The Ins & Outs of Science Fairs: Preparing Your Display Board & Presentation - Eva Varga

July 24, 2014

This is the fourth post in a 5 day series, The Ins & Outs of Science Fairs

science fairs

Preparing Your Science Fair Display Board

For almost every science fair project, you need to prepare a display board to communicate your work to others. In most cases you will use a standard, three-panel display board that unfolds to be 36″ tall by 48″ wide. Be sure to check the rules and regulations of your local fair, however.

Organize your information so that your audience can easily follow your experiment by reading from top to bottom, then left to right. Include each step:  abstract or summary (in brief, what is your project share or demonstrate), question or problem, hypothesis, variables, background research, results, materials and methods, and finally your conclusion.

You may also wish to include acknowledgements to give thanks to those who helped you along the way.  This is particularly true if resource specialists or other scientists provided assistance.
display board

The title should be big and easily read from across the room. Choose one that accurately describes your work, but also grabs peoples’ attention.

Use photos or draw diagrams to present non-numerical data, to propose models that explain your results, or just to show your experimental setup.

Your laboratory notebook and any materials you used may also interest. Again, be sure to check the rules for your science fair.

Preparing Your Science Fair Presentation

  • If you can communicate your science fair project well, you improve your chances of winning.
  • Write up a short “speech” (about 2–5 minutes long) summarizing your science fair project. Talk about how you developed the idea, the theory behind it, and why your project turned out the way it did. You will give this speech when you first meet the judges.
  • Practice explaining your science fair project to others and pretend they are judges. You may wish to organize a list of questions you think the judges will ask you. Prepare answers to these questions and then practice answering them.
  • Practice explaining your science fair project in simple terms so anyone can understand it.

science fair display boardTips for Success During the Science Fair Judging Period

  • Dress nicely.
  • Make good use of your display board. Point to diagrams and graphs when you are discussing them.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic.
  • Be confident with your answers and speak clearly.
  • It is okay to say “I do not know.”
  • Treat each person who visits you like a judge, even nonscientists.
  • After the science fair, ask for feedback from the judges to improve your project.

Join me again tomorrow for the final installment in the Ins and Outs of Science Fairs: Getting the Most Out of a Science Fair.


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