3 Ways to Get Ahead on Your Student’s Science Fair Project

With the school year just beginning, your student’s science fair project may be the last thing on your mind. Back-to-school time, however, is a great time to get an early start on your child’s science fair project. Ways to get ahead on your student’s science fair project can include reaching out to their teacher to ensure you understand the involved deadlines, determining the central research question early on, and spending time getting creative with ideas. Getting a head start on your student’s science fair project gives you both time to flesh out any ideas and make a plan for how to execute the project. Also, it will help you avoid any last-minute scrambling.

Does getting a jumpstart on your student’s science fair project sound appealing? Here are three ways you and your student can get ahead on their science fair project this fall:

Communicate with your student’s teacher when planning for the science fair project

Deadlines for science fair projects typically fall between mid-January and the end of February (though some schools may have fall due dates). While this may feel far away in September, there are many individual deadlines along the way. Depending on the teacher and the district, you could have deadlines for submitting items like your child’s research plan. A good way to get ahead on your student’s science fair project is to mark these deadlines on your calendar. If you don’t have this year's policy and procedure manual yet, you can still plan for deadlines. Look at last year's manual for your school, district, or state to see when the past deadlines fell. This year’s dates could change, but chances are that each deadline will still be in the same general window as the year before.

It can also be helpful to reach out to your child's teacher with any questions you may have regarding the timeline. It’s important that you understand the requirements and due dates early on in the school year, so you can help your student properly plan when each part of the project needs to be completed. With your child’s other classes and extracurricular activities, the school year can get busy quickly. It’s key to schedule time around your student’s other responsibilities to work on this project. Being aware of deadlines and having an open line of communication with your child’s teacher are good opportunities to help your student get ahead on their science fair project.

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Get ahead by determining the science fair project’s research question and timeline

The first step for any project is deciding on a hypothesis and basis for the experiment. Once your student has determined their research question, they can then begin to plan out the rest of the project. For example, is your child interested in conducting a social science experiment or a physical science experiment? It’s important for your student to do as much research as possible on the different types of experiments they can conduct. This way, they can fully understand the style of experiment they are going to execute.

Once the research question is determined, your child can better plan their timeline. This is because the type of experiment your student chooses can have an effect on how the timeline plays out. For example, if your student’s experiment includes a sample of convenience—i.e. family members or classmates—they would have to conduct their experiment based off the availability of their subjects, which in turn affects the timeline. A great way to get ahead on your student’s science fair project is to determine the project’s hypothesis early on so you can adjust the timeline accordingly.

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Get creative with science fair project ideas

Now that you have determined the project and made a timeline, the fun can begin. The beauty of starting science fair preparations early is that you and your student have plenty of time to get creative with the project—both in how to conduct the experiment and in how to set up the final presentation. There are a multitude of creative and engaging project ideas your student can turn into an experiment:

  • Is your child interested in learning if gummy bears will grow at different rates in different types of liquids?

  • Do they want to know how electricity affects the pH of water?

  • Have they always wanted to learn how to make a battery out of fruit?

Start a conversation with your student about what interests them. Research creative ideas online with your child, and see if anything peaks their interest. The important thing is to find a project your student is excited about executing. This is a project that is worked on over the course of months, so choosing one they are energized about will make this year’s science fair project a fun experience.

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