How to Prepare for the Science Fair
One question we get over and over again here is, “How do I do my science fair project?” Now I can’t do your science fair project for you. That wouldn’t be right at all, but I can definitely give you some tips and advice to ensure your project is the best it can be!
Science Fair Project
The science fair is a tradition in schools around the world. It’s a science based competition that is focused on learning and gaining knowledge, while having fun with science. Kids spend a lot of time book learning in a classroom, the science fair is a time to create science with their own hands and curious minds.
So how do you get started on a Science Fair Project?
First, before you do anything, read the rules, regulations, timelines, parameters, and any other pertinent information relating to your specific science fair. These can vary so it is very important that you become familiar with the requirements for your specific fair.
Once you have that information it’s time to start working on your project!
There are essentially seven steps to a science fair project. So let’s take a look at each step.
Steps of the Science Fair Project & Scientific Method
Here is a quick summary of each step when doing a science fair project. Scroll down for more details.
Choose your Topic
Pick something that makes you curious. The best science fair topics are passion projects!
Ask a Question
This is the BIG question, it usually also ties nicely into your title.
Do lots of research! Learn all you can before jumping into your experiment.
Write a Hypothesis
This is your educated guess, after doing your research, on what the outcome of your experiment will be.
Do the Experiment
Sounds simple, but this is a multifaceted part of the science fair project. Make sure you are documenting everything. Not only taking notes, but take pictures or record video of your experiment.
Evaluate and Draw a Conclusion
Analysis of the experiment results also leads into a conclusion that relates back to your hypothesis and question.
Prepare and present your findings. This could be in a written report, a presentation or a video report.
The Science Fair Method
Pick Your Topic
Pick something that makes you curious. If you are interested and excited about the topic, your energy and enthusiasm will be felt by others. If you want to replicate a project or experiment you have seen done by others, test it out a bit with some mini test runs before deciding it will be your project. It’s important to you find your own, unique perspective and approach for a project. You don’t want to just copy what someone else has done. Use your creativity and imagination!
ASK A QUESTION
The second step in preparing for the science fair is to come up with your big question. The question that you are trying to answer with your project. Perhaps your question is around how viable the project idea is, or how changing certain variables may impact the results. Your question could be around solving a problem. Perhaps even a big problem. Sometimes it takes a young, creative, eager mind to come up with unique solutions to big problems. Don’t underestimate yourself. Whatever you chose, make it something interesting, a question that makes you excited to do your project and discover the answer! Think… can I solve a problem? Can I fix something? Can I create something new?
One tip on figuring out your question, consider reframing the idea. So, maybe you decide to do the Skittles Experiment. When we did it, we asked the question, “Could we make art with Skittles and Water?” Perhaps your question could have bigger implications. Maybe you could use Skittles to explore how pollution travels through standing water in order to better understand how to clean it up. Your question could be “Can we create a model with Skittles that will provide an understanding of how pollution travels through standing bodies of water?”
Spend time researching your topic. Go to the library, purchase some books, do some online research, or even better talk to some professionals. See what you can learn about your topic. Perhaps it will give you some new insights, new things to consider, or even new questions. It should also help you better understand your topic and the best way to conduct your experiment. You don’t want to repeat other people’s failures, so learn from what has been done before. Remember to document all your sources. You will need this record as part of your final presentation.
STATE YOUR HYPOTHESIS
A hypothesis is an educated guess or prediction. So based on your research and any knowledge you already have on the topic, make your best guess and predict what the outcome will be of your experiment. Write this down. This is one of your measurements against which you will report the success of your project.
DO THE EXPERIMENT
This is where the pedal hits the metal! You need to do the experiment and document it all.
Start by making a list of materials you will be using. Document your variables (constants, dependent and independent variables). Include any other details that may impact your experiment. Write out the procedure you will be doing, step by step. Don’t skip any details.
This is where understanding the Scientific Method can really help ensure you are thinking, planning and acting like a real scientist.
Remember to keep a record! Take pictures, video, plus notes and recordings as appropriate. You will need this for your presentation
EVALUATE AND DRAW A CONCLUSION
Now you have done the experiment, you need to evaluate your results and draw a conclusion. Did you make an accurate hypothesis? What would you do differently next time? Are there some future studies or experiments you could do? What was the answer to your question?
PREPARE THE PRESENTATION
Gather your materials and start documenting your science fair project in a visual way so your display shows off all your work. This is called a Science Fair Board. Google will bring up so many cool examples to give you inspiration.
Make sure you include a catchy title, your name/age/grade, your question and hypothesis, details on your research and resources used, chart or graph your data in a visually striking way that is quick and easy to interpret. Remember, clarity is your friend. You will also want to share your approach and procedures, plus pictures, videos and drawings of your experiment. Finally, summarize everything with your conclusion.
Don’t be afraid to get out of the box with your presentation. Consider including videos, photos, drawings, samples if applicable, live demonstrations if possible, hand outs, and more. Just make sure it all adheres to the rules of the science fair.
Keep in mind, some science fairs will also require a written paper. Make sure you confirm exactly what is required as part of your presentation.
SCIENCE FAIR IDEAS BY GRADE
OK, so now you know how to get ready for the science fair, do you need some ideas to help jump start your creative juices? Check out our a few suggestions we have for science fair projects organized by grade.
Check out our newest resource on
Science Fair Projects for Elementary
Science Fair Project Ideas For 3rd and 4th Grade
Skittles experiments are popular, so get creative with your project like we did when we made a Starry Night inspired Skittles experiment.
Volcano Science Fair Projects are always popular. Make your approach unique, maybe by creating Lemon Volcanoes or a Pumpkin Volcano.
Gummy Bear science experiments are fun. You can try placing gummy bears in different liquids to see how they swell and grow, or go the opposite way and see what happens when you pack them in different types of salts, the way the Egyptians use to preserve mummies. We called our project Gummy Mummies!
Explore physics with a Make it Move project with toy cars or a Balloon race experiment.
Baking soda and vinegar projects are a fun chemistry science fair project. Try Bottle Rockets or Dino Eggs, or conduct a pH study.
A fun and simple circuit activity for the science fair in grade 3 or grade 4 is salt circuits. Why not make yours extra special by creating a glow in the dark salt circuit?
Love slime? Why not turn it into a fascinating, and slimey, science fair project? You could also add in the science of glow with a glow in the dark slime or magnetism with magnetic slime.
SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS FOR 5th and 6th GRADE
Non-Newtonian Fluids are a lot of fun. Why not come up with some unique applications for non-Newtonian Fluid by exploring how changing the ingredients changes the qualities of oobleck. Find the best oobleck recipe or explore different ways to make oobleck glow in the dark.
Why not bring slime and volcano science experiments together in the ultimate Volcano Slime science fair project?
Explore vision and optical illusions by creating homemade Benham Disks and Zoetropes.
Engineer your science fair project by creating something amazing with craft sticks, or build a Windmill and explore sustainable energy sources.
Why not do your science fair with a water theme? Make water magically rise in a container or create a walking rainbow. Need more water experiment ideas? There are lots of water project ideas here.
Explore the layers of the Earth and create a Layers of the Earth model out of soap, or explore climate change and the greenhouse effect.
Why not explore circuits and electricity by creating a Lumos wand inspired by Harry Potter that turns on and off or creating a cute Circuit Bug or Circuit Flower.
SCIENCE FAIR IDEAS FOR 7th and 8th GRADE
Heat Transfer Projects are a great topic for seventh and eighth grade projects. Recently we had so much fun doing a Starlite inspired science fair project.
Biology is taught in these grades, why not show your understanding of how parts of the body work, like exploring how the heart pumps.
Growing crystals is a brilliant science fair project. You can explore so many different facets including growing candy crystals like in Rock Candy or Candy Geode, or perhaps how to grow crystals with alum to create an Egg Geode, or maybe you want to tackle the secret behind how really big crystals grow.
Candy Science is all about crystallization and controlling the crystallization process. So why not create some edible candy science for the science fair? Make sure you have samples!
Circuits and electricity are also great projects. Perhaps you can develop a sustainable energy source idea using something like a Potato battery, Pumpkin Battery or Lemon Battery.
Chemistry is always a hit, why not try pH indicator oobleck project using all items found in the kitchen? Or create a fascinating Bath Bomb Science Fair Project, maybe even with glow in the dark bath bombs?
Polymers and bioplastics are a very hot topic right now. Why not come up with a project involving bioplastics created from gelatin or milk plastic?
Have fun learning with your science fair project this year!!