10 Tips for Creating a Stellar Science Fair Display

Want to create a project that stands out from the rest? Here are 10 qualities that teachers and judges look for.

Click on an item in the set below to see more info.

1. Use the Backboard as the Backbone

The backboard is the self-supporting, visual display of your science fair project. It usually has three sides. Select sturdy material that won't bend, like reinforced paperboard or corkboard. Stay away from cardboard or thin posterboard. Make sure your backboard meets the spacing requirements of the Intel ISEF if you are planning to enter a regional or state competition.

2. Make Your Print Look Professional

Make your lettering first-class by using a word processor or a graphic design program. Other options include using a professional printer or self-stick letters. Almost all recent science fair project boards at state and international fairs have font styles and background patterns.

3. Organize!

Place the pictures, graphs, and descriptions on your backboard in a meaningful manner. Center your title in bold, large print in the middle of your board. Arrange the rest of your information from left to right under orderly headings. Follow the sequence of the scientific method.

4. Write Catchy Headings and Succinct Text

Write clear headings that specifically concern your subject. Explicitly write each heading with the part of your project you are trying to highlight. The information you put under each heading must be concise and comprehensive. Summarize the facts in a 300 word description.

5. Include the Nuts and Bolts

What makes a good quality project? The following are essential components of a science fair report: historical information on subject, introduction, statement of purpose, procedure, and your data. Data includes everything from diagrams, flow charts and photos to conclusions and other details about various phases in your experiment.

6. Jot Down Your Notes

No need to remember every detail of your experiment. Take thorough and detailed notes in a journal while you are completing your project. Organize your journal by date, and include descriptions of observations and what you are doing each day. Return back to your notes when writing conclusions.

7. Cite Your Sources

Cover all tracks by including a bibliography or footnotes in your report. Cite secondary sources for research you have done. Acknowledge any guidance you have received from a mentor in the references section of your report.

8. Draft an Abstract

Don't forget this mandatory part of science fair project competitions. Summarize your project in a 250 to 300 word abstract. Explain the purpose, procedural plan, data summary, and a brief discussion of your conclusion. A concise, clear abstract helps judges understand your project.

9. Stay Safe

The Intel ISEF provides guidelines of what can and cannot be displayed at science fair project competitions. They key thing to remember is to not display anything that can be dangerous to exhibit in public. When in doubt use photographs, drawings, graphs, charts, and model simulations.

10. Help Judges Visualize Your Project

Which parts of your science project can you bring to the fair? If you are not sure look up the complete restriction list of Intel ISEF. A few things that you can better show in a picture than in person are living organisms or plants, human or animal parts, chemicals, food, flammable objects, and flames.

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