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Dr. Henry Brouwer Redeemer University College. Organizing Science Fairs. Objectives of a Science Fair. For the Students: Teach students how to do an independent research project Provide students with an opportunity to study a topic they are interested in

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Dr henry brouwer redeemer university college

Dr. Henry Brouwer

Redeemer University College

Organizing Science Fairs

Objectives of a science fair
Objectives of a Science Fair

For the Students:

Teach students how to do an independent research project

Provide students with an opportunity to study a topic they are interested in

Generate a greater appreciation for the wonders of God’s creation

Teach the students communication skills and critical thinking skills

Objectives of a science fair1
Objectives of a Science Fair

For the School:

Give the school a method to highlight the science program in the community

Encourage students who are gifted in science to compete on a province-wide level

Improve the school science program

Guidelines for teachers
Guidelines for Teachers

5-6 Months Before Science Fair:

Appoint a Science Fair Committee

A Science Fair is a school event, not just an individual teacher’s project

Delegate the work associated with the Science Fair

Committee may consist of teachers and interested parents

One person should be the overall coordinator

Areas of responsibility

Setting up and taking down



Guidelines for teachers1
Guidelines for Teachers

5-6 Months Before Science Fair:

Establish a date for the local fair

Should be at least three weeks prior to the regional science fair

Gives students time to make changes

Regional science fair organizers need time to plan and coordinate their event

Reserve the necessary facilities

Guidelines for teachers2
Guidelines for Teachers

Introduce the Science Fair to the students early – in the fall if the science fair is in the spring

Students need time to get ideas, plan their project, design experiments

Note to parents re: purpose of Science Fair, their role. Timeframe, etc.

Notebook dedicated to Science Fair project

Establish deadlines for students

E.g. selection of topic

Design of experiments

Doing actual experimental work (data collection)

Completed project

Guidelines for teachers3
Guidelines for Teachers

3-4 Months Before Science Fair:

Provide students with pictures/slides/video or previous science fair projects

Ask librarian or resource person to talk to students about doing a project

Present rules and regulations to students re: projects

Determine whether students are to work individually or in pairs

Guidelines for teachers4
Guidelines for Teachers

2 Months before:

Ask parents, community members, other teachers, etc. to serve as judges

Do not have to be science specialists

Ensure that there are enough judges

Provide judges with judging criteria

Show students a sample write-up of project

Guidelines for teachers5
Guidelines for Teachers

1 Month Before:

Advertise Science Fair in local papers, school newsletter, churches

Confirm that the necessary facilities are booked

Determine what is needed (e.g. tables, electrical outlets)

Arrange for other classes to view the science fair displays

Guidelines for teachers6
Guidelines for Teachers

Week before:

Make sure students have projects completed

Arrange for refreshments for judges

Confirm list of judges

Remind staff of schedule for the science fair

Assign students their project numbers

Have sufficient judging forms

Prepare judging forms with project number, project title, student name(s)

Guidelines for teachers7
Guidelines for Teachers

Day before:

Set up tables, chairs for project displays

Provide electricity for those projects that need it

Arrange for supervision of the display area

Review all projects to ensure that the safety guidelines have been met

Guidelines for teachers8
Guidelines for Teachers

The BIG Day!

Judges should first judge projects without the students present

Students should be at their projects for the second half of the judging process to be interviewed by the judge

Judges should meet to discuss the best projects

Guidelines for teachers9
Guidelines for Teachers

The BIG Day!

Open displays to rest of the classes; best to have one class at a time view the projects

Students can be asked to write a report on specific topics

Open House for parents and community in the evening

Recognition of top projects

Guidelines for teachers10
Guidelines for Teachers

Within a few Days After:

Students take down their projects, clean up (either day of or next day)

Prepare an article on Science Fair for local paper, school newsletter

Evaluate process with committee; note changes that should be made

Thank judges for their participation

For the student
For the Student

Choosing a topic is often the most difficult aspect of a science fair for students, teachers and parents

Topic should be one that the student is interested in

Parents and teachers should approve the topic before the student puts too much work into it


Choosing a topic
Choosing a Topic

The best science fair projects are those that involve doing an experiment; demonstrations and reports generally do not reach the top

A simple, well-designed experiment should answer a question or lead to further knowledge

A good project will also elicit further questions

Source of ideas
Source of Ideas

Own interests

Discussion with parents, friends, family

Books and magazines

General discussion in classroom to get students thinking

Hints of possible topics while teaching

Examples of projects
Examples of Projects

Many different web sites to get ideas:


Hints on organizing the science fair project, list of topics


Provides a list of broad categories and then gives examples of specific questions relating to the topic

Examples of projects1
Examples of Projects

Energy efficiency of automobile

Topic itself is far too general; needs to be more specific

How does the shape of a car affect its efficiency?

Build models of different shaped cars and find some way to test the drag on the shape

Study to examine relationship between the mass of a vehicle and published fuel efficiency data

Examples of projects2
Examples of Projects

What determines the rate at which plants grow?

Again a rather general topic; very common type of project

More specific: what effect will elevated CO2 levels have on plant growth?

Requires careful design of experiment (control and variables); method of monitoring CO2

Relevant in our current situation with increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere

Examples of projects3
Examples of Projects

Does an electromagnetic field have an impact on living organisms?

Somewhat general

Be more specific by asking “How does exposure of seeds to a high voltage affect the germination rate?” or “Does a strong magnetic field affect the growth of bacteria?”

Students need to carefully design their experiments with controls and variables

Must figure out a way of generating a safe, high voltage or to produce a strong magnetic field


Experiments must be carefully designed to take into consideration variables and controls

Students need to recognize that the effect measured is due to what they say it is

Must keep careful records of all their work, including what did not work!

Types of projects
Types of Projects

Experiment Students would design and perform actual tests or experiments to verify or disprove a hypothesis. An experiment involves using both controls and variables in order to attribute changes to specific causes. Students would also be expected to clearly describe their observations and state their conclusions, based on the evidence obtained in the experiment.

Types of projects1
Types of Projects

Study Projects are assigned to this category if they report on information or data from published sources or collected by the students themselves. A study may also involve taking existing data and evaluating them in a new and fresh way. An excellent study is more than just reporting information from textbooks or encyclopedias! It involves an analysis of information or data collected by the student or by others

Types of projects2
Types of Projects

Innovation This category involves taking some existing technology and adapting it in a unique way to a new situation. It might, for instance, involve writing a computer program to do something currently not available. Or it might involve designing a robot to perform a specific function. This category could also include construction of a model to illustrate a complex scientific concept; however, the model should be more than a replicate of what is already available.

Student workbook journal
Student Workbook/Journal

Students must keep a separate notebook for their project

Includes ideas considered and how they arrived at their final topic

Date each entry

Include references to all sources in their daily journal

Include their own analysis of what they learned e.g. was it helpful? How could they use it?

Student workbook journal1
Student Workbook/Journal

Include sketches of experimental set-up; ideas for improving experiment

Record results of experiments, discuss the significance and possibly include ideas to try out next time

Basically, a notebook is a record of all the work done for the project

A good notebook will also help the student in writing the final report

The abstract
The Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of the project, highlighting the most important aspects

Provides a summary of what was done and what was observed along with the conclusion reached

An abstract enables the reader to decide whether or not the project is of interest

An Example of an AbstractPaper entitled “Screening Technique for Lead and Cadmium in Toys and other Materials using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy” published by H. Brouwer in Journal of Chemical Education

This paper describes a simple method to determine the presence of metals such as lead and cadmium in plastic toys, paints, and other solids using an atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS) without going through the time-consuming sample preparation steps. Basically, the method involves transferring solid sample to a nichrome wire by placing a small sample on a wire loop or touching the heated wire to the sample and then heating the wire in the AAS flame. By choosing the appropriate radiation source and wavelength, the presence of different metals may be determined qualitatively.

Another abstract effect of acidic precipitation on plant growth
Another AbstractEffect of Acidic Precipitation on Plant Growth

For this project, three different varieties of plants (radishes, lettuce and beans) were sprinkled with tap water acidified to pH 4.0 each day over a period of 6 weeks. At the end of the exposure time, the above-ground plant matter was removed, dried and weighed. All three varieties showed a decrease in mass compared with controls; lettuce showed the greatest decrease, suggesting that lettuce is most sensitive to acid rain.

Christian perspective
Christian Perspective

Unique feature of the Christian Schools Science Fair hosted by Redeemer University College

Acknowledgment that God created the universe in its many dimensions

It is included to encourage students to reflect on the significance of their Christian beliefs as these relate to their project

Students should avoid use of clichés


Ensure that all the necessary information is included in the display

May include experimental set-up (if space permits)

Otherwise include pictures, model

Avoid clutter and really fancy lettering!

Judges are interested in substance that is clearly and logically displayed

Ensure that display guidelines are met

Ontario christian schools science fair website
Ontario Christian Schools Science Fair Website

Regulations for the projects

Judging Forms used by the judges

List of schools participating

Winning projects/schools

Winners from past Science Fairs

On-line registration of school

On-line registration of projects

We have resources available for you online!

Website: http://cs.redeemer.ca/scifair/