Awesome Science Fair Projects 
Start with a Cool Experiment!

Coming up with award-winning science fair project ideas is a science in and of itself. But hey, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. It’s all here. Everything you need to create a stupendous Science Fair Project from idea generation to dazzling display!

Picture of a Balloon Rocket Experiment Drawn by Sarah Kelley, age 10.

Did you know any science experiment can be turned into a Science Fair Project easily? Let me explain. One of our favorite experiments is making balloon rockets. All you need is an 18" piece of string, a drinking straw, scotch tape, a balloon, and a windbag (person with plenty of spare air to blow up balloon).

Slip your string through the straw. Then tie the ends to two objects about 12” apart. As you can see from Sarah’s illustration, we tied ours to filing cabinet handles. Poles in your basement, trees, doorknobs, or any other sturdy object would also work. Now, turn on your windbag and inflate the balloon. One child can hold the end of the balloon so no air escapes while another gingerly tapes the balloon to the straw. Begin the count down to rocket launch. 3. . .2. . .1. . .Blast Off! Release the balloon and watch it go.

Now, turn this simple experiment into a Science Fair Project by deciding which part of the experiment to change. For example, you could vary:

  • the type of string used (try kite string, twine, fishing line, yarn, etc)
  • the length and shape of the balloon
  • the size of the drinking straw
  • the length of the string
  • the angle of the string (slanted up or down at varying degrees)
Decide on a variable (the item you will change), predict what will happen (this is your hypothesis), test your theory (carry out your experiments), and study the results. Research the theoroms at work behind your experiment. What principles are at work in a rocket launch (hint: check out Newton’s third law)? Apply those ideas to your specific experiment. Craft a fantastic report and display. And. . .Voila′ your superb Science Fair Project is launched (pun absolutely intended).

Oh, you’re a little worried about the report and display part? Don’t be. The resources listed here will guide you through the process.

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Janice Van Cleave has written several excellent books on Science Fairs. In fact, she's written more than any other author. Two books that we have used and found to be extremely useful are

Another book that is a tremendous resource is Plan-Develop-Display-Present Science Projects. The worksheets and sample completed project made this tome the dog-eared book sitting on my desk today.

HobbyTron.com is the online store to buy kits in every category for all your creative science fair projects ideas. Perhaps this is the year to consider building a robot. Hobbytron offers hundreds of remote control items, fun and educational robots, electronic kits, magic, science projects, Lego Mindstorms and more!

Science Fair Presentation Board Kit Once you've settled on a topic and completed your experimentation, your focus can shift to displaying the results properly.

Many find buying a kit useful. Everything from the board to the required labels are often included. The Presentation Board Kit, pictured to the left, includes everything you need to make an impression.

I've also purchased supplies at The Dollar Tree. You have to stop by periodically because once Science Fair season hits, supplies will be depleted quickly. Craft stores such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby also carry Science Fair boards and labels. If you watch for sales, you can often acquire the supplies you need at a discount.

Happy experimenting!

› Science Fair

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