Science projects, science fair displays and science notebooks can be used to explain the process of science experiments and scientific observations. Science projects of all kinds should include more than just written explanations. They need visual decorations to catch an audience's eye, hold their attention, and enhance their understanding. Decorations help a science project be as engaging as possible, even if the audience is only a single person, such as a teacher.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Science projects of all kinds should include both written explanations and visual decorations. These decorations should not just be for show but should deepen the audience's understanding of the project. Such decorations may include three-dimensional visual aids, photographs, drawings and pieces of an experiment.
Three-Dimensional Visual Aids
Three-dimensional visual aids are a good choice for classroom science projects and science fair displays. This type of visual aid allows audience members to see and possibly touch an object related to your experiment. In some common science projects, the experiment itself produces a visual aid. For example, in an experiment that involves building a miniature erupting volcano using baking soda and vinegar, the volcano itself functions as a visual aid.
Even in more abstract projects, three-dimensional visual aids allow your audience to experience your project in a concrete way. For example, if your project involves archaeology, you could use real fossils as decorations that your audience can see and touch. Projects involving wildlife could include three-dimensional artifacts from nature, such as owl pellets or insect shells.
If your assignment involves turning in a science notebook, you may be able to turn in or present a three-dimensional visual aid in addition to your notebook. Ask your teacher whether this is allowed. Certain three-dimensional visual aids, such as feathers or small samples of materials used in an experiment, can be fastened to the inside of a science notebook. Check the guidelines for your particular assignment to see whether this is permitted.
Photographs and Drawings
Science notebooks are meant to detail the steps in a science experiment and communicate an understanding of the scientific process. Written work is important in science notebooks, but practical visual decorations can enhance a science notebook's effectiveness. Photographs and drawings are great decorative choices for science notebooks. Because they are flat, printed photos and drawings fit inside the notebook without disrupting your ability to turn pages. Photographs or drawings of the experiment documented in the notebook enhance a reader's understanding. You may even be able to decorate the outside of your notebook with photographs and drawings, depending on your assignment guidelines.
Photographs and drawings document real-life experiences in a way that other decorations cannot. For example, say you are doing a biology project on birds of prey, and you go to a nature preserve to see the birds up close. Photographs or sketches of the birds allow you to communicate the experience of having gone to the nature preserve.
Photographs and drawings can also be used in sequence to tell a story. For example, if you want your science display to show off an experiment you performed, you could document the entire process in photographs or drawings and display them to show what happened exactly.
Pieces of an Experiment
If your science project involved an experiment, then incorporating materials from the experiment into your decorations can greatly enhance the understanding of your audience.
Did your experiment involve a small object, such as an egg or a tennis ball? If so, display the egg, eggshells or ball as part of your decorations. If your experiment involved rope, rocks or other solid objects, then these objects have great value as decorations.
Even if your experiment involved a chemical reaction, sealed glasses of liquid can be displayed with your project, as long as none of the chemicals involved are harmful to the touch. Small pieces of experiments, such as bits of string, can be used in science notebooks, depending on your assignment guidelines.
About the Author
Maria Cook is a freelance and fiction writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Butler University in Indianapolis. She has written about science as it relates to eco-friendly practices, conservation and the environment for Green Matters.