From modest beginnings in 2007-2008 - with 8 participating schools and ~614 student projects - Science Fairs in the Santa Fe Public Schools have grown to 19 schools and up to 3000 student projects. The program is now a mainstay of science education for elementary and middle schools – students and teachers alike are learning the processes of inquiry-based scientific discovery. We are seeing true excitement on the faces of many students, and some first-class work in addition.
We need volunteer STEM professionals to help us judge at science fairs, especially in December, January, and early February.
Tips for Good Projects
Advice to students
for science fair projects >
Examples of science fair projects >
Characteristics of a good science fair project>
Questions judges may ask
at a science fair >
Measuring tools to use
in your science fair project >
Hints for data collection>
What is an engineering project? >
How to graph your results >
from your results >
for your science fair project >
Here's what a filled out judge's scoring sheet looks like>
Schedule of Fairs
Pre-Fair Visits to Classrooms
Since 2013 judges have visited classrooms to help students as they get ready for science fair projects. In 2014 we talked about how to turn a lemon battery demonstration into a real experiment. A short version of that presentation is shown in the video at the top of this page. For the past two years we've engaged the students in hands-on classroom experiments that model the steps of a successful science fair project. In 2015 they compared speeds of falling light and heavy objects. In 2016 they compared reaction times between dominant and non-dominant hands. Each experiment was completed by the students in less than an hour and included a discussion of the important elements of a science experiment and how to interpret the data.The program began with a request from a single teacher that some judges come for one morning to talk to her school's nine 4th-6th grade classes about what's important in a science fair project. It has grown from those short talks to about 200 students in 2013 to leading some 2500 students in nearly 100 classrooms to do hands-on experiments in 2016. The program is driven entirely by schools' requests to SFAFS.
Visits can take place any time between the start of the school year and the beginning of the science fair season, roughly from mid-September to the end of November. Teachers should make requests to SFAFS through their school's science fair coordinator--the earlier the better.