Creating a budget for your Science & Engineering Fair is not necessary. But if you have a source for funding, then you can add some perks for increasing student and family engagement. You might ask your principal, parent-teacher organization/association, or student council if they have a budget for your fair. Alternatively, you can consider hosting a fundraiser or soliciting sponsorship from local businesses, with marketing perks. School fair budgets often are anywhere from $100 to $2,000, depending on the types of planned activities and level of financial support.
Common items included in fair budgets
Student project awards
In elementary school, we strongly encourage all students receive a prize. At this age, it is important that students develop STEM skills, and not get too caught up in the competition piece. All too often we’ve seen elementary school kiddos completely turned off of Science Fair because they poured their hearts and souls into their projects and didn’t get the big ribbon. Developmentally, middle and high school students are better equipped to keep the competition piece in perspective.
Food during events
Snacks, treats and/or dinner can help bring the school community together during an event.
Perks for judges
It can be challenging to get judges to commit and follow through. Perks such as snacks during assessment, gift cards, or thank you cards can help seal the deal.
Printing & office supplies
You might not have the option of printing take-home flyers and posters at your school, nor using office supplies (pens, clipboard for assessment, etc). If not, then you might consider adding these costs to your budget.
Project boards and notebooks
Giving students a project board and/or project notebook can be a good way to help students jump right in and get started. These can be good giveaways during your Fair Informational Meeting or other events early in the season.