Skip to main content
Teacher Joyce

Science Fair

The Science Fair Formats

Learn and Explain

In this format, the judges look at the student project, but it is not “judged” - meaning, the student does not participate in the interview and is not eligible to go on to the county science fair. “Learn and Explain” is perfect for the student who wants to participate in the fair but does not want the pressure of being judged. Also, there is no required hypothesis to challenge. It is just how it sounds - the student learns something and then explains it!

Required elements for Learn and Explain:

  • Background:  Provide information about the scientific concept you are exploring.
  • Procedure:  List materials and describe how you explored your idea.  This could be a model, a survey, artwork, or other ways of presenting your concept.
  • Observations:  Describe what happened when you tested your concept or built your model.
  • Conclusion: Describe what you learned from this project and how it could be used in real life.  Discuss any problems you encountered and how you overcame them.


Scientific Experiment


Projects that are “Scientific Experiment” entries have the option of being judged.  The top 10 of the judged projects will represent Vine Hill at the Santa Cruz County Science Fair.


Required elements for Scientific Experiment:

·          Introduction

  • Purpose:  Explain what you are trying to prove or why you are doing the experiment. Include what you know or discuss something you learned about the topic by doing some background research.
  • Investigative Question: What do you want to know?
  • Hypothesis:  Explain what you think will happen in the experiment and why. 

·          Procedure

  • Materials: Make a list (with exact amounts if possible).
  • Method:  Explain how the experiment is set up, and the steps you took to perform the experiment.

·          Data:  Describe or show observations and display actual measurements (in graphs, tables, photos, etc). The judges are interested in your data organized neatly in a graph.

·          Results: Summarize your test results and explain how the results pertain to the objectives or purpose.

·          Conclusion:  Discuss how the results support (or don’t support) your hypothesis. Discuss possibilities for errors, how the experiment could be improved, future possible steps, and real life applications.

·          Bibliography: List all websites, books, or other sources that you used to do this experiment.


Important: If students wish to take part in the judging, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Follow the “Scientific Experiment” format
  • Maintain a lab notebook that contains everything from initial ideas, to experiment, to conclusions.
  • There must be no more than 3 participants for the project.
  • Project participants should try to attend the Santa Cruz County Science Fair in March.
kids in class
experiment time