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What’s stopping you from joining the science fair?

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Have you been thinking about the science fair and going “Yeah, that would be cool, but…”? I haven’t heard from anyone on why they’re hesitant to join the science fair, but that’s not too surprising – even during my school presentations when I ask people don’t have much to say. So, I’m going to guess some hypothetical reasons, then answer them.

"I don't have the time"

I can’t tell you whether or not you have time for the science fair, but maybe I can offer some tricks.

👉 Can something that you’re already doing, planning to do, or need to do, be turned into a science fair project? Maybe soccer games can double as data collection opportunities for a science fair topic on hydration and athletic performance? Music practice turned into a study of memorization techniques. Or, shoveling out cow pens a perfect time to see which kind of motivators work best on teens. Approaching the science fair this way lets you continue to do what you need to do, but lets you double up on purpose.

👉 Share the burden with friends? If you have an idea that interests your friends you could convince them to join you, lightening your burden but still resulting in a science fair project! Teams of two are possible if you want to compete for the Canada-Wide Science Fair and teams four if you’re just participating in the regional science fair.

"I'm not smart enough to be in a science fair"

It is my opinion that a lot of the reason smart people seem smart is just because they’ve spent so much time on one topic. Can you think of examples where you started something new and were confused by all the new words and rules, but then as time went on it all became second nature to you? A new video game might provide a good example of this.

So, my response to “I’m not smart enough to be in a science fair” would be “Nonsense!” Spend a few weeks on a topic that interests you and people will be looking at you in awe, wondering how you got to know all the stuff you do.

"I don't like science"

I think you’re going to want to be sitting for what I’m about to tell you… are you ready? Science is EVERYWHERE. You probably do it by accident a couple times a day – don’t be embarrassed!

Like I’ve said in the past, science is simply a method that’s used to understand the world: “When I do ‘x’, ‘y’ happens. Why?” or “Why not?” and “How could this be different?”

Whatever it is about science that you don’t like probably doesn’t even need to be part of your science fair project. Although, if you do want to compete in the Canada-Wide Science Fair there are some stricter rules you’ll need to follow.

"I don't know what to do for a project"

There might be a few reasons you don’t know what to do. My advice to anyone would be to make sure you pick something that excites you; something that comes effortlessly, or that you find yourself returning to again and again. You may think of something that is quite general, like “Video games” or “sports.” In that case, think about whether there’s something specific about those things that you like.

For example: I really like video games, I think about them when I’m not playing them, and I try to make free time for them. What in particular do I like? It could be:
* The sense of progress
* Doing something fun with my friends
* Competition

You may need to do this a few more times, but each time try to think “Could this be a project?” For example:
* I like video games <- Project? Maybe not…
* I like the sense of progress <- Project? Maybe. I could study motivational systems based on “gamifying” tasks. I could research the use of addictive patterns in applications.

Aside from all this, several of my previous posts talked about turning questions into science fair topics, and one talked about turning something you already wanted to do into a topic. See:

  1. Turning any question into a science-fair-ready topic
    1. Example: Time to put this turkey to rest
  2. Do whatever you want, then turn that into a science fair topic

Ask for help!

What’s stopping you from joining the science fair? Reply to this post, post in the Facebook group, or send the mentors an email at

And, if you’ve been convinced to join us at the science fair, fill out the Expression of Intent form here:

Until next time!