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?
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,
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
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.