One of the most important elements of a science fair project is its presentation. In many ways, the display of your project is the culmination of the long road of research and experimentation. You have done all the hard work engineering your experiment; the poster or display is your opportunity to show your audience what you have learned. Whether you’re putting together a board or a three-dimensional display, there are few important things to bear in mind when displaying your findings.
First and most importantly, your poster or display must be accessible! Many students become so excited at the site of the finish line that they throw all of their data onto a board without thinking about whether it’s understandable. Try to remember that the viewers were not present for the major part of your experiment. The board is how they are able to understand and appreciate what you have done. Even a three-dimensional display needs to have section clarifying the phases of your experiment. Your audience expects your display to effectively communicate the content of your inquiry. If you create a display that is only comprehensible to you, no one will appreciate it. There is a good way to test out whether your presentation is clear. Have a friend or family member who was not present for your experiment look it over. They will be able to point out any vague or overly technical language or diagrams.
Additionally, make sure the title of your project is clear and recognizable. Use a bigger size font, a bold color or another noticeable way of making the title stand out. The last thing you want is to have people asking you what exactly your project actually did!
Another useful tip is to keep the details at a reasonable amount. Too many details can bore or confuse viewers. You want to let them know the end results, but you don’t want to put them off with too many figures or elaborations. Consider ways of displaying your data that remains organized and gets to the point. Graphs are a great way to display all the numerical data of your project in a structured way. Keep it knowledgeable, but simple.
A great idea to attract attention to your display is to make it eye-catching. Use bright colors, unusual font, interesting examples or entertaining images. Consider using unique materials to create the display. While the traditional tri-fold board is always a classic, try mixing things up a little. If you did a project in zoology or botany and want to use a board, try tacking some stuffed animals or fake plants to it. You can use colorful pipe cleaners to outline the perimeter of your graphs or tables. Get creative and people will appreciate the fun you had putting your display together. Displaying a project that has a bit of flair to it will attract a bigger audience. Just make sure the tactics you use to spice up your display don’t take away from your experiment and fit well in a professional atmosphere.
Always have fun with your poster or display. Try not to treat the presentation as a last minute chore. Think of it as a great way to show everyone at the fair how interesting and relevant your experiment is, and how much you enjoyed working on it. If you think positively and consider your display a compelling outlet for your results, it will be reflected in the finished product.