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 20-25 schools and approximately 2000 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.
In 2017-18 we judged 1730 projects at 23 school science fairs. Every student got a 10-minute personal interview with a scientist. We also visited 166 classrooms before the fairs and performed an experiment with more than 3000 students to show them the basics of a project.
Tips for Good Projects
Steps for doing a science fair project
Choosing a project - potential project areas
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
Science Fair Schedule as of November 10, 2018
Since 2013 our volunteer science fair judges have visited classrooms to help students as they get ready for science fair projects. Each year, we engage students in hands-on classroom experiments that model the steps of a successful science fair project. 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. In 2015 students compared speeds of falling light and heavy objects. In 2016 students 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 approximately 200 students in 2013 to involving 2,500-3,500 students in a hands-on experiment in more than 100 classrooms each school year. The program is driven entirely by teachers' requests to the SFAFS.
Most of our classroom visits take place between the start of the school year and the beginning of the science fair season, roughly from mid-September to the end of November.