Science Fair Project Do's and Don'ts (page 3)

— Louisiana Region 5 Science and Engineering Fair
Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Color Themes

So, what exactly are color themes? Color themes are two or more contrasting colors used throughout a project that compliment each other adding to the overall aesthetic value of the project. What? Look at this way... if you are a female student, you most likely choose colors to wear that kinda sorta match, right? Boys, well, they just throw on anything to look cool, so they will have to work a little harder at understanding this. Colors look good because they contrast each other. You wouldn't think of wearing a bright orange shirt with pair of navy plaid pants because the colors clash with each other. Take a look at some of your parent's grade school pictures and you will see exactly what I mean. The 1960's and 70's were notorious for color mismatches. Black, white, and grays pretty much contrast any color and are safe to use as your additional colors. The point is to try to do this as best as you can in designing your project. Coloring your board a burnt orange, then using blue paper with pink titles is like wearing plaid pants with an orange shirt. It just doesn't match!

Type It!

We are now in the year 2008 and just about everyone has access to a computer and word processor. If you plan ahead and I know you are because you are reading this right now, then plan to type every piece of your project. With the exception of drawings and sketches you should be typing everything! This includes graphs, which can be done through a spreadsheet program.  Imagine a businessman who has to make a presentation at his company board meeting. He explains to the board members that his printer broke down the night before and he had to hand write his presentation. Only, the writing is a little hard to read so he asks all the members to put on their eyeglasses and huddle close together next to his presentation board to see it. My guess is that this guy will be out of a job the next day! Remember, this page is designed for those who want their projects to be in the "elite" category. So, on that note, make sure to type everything! You don't want the judges huddling together with magnifying glasses to see the work you have done because they will have just about as much patience as those board members.

Get It Straight!

I have always been known as a straight shooter, so...can I be straight with you? When gluing your pieces on your board, make every effort to make them straight. Now, if your plan is to glue them at different angles, then fine. That variation can work well and there are many projects where offsetting angles are the intent. But, there are also many projects where the titles and pieces are intended to be straight and they are crooked! I will simply tell you that if your intention is to make them straight, then GET IT STRAIGHT

Catchy Titles

This is a minor thing, but still worth mentioning. Try to find a catchy title. "A Phosphate Worse Than Death" capitalized on the expression, "A Fate Worse Than Death" and was quite catchy. "The Truth About Paper Towels" is also interesting. Try to avoid titles that are too long, which can be used in the problem statement instead. Make your title clear and to the point and if at all possible, make them "catchy". Remember, the title can be in the form of a statement or a question.

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