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Coordinating a successful science fair
The following is a compendium of tips, ideas, and suggestions which will help you make your science fair successful — both for you and your students. These ideas have been collected from teachers around the country and can be important factors in the design and implementation of any science fair.
- Select your judges at least eight weeks in advance of the science fair. Provide them with copies of the judging form so they can be prepared ahead of time.
- Invite students to send letters of invitation to the judges. Thank you letters after the fair would also be appropriate.
- Judges can be selected from different parts of the community (college professors, high school teachers, business people, shopkeepers, parents, etc.) Including people from different walks of life will help ensure extended community involvement.
- Set up the science fair (gymnasium, auditorium, classroom) approximately 48 hours in advance of the actual fair. Take a group of students through the exhibits to "test" for traffic patterns, loose cords, safety problems, etc.
- Organize the room according to science topics-all the life science projects in one area, all the physical science projects in another, earth science in another, and space science in a fourth area.
- Projects requiring electric sources should be placed on tables against walls.
- Make arrangements to have student monitors in attendance during any viewing times. Provide them with badges or appropriate ribbons.
- Invite a reporter and photographer from the local newspaper to "cover" the event.
- Schedule one or more evening sessions for parents and community members to view the exhibits and displays.
- Take photographs or a videotape of the entire science fair. Use it in your preparations for next year's science fair-providing students with ideas on exhibits and displays. Students may also want to use this photographic record to create a special notebook or diary for inclusion in the school library.
- Be sure to "advertise" the science fair throughout the school and throughout the community.
- Invite teachers and other school personnel to contribute projects to the science fair, too. This modeling can be a stimulus for increased student participation.
- Schedule a special post-fair ceremony that recognizes every entrant.
- Keep an on-going journal of all the preparations done prior to the fair. Record both positive and negative events. This diary can be extremely helpful in planning future events.
To find even more helpful guides and resources, visit www.sciencebuddies.org or Discovery Education Science Fair Central.