Beyond Volcanoes and Popsicle Sticks

April 14, 2015

It’s that time of year — Science Fair competitions are at their peak! Inquisitive minds, wanting to know what, why and how particular things happen, fuel students to compete. It’s the inquiry-based learning that educators have encouraged and developed through science fair projects for many years. Through scientific thinking, problem solving, improvisation, presentation, and communication, students formed their hypothesis, tested it, and derived a conclusion to either support or negate it. Their creativity, thoroughness, results, and presentation have brought them this far, thanks to your guidance down this path of achievement. Congratulations and good luck to you on the next level!

We attended Mississippi’s State Science & Engineering Fair at the University of Southern Mississippi on March 24, 2015. While waiting on the judges to determine the winners, we were fortunate enough to sit in on a couple of CEU sessions for teachers taught by Christina McDaniels, the Mississippi Region V Science & Engineering Fair Coordinator. The morning session focused on using the Scientific Method while the afternoon session gave tips and hints on how to excel beyond the regional science fair.

 Christina was very informative in both sessions providing us all with tips and hints on how to encourage students and better prepare them for science fair. One tip in the morning session that was particularly handy was using “foldables” with your students. Christina taught us to make them quickly and easily using a manila envelope.


To make one, first we simply opened the flap and cut down the middle of the back side of the envelope. If it has a clasp, remove it before cutting. Next, we cut the bottom off. When you open it up, you have a mini science fair display board that your students can use to design their boards. These are much easier to grade and also help you give suggestions to students before the actual work on the board begins.


The afternoon session was titled, “Excelling Beyond the Regional Science Fair.” This session was very informative regarding individual parts of the science project and International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) rules. One little gem Christina shared with us is the ISEF Rules Wizard that your students can use to make sure they have all of the required forms for their project. To use, there are a series of questions that the student will answer about their project, and once all are answered, students will be informed which forms are required. This saves a great deal of time and concern in determining which forms a student needs.



Do you have helpful science fair tips that you would be willing to share with others? We would love to hear them. All you have to do is visit our Science Scene Facebook page and post them there.

Stephanie Miller

With over 25 years experience, Stephanie serves as a senior copywriter, social media director, and senior editor for Science Scene. Stephanie is always on the lookout for new educational and STEM-related opportunities and technology.