportunity  to provide your students with an authentic audience to showcase their work in science. It helps them develop their communication skills and encourages deeper engagement in their research projects. Science Fairs also provide opportunities for community engagement with science programs in your school. Think about involving parents who are scientists as judges as well.

POSTER BOARD DETAILS

Students will need to present their investigations on poster boards. Boards need to be of a specified size to provide uniformity across the school. They are usually made from card or corrugated cardboard.  

Advise students on the best structure for their boards. They should be organised with the main sections of their investigation: Aim, Hypothesis, Materials, Method etc. Encourage the use of photographs and graphs.

University of Wollongong has a lot of excellent advice about the structure of science fair boards on their website. https://smah.uow.edu.au/sciencefair/displayboard/index.html

PRIOR TO THE DAY

Decide on the venue for your science fair. A school hall or similar is usually the best option. Organise sufficient tables for the displays. Make sure there is enough room for the student to stand beside their display board as well as space for judges and audience members.

Posters can be attached to Corflute boards. Two corflute boards can be attached with masking tape to make a stand up board. Corflute is available at most good stationery or office supplies stores. It can be expensive to buy but can easily be reused from year to year.

Make sure you are coordinating with classroom teachers. Organise the schedule for the day (see below) to maximise the number of students from the school who can visit the fair.

Assemble a panel of judges. These could either be other teachers, parents with a scientific background

Send emails or letters inviting parents to the fair. Advertise the fair in the school newsletter. Ask students to create posters advertising the fair – this could be a great opportunity for cross KLA collaboration combining science and literacy outcomes.

Consider inviting the local newspaper or other local media, and other schools in your community.

ON THE DAY

Draw up a schedule for the day to allow all classes to visit the fair. Allow approximately half an hour per session.  Make sure the students presenting get an opportunity for breaks through the day.

Set aside a time for the judges to visit and interview the students.

Invite parents to visit after school.

JUDGING

Provide judges with the assessment criteria prior to the day of the fair so they are familiar with the outcomes you are targeting. Depending on the experience of the judges, it may also be  useful to also provide them with a list of questions they can ask the students. For example …

  1. What was the aim of your investigation? What question were you hoping to answer?
  2. How did you come up with your idea? Why did you find it interesting?
  3. What did you predict would happen? What was your hypothesis?
  4. How did you set up your investigation? What did you do to make sure it was a fair test?

University of Wollongong once again has lots of good question suggestions. http://smah.uow.edu.au/sciencefair/questionstoask/index.html

Create a marking sheet for judges and provide sufficient copies on a clipboard to each judge.