5 Essentials to Wow the Crowd at Your Next Science Fair
Many independent schools in NJ offer opportunities for students to display their creativity and knowledge of the world of science. Here are some tips to come up with a truly impressive project.
- A problem people can relate to. All great experiments start with a problem (this is rule #1 of the scientific method!), but is your problem something experienced by people in their everyday lives? It will be clear if you are not stoked about the topic you have chosen to study for your project and chances are people will be more enthused about your creation or discovery if you are also super excited about it. Pick something you deal with in your day to day life- think you can find a better way to lug your books from class to class or have you come up with an innovative way to organize school work? We have all seen the classic acid + base volcano and soda + mint geyser tricks. Let’s tackle an actual problem and make our lives easier!
- Your hypothesis! Making a prediction of what you believe will work best will allow you to design an experiment specifically geared to solve your problem. On the flip side, once the experiment is complete you can reflect back to the hypothesis and determine if your prediction was correct or incorrect. If time allows, you can regroup, replan and retest! If not, at least you can comment on the process and explain why your prototype failed. Even students from the best private schools in NJ have set backs. What sets them aside from others is the ability to advance and grow from them. We often learn more from our errors than our successes!
- A tangible model of your idea, creation or discovery. Engage as many senses as possible! Allow the crowd to experience your scientific breakthrough as opposed to just hearing about it. Can you bring in a few samples for people to test out for themselves? Can you show a video of your research and testing process? Let your audience be a part of your process and heighten their intrigue.
- Know your stuff. Do the work! Conduct your own research, planning and development. Do not try to fake this because it will become obvious if you were not the chief investigator of your own project. If you used internet sources, cite them and be sure they are reputable by using multiple sources. Part of scientific advancement relies on scientists expanding on discoveries and inventions already completed but not stealing them. Make sure you can answer how your design or idea is different than anything that already exists.
- Look the part. On the big day look professional and make sure all of your visuals are neat and organized. If you are including a trifold of information or a presentation to play on a laptop as people cycle through, make sure it is eye catching and not cluttered. Taking the time to ensure you and your presentation materials look good will allow you to avoid them from becoming distractions from your amazing achievement in science!