Pattern Banner
What is A Science Fair Project?

A science fair project is a unique way for students to pose questions for which they must seek out answers and to satisfy their own curiosity about the world around them. A science fair project is an experiment, a demonstration, a research effort, a collection of scientific items, or display of scientific apparatus presented for viewing. It represents the efforts of a student's investigation into some area of interest and provides a way for the student to share the results of those investigations. Through the development of a science fair project, students gain a first-hand appreciation of the work of scientists and the value of their discoveries. Science fair projects consist of three essential components: the display unit, the exhibit materials, and the written report. Together, these elements present a complete and thorough examination of an area of interest, a collection of new knowledge, or the results of a self-initiated experiment.

Display Backdrop

The display unit (also known as the backboard) is critical to the presentation. It is what people see first-it establishes the professionalism of the student's efforts. As a kind of "advertisement" for the project, it must be well constructed and designed for maximum visual effect. Usually, it stands or rests on a table behind the other exhibit materials.

Exhibit Materials

The materials, items, devices, and samples shown in front of the backdrop unit can be an exciting part of any science project. These materials should reflect the items used throughout the student's investigation; they should provide a firsthand look at the scope of the project. As a rule of thumb, the display items should tell a story or illustrate a concept sufficiently so that the student scientist need not be present to explain the entire project to an observer.

Written Report

The written report is a compilation of everything the student did to investigate the selected topic. It contains all the information the student collected or learned during the weeks leading up to the actual science fair. Whether the student decides to do an experiment, assemble a collection of objects, demonstrate a scientific principle, conduct some research into a specific area of science, or show a particularly interesting piece of scientific apparatus, it will be necessary to record observations and information in written form. This written report provides observers with vital data on the scope of a project as well as the student's understanding of the topic.

Any written report for a science fair project should include the following:

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Hypothesis (for a scientific investigation)
  • Research
  • Materials
  • Procedure
  • Observations and Results
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgements

Back to Introduction

Next Subject > How-To's For The Successful Science Fair

Copyright © 2000 Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.