As a Fair Organizer, there are a number of activities that you can plan to help inspire students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) projects. Each of these activities can take time to organize and implement. Try to plan activities around:
- The goals or planned outcomes of those activities,
- How much support you think you’ll be able to get from other volunteers to help organize the activities, and
- What your budget is – see Common Science Fair Budget Items
If others at your school have expressed interest in the Science & Engineering Fair, then consider asking them about their thoughts about different types of activities they think would be good to organize. Once you have decided on what activities you’ll host, then you can always go back to the person who expressed interest and ask them to help organize.
- Fair Informational Meeting – we recommend that you host a Fair Informational Meeting at least 8 weeks before your fair. Free pizza or treats tend to be good carrots for attendance. The goals of your meeting are to:
- Communicate your fair logistics, rules, guidelines, adult involvement expectations, and the value of student-led, authentic projects and the development of problem-solving skills.
- Give students and parents the opportunity to ask questions.
- Science & Engineering Fair – the goals of your Science & Engineering Fair are to inspire and empower students to explore authentic and innovative science and engineering projects and develop skills needed to do science and engineering. A Science & Engineering Fair can take the form of a scheduled time for students to share their projects with:
- Just their classmates during class time
- The whole school, during school, and/or
- The whole school community and extended family.
- Skills Assessment – students invest a significant amount of time and themselves in their projects. They deserve to have the opportunity to verbally share their experience and to receive constructive and effective feedback about their projects. If the goal of students projects is for them to develop skills needed to science or engineering, then that is what they should be assessed on. Their goal should NOT be to have perfect results – that just compels students to copy projects off the internet or let their grownups take the lead.