Science fair got you down?
Picking out a project for your kids and helping them complete it in time can be stressful.
And on top of all that, you have to design and decorate a science fair board?
It’s a lot to handle.
However, you can handle it. And you’ll handle it like a boss.
Read on to discover which board will work best for you. Explore how to lay it out with style and class so your kid will take on the science fair with confidence and be a winner.
Or at least a runner-up for prettiest display board.
Project Board Layout: What You’ll Need
The first thing you’ve got to do is make sure you have all the right materials.
When all is said and done experiment-wise, parents can be tempted to skimp on the presentation.
It’s vital that you don’t do that. You want your kid to have a fighting chance when it comes to placing in the science fair. In order to give them that chance, you’ll need to provide them with a good set of materials.
A tri-fold poster board is absolutely essential for any project. It’s pretty much the industry standard when it comes to the science fair.
Use the Staples Online store to buy your trifold poster. It’s easy, fast and cheap (less than 10 dollars per board). They deliver right to your doorstep, or you can pick up your materials in-store.
You’ll also want to pick up or order other supplies. Markers, colored paper and even embellishments for decorating are all good ideas.
Project Board Layout: Balance and Proportion
The first thing anyone will notice when looking at the board is the balance of the text. Is the proportion correct? Does the board as a whole make sense?
You’ll want the title placed on the middle panel at the top of the board. The title text should be larger than all the other text and centered in the middle of the panel.
IIT Education warns against placing the title anywhere other than this, as it could disrupt the flow of the entire board. Likewise, don’t place text vertically or in wavy lines across the board. It’s a good idea to place the text the way our language is naturally read: from left to right, and top to bottom.
Make sure it’s readable from across the room, as this is what will draw the eye of any onlookers at the fair. The other text should also be large enough to read easily, but not as large as the title.
Place blocks of text proportionally around the board, spreading them evenly to create the perfect balance.
Project Board Layout: Logic and Order
Your child will want to demonstrate his or her knowledge of the scientific method. After all, that’s what the science fair is all about.
This must be demonstrated through their science project board in a cohesive manner, or the method that they’re demonstrating will seem jumbled and out of order.
To avoid this, follow the English rule once again. Science Buddies suggests laying your board out like a newspaper.
Begin with the left panel, and place the first step on the top. Then place the second step under that. The third step will go on the top of the middle panel, then the fourth step under that, etc.
Since English-reading people will naturally read like this, they’ll find each step right where they need it to be.
Make sure you leave some room around the steps for pictures. Since some steps and their illustrations are much longer than others (for example, the “question” step requires a simple line of text whereas the “procedures” step will require much more space), it may not be feasible to place 2 steps on each panel.
Rather, take as much space as you need for each step. If that means placing 3 steps on 1 panel, that’s ok. It shouldn’t be crowded but flow nicely and evenly across the poster.
Project Board Layout: Color and Rhythm
Color is catching. You’ll definitely need some.
You’ll want to make sure the color choices are professional. Muted tones are better for conveying the scientific nature of an experiment.
Avoid bold and flamboyant colors, except if they represent something about the project which needs to be manifested on the display board.
The color white should be the main background, but you may want to consider placing some of the text on colored squares to break up the monotony and draw the eye.
In this case, make sure the text and the background color contrast sharply. This will ensure the text is easy to read.
Your Project Board Layout Matters, So Create a Masterpiece
One of the most exciting things about grade school is the science fair. It’s an opportunity for education and fun at the same time. Make sure you take full advantage of this chance to learn and grow along with your child.
And remember, your kid may just win the fair — with the right board, that is.