What a Fair Project Looks Like
Here’s a picture of scientist Ava and her project from 2019. Projects should..
- Clearly share 1) what you did, 2) why you did it, 3) how you did it, 4) what you learned, and 5) what you’d love to do next. You will have to present all of this to the judges in 8-10 minutes, and be ready to answer questions. It’s OK if you don’t have an hypothesis – for example, you might be building something you’re really excited about and so your project will be about why you built it, what it is, how you built it and what you’d do next. Or, you might have a more “traditional” project, and be developing and testing an hypothesis. Or, you might be really researching a topic to see how something works, and your project might be an explanation of something. If it’s STEM you can do it for your project.
- The presentation needs to include enough content to explain your work. This typically means use of a tri-fold poster (36×48), which is the format that you would need if you go to the State fair. If there is an alternative format that you want to use (use your imagination) then check with the organizers and include it in your Project Plan. It will have to fit within the footprint of approximately a 30 inches deep x 36 inches wide table-top you are welcome to submit that. We will need to be safe – no hazardous chemicals or open flames, caution regarding electrical (this will be reviewed at the project plan stage) etc. but we are open to creative presentation forms. Absolutely no non-human animals allowed in the presentation itself.
- You may have a video as part of your presentation, but it can’t be the sole component. For example, if your project involved something outside, or use of a device or instrument you built that is too large or complex to bring indoors, you could make a video of it and then a small scale model to present. You will need to bring the technology needed to share the video. If you wrote some code you’ll need to have a printout of the code with an explanation of what it’s doing shared on your poster.
- You should have a complete list of resources you used, including readings, websites visited, people who helped (their full names and how they helped you), and supplies you used (what they were, where you got them etc.).
Examples of projects from other fairs
- NASA Globe competition, mix of middle and high school project participants see here.
- A cool example of an 8th grade project that lead to a cool discovery that can help with hearing aids, see here.
- An 8th grade project example, student poster, model and presentation, see here.
If you need help coming up with an idea for a project, consider this…
- Think of your project as research (because it is). Remember you can work on a project over a few years, presenting how you have done more every year. This is a winning strategy at major competitions and it makes it easier to keep going.
- Take a look at previous projects by researching videos online in YouTube with search terms like “Science Fair 8th grade” or “Science Fair robot” etc.
- Consider talking to a local scientist or other STEM practitioner like an engineer! A good conversation can help you come up with a good idea.
- Take a look at some of the sites out there dedicated to sharing ideas like these:
Feel free to reach out and ask the Fair organizers (Loren and Brian) for help too – emails below. We’re STEM people! we’re at: Loren Launen = firstname.lastname@example.org, Brian Moore = email@example.com.