What to Expect

The students you meet probably already have won or placed in their school science fairs. They will be proud of their accomplishments and should be able to explain their projects clearly and concisely. This explanation should include what they did as well as their results and conclusions. Their displays should clearly show the intent and outcomes of experimentation, and they should be able to answer questions about their projects at levels appropriate to their ages and grade levels. They should be able to describe the methodology and equipment employed and the thought processes that were used to develop their hypotheses, experimental designs, results, and conclusions.

You should not be surprised to find projects vary widely in quality and sophistication. Some projects, particularly at the high school level, may be comparable to what you would expect in graduate school or professional presentations. The vast majority, of course, will be more elementary. Some displays will be elaborate while others may be relatively simple. The purpose of the display is to clearly communicate the project’s purpose, hypothesis, methodology, results, conclusions, and other information relevant to the investigation. A simple, clear, and well-organized display is to be preferred over one that is ornate but falls short of accomplishing this purpose. Although the fact that a display is attractive should be taken in account, scientific content and the ability to communicate that content is of primary importance.