FIRST, IT'S FUN!
A science fair project is the ultimate answer to the often asked student question: "Why do I need to learn this stuff, anyway?"
It integrates, into one functional activity, virtually all of the skills and arts that are usually taught separately (sometimes not at all or without obvious "purpose") in many schools. When brought to completion, the project is an amalgamation of reading, writing, spelling, grammar, math, statistics, ethics, logic, critical thinking, computer science, graphic arts, scientific methodology, self-learning of one or more technical or specialty fields, and (if the project qualifies for formal competition) public speaking and defense in front of expert judges. It is, perhaps, the only educational activity that allows students to teach themselves, to take from the established information what they need to discover something exciting and new, and to identify and choose the tools that they need to conduct and conclude their project. When a student completes a science fair project, year after year, through junior and senior high school, the science fair process yields mature, self-confident, skilled, and competitive young leaders who have career goals and the preparation, discipline, and drive to attain them.
SECOND, IT'S EXCITING!
A science fair project can be self-validating and exciting because it is not just practice. It involves real discovery of little known or even unknown information.
It develops personal power of importance in students, where perhaps none or little existed before. The project usually is based on scientific questions or interests that the students already have, and allows them to develop the questions independently into formal, testable, solvable problems. When such studies are undertaken in earnest, the students often become driven by their projects. Learning the outcome and finding the answer can be an electrifyingly powerful moment of discovery. It proves to students, and to others, that they were successful and that they did it on their own! The result? An ordinary student is motivated seems that participation in a science fair is one sure-fire way to build student confidence, challenge potential, and instill the incredible feeling of independent achievement that the successful science fair project provides.
FINALLY, IT'S REWARDING!
Science fair projects can pay off in cash and open the doors of academic opportunity.
Well-done projects generally lead to competition and awards at Intel® ISEF-affiliated regional fairs. First-place winners at regional fairs usually have the opportunity to compete for additional awards in the state science fair. Top first-place winners from junior and senior divisions in many fairs are selected as sweepstakes winners and receive cash awards. Additionally, selected senior sweepstakes winners (the best of the best) go on to compete with other grand prize winners from throughout the world for substantial cash and scholarship prizes at the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Perhaps most importantly, however, graduating high school students with records of awards for original research or engineering at the regional fair and beyond, have a distinct advantage over other college applicants in being considered and accepted by the schools of their choice. This is because science fair honors rank high among the screening factors used by admissions officers at most top universities.
Lastly, students who participate in regional fairs have their projects evaluated by top local scientists from research and industry. Participants whose projects are judged to be worthy of international competition will be judged by the top scientists of the world. Imagine discussing a project with a Nobel Prize winner. The exposure and self confidence such an opportunity generates cannot be quantified
A science fair project is an exciting thing! You'll be surprised at yourself and what you can accomplish! Pick a topic and ask a question! It's that easy! Any topic that interests you can be turned into a science fair project. Interested in airplanes? Rollerblades? Fish? Dogs? Baseball? All involve science or engineering. The key to a great projects is to find something you like. Then you'll walk away with a greater understanding of it and science.
Enlist the help of your English and math teachers, not just your science teacher. Your English teacher can help you with putting together your background research paper and writing up your notebook and backboard. Your math teacher can help with statistics that are useful in proving (and sometimes disproving) your hypothesis.
The science fair is a tremendous opportunity for learning... and not just about science! Students use all the skills they have learned to put together a project. Writing, speaking, logic, and critical thinking all play roles in the completion of a project. Frequently, former exhibitors express their appreciation for the Fair because "it teaches me about myself and what I can do. There are no limitiations!"
A Science Fair project is not about building a volcano or making a robot. It's about experimentation, creativity and discovery. Students pull from many disciplines to complete a project. In the end, they not only get a sense of pride in their work, but can earn awards, scholarships and trips. And, in the ever competitive world of college applications, it is a great plus, because it proves that the student can complete long term goal.