Once you have all of the essential activities planned for your Science & Engineering Fair and have volunteers lined up, then you might consider organizing supplemental activities around your fair. Supplemental activities can include inspiring events, fundraisers, or carrots for student participation.
Supplemental Activities before Fair
- All-school Science Assembly – these types of events can be very effective at inspiring students to explore the science or engineering behind something they connect with and to enter a project in the fair. The benefits of an assembly is that all students get to participate. This is in contrast to having an event out of school hours when some families are unavailable or unable to attend.
- Family STEM* Night – these types of events can require a whole entire organizing committee of their own, but can be another effective mechanism for inspiring students to explore STEM and for bringing the school community together around STEM.
- After-school Workshops/Help-sessions –students might get limited exposure to student-led STEM projects in class. Doing a Science & Engineering Fair project without effective adult support can be overwhelming. You might consider having a Science & Engineering Fair workshop a week or two before your fair to help students
Supplemental Activities during Fair
- Whole family viewing – opening your fair to families can be a great way to have a community event and engage families in STEM even if their child hadn’t participated in the fair. Students generally revel in the opportunity to share their projects with others. Thursday evenings tend to be the more popular choice for scheduling.
- STEM demonstrations – consider inviting outreach groups to provide STEM demonstrations at a table during your fair. Many offer free demonstrations. Some potential local resources include: high school club, university student club or research group, STEM industry employees, government research lab or agency, museum, public service department, etc.
- STEM hand-on activities – the internet is packed full of fun and engaging activities for different age groups. Search for activities that any student, parent or school staff can run. Look beyond the “Wow factor” activities and strive for a single learning outcome per activity.
- Dinner – Free pizza is always a good way to get families to join and support your fair. You might also consider a paid dinner or a fundraiser.
- Bake sale – this is another option for a fundraiser or to fill hungry appetites during your fair. Girl or Boy Scout troops might gladly fill a table with goodies.
- Raffle – if you have the team-power to solicit for raffle items from your community, then a raffle or silent auction can also be a good fundraiser for your event or for STEM supplies in classes.
© 2020 STEM World Publishing, Public Benefit Corporation, with permission.
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