Science Fair Survival Tips – Part 2

Let’s cover the basics of the display board.  There are several sections you need to cover to get your point across quickly, effectively, and with minimal fuss.

First, you need a title.  A good, catchy, no-holds-barred title. Which one of these would YOU stop at first?

  • The Complete Analysis of Multi-Dimensional Supersonic Fluid Flow of Dual Axisymmertic Thrust Vectoring Aircraft Engines
  • How to fly a fighter jet without falling out of the sky.

These were my two possible titles for my Master’s thesis… they both basically say the same thing.  I had to use the more complicated one, because that’s what my audience wanted.  You need to figure out the best way to reach your intended audience with a meaningful title.  Be as clear and concise as possible without losing any points for being ‘too clever’.  Which title strikes you as being an interesting exhibit?

  • Transforming coffee back into clear water using kitchen spices.
  • Defying gravity through more efficient rocket engine designs.
  • Life cycle of a water drop.
  • Using brains instead of brawn to lift ten friends with one hand.
  • Chewing gum leads to higher test scores in 3-5th graders.

As you go along with your Science Fair project, take pictures of your progress.  From the time it’s an invible idea in your head (photo:  me thinking up an idea) to a visible finished product (photo: me in front of my display board).  Tape the best photos to your board to help illustrate a point with less words.  Add small captions (printed from a computer) to the bottom of each photo, and attach the photo to colored paper to make a clean “frame” look.

While it may be obvious to you, most people will want to know why you’re studying your topic.  You’ll need to clearly state your purpose and a brief introduction when you have your board up.  I had a display board about solar astronomy, and the first title on the upper left said, “Why Study the Sun?”  By watching people as they came up to my display, I found most people started reading right at that spot.

In the next entry, we’ll talk about how to fit your findings, experiment, and everything else into the format of the Scientific Method.  Note that the scientific method is not the only tool out there, but it is one of the most widely-publicized at Science Fairs, so we’ll cover it first… then we’ll show you other ways, too!

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