7 Steps to Successful Science Projects for the Science Fair

Lately, I’ve been contemplating having my kids participate in our local homeschool science fair. While we do a lot of science at our house and science is one of our favorite things to do together, we’ve never done a science fair project before.

So, I asked my friend Kayla Fay for some advice. Kayla has done over 25 science fair projects over the years with her four boys, and has graciously agreed to share her insight with us. 

If a science fair or outside class science project is on your schedule this year, I hope her advice helps you as it is helping me. …Shannon

7 Steps to Successful Science Projects for the Science Fair

by Kayla Fay

Science projects – like homeschooling – are supposed to be a joyous time of a family learning, discovering, and working together toward the common goal of knowledge. You know – mom and dad gather the family around the kitchen table, and watch Wally and Beaver’s faces light up as they learn something new.

Unfortunately, science projects don’t always turn out that way. In fact, in our family, our first twenty or so projects were horrible experiences that left me exasperated, the kids frustrated, our kitchen in shambles and our budget depleted.

We have four sons, and when the first one was in 5th grade, I gave our principal a protest project entitled, Do Science Projects Cause Maternal Insanity?

Kaylas son shows off his blue ribbon for his science fair project

Kayla's son shows off the blue ribbon he won for his science fair project

Our problem was that while we had great instructions on how to do a project, we didn’t have any guidance on how or where to find the type of project that would meet the requirements of our science fair, would interest our kids, that we could afford, and that would work. It took a long time, but we finally got the hang of it.

To our delight, we discovered that science projects really could be fun – and educational. In fact, we learned some really cool stuff that made our kids’ faces light up – and only once was it because of an explosion.

So – how can your family avoid our torturous route to finding out just how much fun a science project can be?

 Here are seven steps to science fair success!

 1. Know your science fair requirements. Is your science fair for
experiments only, or do they allow the other types of projects -
demonstrations, collections, models, or reports? Find out the details of
everything that is required.

2. Know your budget for time and for money. Add some padding for late orders and failed experiments.

3. Know your kids’ interests and choose your project. Notice that this is #3. If your child’s interest is in a project that won’t satisfy steps one
and two – pick another project. Search on the internet or in the library, or
come up with your own idea.

NOW you are ready for the next steps.

4. Gather your materials. Read all the way through the instructions to
see if you need anything that isn’t listed. You may also want to think ahead
and get the supplies for your project display.

5. Perform the project itself. Make sure that as you work, you keep any
required logs, record, or photographs. If your first attempt doesn’t work,
try again.

6. Prepare for your presentation. For this, most science fairs require
a science board, logs, and a physical representation of the project. Come up
with a catchy title for the project. Be creative. Be neat.

7. Submit your entry. And remember, if Wally and Beaver learned
anything, you don’t need a blue ribbon, because you already have a winning
science project!

The Non-Scientist Parent's Guide to Science Projects

Click on the image to get your free copy

Download your FREE copy of  The Non-Scientific Parent’s Guide to a Science Project to learn how to choose the perfect science project, wade through the odd vocabulary, deal with the scientific method, and design an award winning science board.

You’ll also find out that a science project really can be done by your child, with you as a teacher and a guide.

 Kayla Fay is the mother of four sons, and the author of 24  Hour Science Projects and Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet, a website
about ADHD Inattentive.

This entry was posted in On Homeschooling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to 7 Steps to Successful Science Projects for the Science Fair

  1. Great tips! I don’t have any kids at home but I’ll be sure to pass the link to this post along.

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  3. Jennifer says:

    This is great! Thanks for the helpful tips. I have three boys who will soon be nearing “science fair” age. They love science and will certainly enjoy the free guide. It seems a lot less overwhelming when you break it down into small steps.

  4. great post on a subject that many parents have had to deal with one or more times in there child’s education. Great tips on how to do it right. Will do a tweet of the post using ShareThis( a firefox extension )

  5. How many memories come swarming around as I read this! My son’s science project a few years ago was all about reptiles. We had turtles as pets, and a snake. The snake I transported to school the day of the presentation. FUN! Snaky was a nice pet, a corn snake. My son’s curiosity and the school projects he’s done have expanded my life considerably! Thank you for presenting those great steps to keeping the process FUN and organized. Science ROCKS! I was just saying to my son a few days ago, “Be curious.” He’s now 14 and cool is more important than curious these days!

    Best,
    Mary

  6. Great post. It really does bring back a lot of wonderful memories for me. Raising 3 boys was always a challenge with science projects. I now have been blessed with 5 granddaughters and they will really enjoy the free guide. The steps will really help when they need a guide to go by.Thanks so much.
    Gail

  7. Great tips and something I will keep in mind as I have a science focused son.

    Cheers
    Leigh

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  9. Loretta says:

    Oh, the dreaded science project. Every time this assignment comes home from school I want to hide under the bed for a week. My oldest son got a D in Science last year because they were required to enter the Science Fair.

    I didn’t really agree with them being forced to do an upper level project, because they didn’t get to actually choose, she gave them a list and they had to choose from that. It was such a hassle getting him to work on it and he didn’t enjoy it, hence the half hearted project he turned in resulting in a bad letter grade.

    When science project assignments come home this year I know where I’m going now ;)

  10. Karon says:

    Boy! I’m going to have to send the link to this post to my sister. She’ll be forever grateful!

  11. Boy does this bring back memories. My kids are adults now, but I remember the dreaded science fairs. One of our favorites, (and an actual success) was a replica of a working vulcano, (it took a few tries to get the lava right.

    Great information. Thanks.

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  13. Pingback: Science Fair Projects Can Be Fun for You and Your Child | Science Toys

  14. Pingback: Science Fair Projects Can Be Fun for You and Your Child | Education Peak.com

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  16. Helping childern learn scientific disciplines having a hands on strategy…. You are cooking dinner along with your kid excitedly describes exactly how their trainer took a container involving drinking water along with …versicherungen hannover

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