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Science fair display boards and reports
by Science Made Simple

Presenting Your Science Project Results

This is it - the big day is finally here! Everyone will be looking at your science fair display board, reading your science fair report, and listening to your presentation, which must all present your project in the best possible way.

All of your work must be summarized here. This is your chance to show the world everything you've learned from your experiment. Your science fair display and report are the ways that the science fair judges will remember your project when they make their decision. It's important that your scientific work was good, but that's not everything....

Science Fair Display Boards

So how should you set up your science fair display?

Let's look at the basics. A science fair display should consist of a back board, sometimes sold specifically as a science fair display board, a project report, graphs and charts, and some representation of your experiment.

Of course it would be great if you could also bring your science fair experiment into the fair, but if it's too big, or if it was strictly observational, consider bringing in photographs or a part of the experimental apparatus. Some people even bring in a small television and show a video presentation of their science fair experiment.

Whatever methods you choose, your science fair display has to represent your project in such a way that it holds the interest of the judges--so be creative, but keep it simple.

The size and shape of science fair display boards can vary, so be sure to check the rules for your particular science fair. Some maximum sizes for most science fairs are 48 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 108 inches from the floor. Generally speaking, no matter the size, a traditional science fair board is divided into three sections: the main center section, and two "wings" which are folded toward the front. These science fair boards can be made from scratch from heavy cardboard or wood, or can be ordered inexpensively over the internet.

Now, think about the things you'll want to attach to the science fair display board. Some science fairs, and most teachers, have rules or guidelines for what should be attached to the science fair board. These might include cut-out lines of text which detail your original question (which will be your project topic), your hypothesis, results, conclusions, and other information including charts and graphs.

The title of your project should always go on the center panel at the top of your science fair display board. It must be large enough so that people can see it from about three feet away. The other pieces of text can be smaller, and should be placed in a logical order. In other words, let the judges read your hypothesis before they read your conclusions.

Several years ago, it was common to use stenciled or cut-out letters mounted on the science fair display board, but now that most students have access to computer word processors and printers, it is more common for these lines of text to be printed in large letters. There is no rule about this, but be aware that looks do matter at the science fair. A word printed on a laser printer looks a lot better than one drawn and colored with a marker.

It's very important that you present a science fair display board that the judges will remember in a good way, and not just because it used bright colors and big letters. You want the science fair board to look professional and well-organized so that the judges aren't distracted. Make it look professional, and the judges will treat your project professionally.

Science Fair Report & Presentation

Whether your teacher requires an in-class science fair report and presentation of your science project, or it's just for the judges at the fair, you will probably have to give an oral presentation on the content of your science project. There may or may not be a time limit, but even if there isn't, it's important to keep your presentation short and to-the-point. Be sure that your science fair report touches on all of the elements of your project, including but not limited to the points of the Scientific Method.

Be sure to practice, preferably in front of an audience. Giving an oral presentation and talking to the judges, who may be teachers or professionals you've never met before, could end up being the hardest part of the science project. Practice will give you the confidence you need to sound like an authority in your area of research, and that's something that the judges like to hear.

Points at a science fair are awarded for your ability to discuss the project clearly, explaining each stage of your research and every step of your experiment. The judges will ask you questions, and so practice will really help. Have someone you know ask you questions about your project. It might make you think about things that you haven't thought of before.

Important Tips

NEVER make up answers to difficult questions. Instead of admitting that you don't know, tell the judges that you didn't discover the answer to that question during your research, and then present other, relevant information.

Finally, your appearance may also affect the way that the judges view you. A professional appearance will reflect well on you and your project. You are not only trying to look professional yourself, but you are trying to make your project look like the result of thoughtful, mature, and professional scientific research.

/In summary, it's important that you have a professional-looking, well-organized science fair display board to make a good impression on the judges. It is also important that you appear relaxed and knowledgable while presenting your science fair report.

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