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Because you have to choose your science fair project and an advisor before you apply to enter a science fair, allow a week or two to figure out what you want to do. To enter the Magic of Science Fair for middle schoolers in northeastern Maryland, you must apply by 5 pm on May 15, 2023. The science fair will be held on June 10, 2023, at the TUNE Center at Harford Community College, 510 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, Md., so you will want to choose a project you can do in six-to-eight weeks.
Why should I enter a science fair?
We are going to be awarding 3D-printers and other prizes to the winner and runner-up for the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. But the best reason to enter the science fair is what you will earn by participating all the way through: a talent stack. A talent stack is a group of skills you have developed. The great thing about a talent stack is that you don’t have to be the best at each skill because it’s the combination of them that will give you your edge in life.
For starters, here are just some of the skills in the talent stack that you will create by participating in a science fair:
- How to do research to decide on what project to do. This will involve talking to your project advisor, your parents, librarians, and searching on YouTube and Google.
- How to find people who can help you when you’re stuck and don’t know what to do. Just make sure that you don’t let an adult take over your project and do it for you. The judges will know.
- How to create a schedule so you allow time to do your project, write it up, and create your display board.
- How to make a budget for your project.
- How to write up your project.
- How to tell the judges about your project with confidence so they know you understand it.
- How to be patient and kind with yourself while you learn new skills.
You will need this talent stack in high school, college, and your future career to be successful. Your new talent stack is your ultimate prize.
First, download the Magic of Science Fair submission instructions
Next, start taking notes
You have to record all the steps you take to do your project, so begin by getting a spiral notebook and stick-on tabs, or a three-ring binder plus paper and dividers, and start writing them down. You’ll need the tabs or dividers to mark sections of your notes. Print out the application instructions and keep them with your notes for handy reference.
Get this comprehensive guide
We recommend buying and reading an ebook called Students Guide to Science Fair Projects Step-by-Step Using the Scientific Method by Madeline Binder for $9.95. You can download it as soon as your purchase is approved. Read through it quickly the first time to get an overview of the process and then slowly while you do each step. The first 50 pages tell you how to choose your project. The Appendix includes 201 questions to help you find ideas for your science fair project. It also includes “Best-Kept Secrets of How to Win a Science Fair Contest” starting on page 228.
Follow the instructions on page 7 for the pages you need to print right away: Timeline, Table of Contents, the “Printables” in the Appendix, the Outcomes Checklist, and the Complete Science Fair Project Checklist.
The book also includes detailed instructions on how to make a display board. They are helpful, but be sure to follow the guidelines we provide on page 7 of the Magic of Science submission instructions.
While the book recommends a particular kind of science fair notebook you can buy from Amazon, if it’s too expensive, just use the spiral notebook or three-ring binder we suggested above. Talk to your advisor about what sections it should have.
How to search YouTube and Google for project ideas
You can type questions into YouTube and Google using the same wording you would use to talk to a person. Try searching on the following phrases:
- “middle school science fair ideas”
- “what are good science fair projects for 6th graders (or 7th graders, or 8th graders)”
- “how to win a science fair middle school”
- “what science fair judges want.”
Seeing videos of other children talking about their projects will help you understand what to do.
Try this topic selection wizard
Click here for the ScienceBuddies Topic Selection Wizard shown above. The blue “Find me a project!” button will take you to a page that starts a questionnaire about your interests and hobbies to suggest projects that might interest you.
Keep checking this blog
Throughout March and April we’ll be posting additional science fair project ideas.