Steps for Organizing a Successful
School Science Fair
To the Science Fair Director: A successful science fair requires a lot of work, which takes time. Do Not try to do all the work yourself. Hopefully the following information will be enough for you to plan ahead so you can delegate work to others. Remember, you are not a magician. Ask for help at the start of the project. Also, make sure that your workers understand exactly what is expected of them. Give specific instructions in writing.
PLAN AHEAD: This is good advice for any successful project, but particularly for a science fair since there are so many people involved.
1.Getting Started: The first thing you need to do is to select someone to be your “side-kick.” This will be someone that can assist you collect information as well as perform some of the duties of a fair director–telephone calls, contacting teachers–etc…..Maybe a glorified “Go-fer,” i.e. please go for this , or go for that.
2. Prepare to Meet with Administration: It is easier to get approval for events if you have done your “homework” before the meeting. Check the school schedule for best possible times for the fair as well as an evening parent meeting. Know the best options that will accommodate all the projects—this depends on how many students will be required to do individual projects. Look at the suggested list that follows and be ready to give the administrator information about each.
A. Times, Dates and Location
1. Times and dates for projects to be displayed and viewed by community and individual classes.
2. When the projects will be judged, i.e., during the school day or after school.
3. Parent/Student “Help”meeting: If possible, an evening meeting can be scheduled to provide parents with information about the science fair. At the meeting, parents will receive a special handout with information describing what is expected of the students and how parents can help. This needs to coincide with handouts to students notifying them of the assignment.When and where will the meeting be held?
4. Where the projects will be displayed.
5. Will students in all classes be required to do individual projects? My personal suggestion for grades K-2 to do classroom projects, grades 3 and 4 individual projects including models and collections, and grades 5 and 6 individual experimental projects.
6. Presentation boards: These can be purchased in bulk at cheaper prices. Approval is needed to collect money for these boards. If this is a problem, use cardboard boxes in grades K-4 and allow 5th and 6th grade students to use presentation boards. This prepares them for regional science fairs in middle school. With approval, sponsors might be solicited to help with the cost of presentation boards.
7. Awards and award ceremony: What kind of awards will be given and will there be a ceremony? Participation certificates will be received by each student. Stickers can be placed on these for different awards, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category.
8. Judging: Will students be present during judging? It is best if they are. Possibly schedule judges to come during the school day. Also schedule students to be present at their projects.
3. Select directors for the different science fair committees: Don’t limit this to the teaching staff. If you have a Parent/Teacher Organization, contact its director. Otherwise contact parents known for being helpful. Each committee director will select workers for their committee. Note: You are more likely to get a positive response if you can detail the duties of the committee the person is volunteering to direct. A list of the different committees and their responsibilities is below.
4. Types of Committees: The fewer committees the better, but it is most important that each committee has enough workers to handle all the necessary jobs assigned to them. I suggest six committees: Judging, Publicity, Awards, Decoration, Techie, Custodial, Set-up, and Hospitality. For information about the function of each committee see: Science Fair Committees.
5. Committee Planning Meetings: Scheduling meetings will be one of the hardest parts because everyone lives busy lives. Make these as few in number and as short as possible and schedule meetings only if absolutely necessary. Notes and/or phone calls can generally replace meetings. Just make sure that everyone gets the same information. The co-director will be an invaluable helper with this.
FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING
This meeting must be after you have discussed the science fair with administrators.
1. Provide committee directors and any helpers attending information about the science fair. This will be information approved by the administration-all the whats, whens, and wheres.
2. Basically this is the kick-off for your science fair.
3. Techie will have copies of the Parent/Student Science Fair Guidelines–Remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep it Super Simple).
FYI: As Yet, I have not prepared a model for this handout yet–working on ideas. If you have suggestions, please let me know.
Send comments and suggestions to ASK JANICE