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How to prepare a final report for your science fair project

Posted by on April 23, 2012

Generally a teacher would give guidelines as to what is expected in the final report, but if none come home with the project directions, then I recommend including the following sections (similar to a scientific paper) in this order:

Title, author, date

Abstract: 1 paragraph summary of entire project

Introduction: Background information including things like the motivation for picking your topic and why the project is important. Also include the hypothesis in this section.

Methods and Materials: This section can have several sub-sections. It would start with a list of what was used in the project. Also included would be a description of all the variables – independent, dependent, controlled and the control and level of replication. Once all that is spelled out, start with the procedure and describe the steps needed to complete the project. Photos of the process would also be included here.

Results: This section highlights the data – i.e., tables and graphs with descriptions of what they show. Remember that descriptions go above tables, but below graphs. Photos of results would go here.

Discussion: Now is the time to discuss the results – what does the data show, what did you learn, what surprised you, why do you think the results happened the way thbey did. Here you can also add what you would do better and what you would do as a follow-up experiment.

Conclusion: Specifically state if the data support or refute the hypothesis.

Acknowledgements: Thank everyone who helped you including your teachers, friends, mentors, and parents.

References: Bibliography

Writing a final report is one of the best ways to prepare for the judging interview.

4 Responses to How to prepare a final report for your science fair project

  1. Destiny Dale

    i need help I’m a student my report has to be 4 pages long but i can only get 2 and its due April 19, 2013.

    • Dr. Maille Lyons

      Add background information on why (whatever you project was) is important or why someone/anyone might care about whatever your topic was. Would it save them money? time? or effort? Did it answer an unsolved question or provide new insight into anything? You can then add a discussion of your results to mirror this background information. Also, pictures take up space – you could add them (don’t forget figure legends, too).

  2. Mrs. McCaslin

    I just started teaching a science class at a unique school and we are wrapping up science expo projects right now (expo instead of fair because there is no competition or judging). I had the students do both a display board and a final report, but there isn’t much difference between the two and I have had some questions asking what the purpose of a final report is. I don’t really know what to say other than, “Because it’s just done that way”, which is a horrible reason. Could you explain to me WHY there is a final report in addition to the display board?

    • Dr. Maille Lyons

      Generally, the report has substantially more detail than the display board. The report should include background information regarding the research done for the project and a more in depth conclusion with future directions. This information usually isn’t on the board. The display board should not be too wordy – the idea is that the student would use it to present the project, but not just read from each section. If there isn’t much difference between their boards and their reports, then either the boards have too much information on them OR the reports do not have enough.

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