Your science fair display represents all the work you have done. It should consist of a backboard, the project report, and anything else that represents your project. Things such as models made, items studied, photographs, surveys, and any other relevant information should be included. The display should tell the story of the project in such a way that it attracts and holds the interest of the viewer. Be thorough, but don’t overdo it. Keep it simple.
The allowable size and shape of the display backboard can vary. You will have to check the rules for your science fair. A three-sided backboard is usually the best way to display your work. Sturdy cardboard or other heavy material is easy to work with and is less likely to be damaged during transportation to the fair. Wooden panels can be cut and hinged together. Some office supply stores sell inexpensive pre-made backboards. If these are not available in your area, you can order inexpensive pre-made backboards online. Purchased backboards generally come in two colors, black or white. You can change the color by covering it with self-stick, colored shelving paper or cloth. Select colors that stand out but don’t distract the viewer from the material being presented. For example, if you use fluorescent colors for items on the presentation, the bright colors instead of your work will be what catch the eye.
The title and other headings should be neat and large enough to be read at a distance of about 3 feet. A short title is usually more eye-catching. Self-sticking letters of various sizes and colors for the title and headings can be purchased at office supply stores. You can also cut your own letters out of construction paper, stencil the letters directly onto the backboard, or simply print the title and other headings on a word processor.
Some teachers have set rules about the position of the information on the backboard. Examples of headings are: Problem, Hypothesis, Experiment (materials and procedure), Data, Results, Conclusion, and Next Time. The project title should go at the top of the center panel with the remaining material placed neatly in some order below and on the side panels. The figure below shows an example of how to place the material.
You want a display that the judges will remember positively. It is a good idea to lay the board on a flat surface and arrange the materials a few different ways before you glue everything down. This will help you decide on the most suitable and attractive presentation.
Source: Science fair Projects for Dummies, Wiley Publishing 2003
A Chile Pepper Institute publication, New Mexico State University © 2007