The logistics of the day of your Science & Engineering Fair can be hard to get your head fully wrapped around. You and your team will need to direct a dozen more more volunteers, keep communication lines fully open to the school staff, and manage around a hundred students. It can feel like herding cats. You’ll need to do all of this while keeping everyone safe and having a lot of fun! There are a lot of moving pieces that need to be in sync for a smooth fair day. The secret sauce? Delegating responsibility and leadership to your committee members as much as possible.
Similar to natural disasters, Science Fairs are a time when the beauty of humanity often emerges. We’ve been fortunate to witness parents and volunteers who just jump right in as needed, just knowing what to do and being positive while doing it. These volunteers and your committee will help put out fires (hopefully not literally!) and keep everything moving right along. Enjoy and appreciate this moment of exceptional teamwork if you are so lucky.
Here’s an example of what the days of your fair might look like.
Day before fair
- Bring extra copies of materials that you had provided to families: Fair Student Handbook, Rule Checkoff List, etc.
- Your team sets up tables and your Health & Safety Officer approves of your set up. Be aware of fire access requirements and get the final okay from your principal or designated Health & Safety Officer on your setup.
- Your check-in team helps direct students to their designated project space while they check-in, either before school starts or that evening. Things to check-off: Students have all required materials, including the Rule Checkoff List, and have fully followed your rules. Students should not bring any hazardous items or other items not allowed by your school (as determined by your principal).
- If projects are all set up in the morning, then teachers might have signed up for time slots to bring their classes in the project area. Be sure to communicate expectations to teachers and either require or you provide support to help manage students during this time.
Day of Fair
- 30 minutes before school starts + 15 minutes after, students will line up to start setting up their projects if they didn’t already.
- At school start, judges get a 30 minute review of expectations and guidelines (and maybe bagels and coffee too).
- Judges are assigned a set number of students to assess.
- Assessment can take place in a student’s classroom or in a project display area. If outside of a classroom, then a volunteer runner retrieves students from their class one at a a time for each judge as needed.
- After assessment, awards are either placed at the student’s project display or there is an awards ceremony that evening. Check out Science Fair Fun’s Position Statement.
- Ideally there is a celebration of student projects that involves the whole school community.
- After, students remove their project displays.
- Then pat yourself on the back and give ample praise to volunteers and students for all of their hard work and dedication.
Buckle up for a fun ride!