Above all else, start early! Give yourself plenty of time to learn about science fair processes and its Rules and Guidelines. (The Rules and Guidelines on the Intel International Science Fair website provide all the information necessary to develop a science fair at their school that follows international accepted guidelines and to support their young scientists. (Rules and Guidelines PDF)
The teacher shouldn't be afraid to tell students their project idea is not going to work, doesn't fit the requirements or isn't in the right category (from the UW Server). This might hurt the students’ feelings a little bit, but it is much better to work through these feelings at the beginning rather than later on in the process.
Monitor the deadlines that need to be met. Set mini-deadlines for students throughout their projects and check in with them frequently to make sure they are meeting those deadlines.
Monitor the paperwork that needs to be completed and turned in; some of it needs to be done BEFORE the project is started.
Each project will require different paperwork, especially ones using human or animal subjects (from the UW Server). The Forms Wizard will guide you through all the forms necessary for regional, state and international competition. All the Forms are found here. The first form, Form 1, is a checklist for adult sponsors, as it is the responsibility of the adult sponsor to know the rules and provide guidance to each student researcher.
Be sure to check the Wyoming State Science Fair website for paperwork due dates.
Spend a considerable amount of time with this; it is will pay off later in the process.
It is imperative that your students understand the concept of variables (from UW Server) and the importance of a controlled experiment (from UW Server) with a well defined hypothesis (from UW Server). that has just one manipulated variable, controls and replication (from UW Server).
Talk to your student or contact parents directly if it seems that the parents are doing more of the work than the student is. That scenario might result in a great final product, but it will be clear to the judges at the competition that the student does not understand the project in the depth they would have had they conducted the experiment themselves.
No matter how well versed a teacher is in the process of science fair and in the scientific method and designing experiments, questions will arise. There are resources that can help! The Science Posse and/or the State Science Fair Coordinator have resources to help answer those questions. Please contact us when the questions first come up. We can save you and your students a lot of time and frustration by getting you on the right track early on.
The best Mentors and Consultants:
Are aware, from the beginning, of the students’ progress throughout all steps of the research process;
Know the rules and regulations for science fair projects in their state and beyond;
Have a clear understanding of the scientific method and are able to explain it;
Make sure all necessary paperwork is turned in on time;
Contact professional scientists or science fair representatives for help when needed.
Here is a handy guide to a successful science fair experience that was created in 2011 by Fellows:
in collaboration with Partner Teacher
Snowy Range Academy,