While being able to conduct a well-planned and creative science project is essential in a science fair, it is also very important to be able to explain your project and show it to others. A neat and attractive tri-fold board is a good way to attract positive attention toward your project. This task may seem a bit daunting, as it requires a little artistry, but a few tools and keeping a few simple things in mind can make this project much easier. A well-constructed display will also be easy to photograph clearly.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Butcher paper or construction paper
- Computer and printer
- Computer paper
Open up your tri-fold board. You can arrange the pieces on your board before gluing anything down.
Decide on a colour scheme. This will help make decisions easier. One or two colours are good for a colour scheme for your board, and a good contrast will be easy to photograph as well. If you have a white board and want it to be a different colour, spread it over a piece of butcher paper and trace it to get the right size, then use a thin layer of white glue or a glue stick to glue it onto your board. You can also use construction paper. Some boards come in colours other than white, in which case, you can skip this step.
Write up your experiment if you have not done so already. Your board must have all the elements of a scientific paper -- your hypothesis, an abstract, an introduction, a materials list, a description of your procedure, your findings, your conclusion and a list of any resources or references you used. If you have already written your experiment as a paper, then you have what you need to move on. You may wish to edit your paper to be simpler, as a text-heavy board is visually unappealing, but do not leave out anything important.
Make labels for any photographs, drawings, graphs or charts that you have. Do not leave anything unlabeled. You can make handwritten labels, but computer printed ones will generally look neater. You may also wish to create a title for your experiment if you do not plan on hand-lettering or using cut-out letters for it.
Print out your experiment writeup and labels. Use a plain font that can be read easily, and be sure that your font is large enough to be read at a distance. Double-space so that you can cut apart the writeup and arrange paragraphs neatly onto the board. It will look neater if you centre the paragraphs rather than justify them.
Gather your printouts and any visual items that you want to put on your board.
Decide how you want to arrange your board. Make it flow logically, with the experiment starting with the hypothesis at the top of the left-hand panel, moving down and across and ending with your references at the bottom of the right-hand panel. You want the most visual part of your experiment to be in the middle to attract attention. This will most likely be your experimental procedure and set-up, which you should have photos or diagrams for. The title of your experiment should be at the top of the left-hand or centre panel.
Arrange the elements of your experiment on the board, but do not glue anything yet. This is the part that requires a bit of artistry. Keep your text and images towards the middle of each section of the board. You can use a ruler to ensure that everything is straight and that the elements are an equal distance away from each other; symmetry and evenness will make a more attractive display.
Glue the parts down once you are absolutely sure of how you want to arrange them. Do not use too much glue, or your paper will warp, which is unattractive.
Tips and warnings
- Borders around the board itself or around paragraphs or photos will make a "prettier" display. Scrapbook supplies, like paper and decorative scissors, are ideal for this.
- If you are worried about ruining photographs, try using acid-free glue or re-positionable glue.
- Be sure that your photographs and drawings are large, clear and have good contrast.
- When you are at the fair, you may wish to bring along props. Be sure to display them so that they do not conceal important parts of your tri-fold board.
- Particular fairs may have specific rules about layout or other portions of your display. Always check the rules before constructing your board to avoid disqualification.
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