Don’t Waste the Summer!

School is over for just about everyone, and most of the science fairs have finished.  But, summer is the perfect time to start thinking about and planning next year’s science fair project.  If you get a big head start with your next independent science project, especially if you do research on your topic over the summer, you’re sure to have a much better chance at winning an award than if you wait to start until the week before the project is due.

Have you checked out the Mister Science Fair Facebook page lately?  All year long, our Facebook page is full of useful information, advice, resources, and inspiration to create a science fair or engineering design project. It’s also the perfect place to learn about other science competitions you might be interested in entering in addition to your local school fair.

Many competitions release their rules and deadlines over the summer. You might even find ideas for topics on web sites such as the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, Kid Wind Challenge, the Cybermission Challenge and the Google Science Fair. And, if you’re entering your senior year in high school, the “Nobel Prize” of high school science competitions is the Regeneron Science Talent Search. And, our Facebook page has links to stories about the winners of some of the local, national & international competitions, and information about upcoming science competitions with thousands of dollars in prizes.

Summer Opportunities

On our Facebook page, there’s news about free online courses such as MatLab’s Modeling and Simulation class and the “Hour of Code” projects, as well as fun links to videos including the Zombie College lab safety film.

As the science fair season heats up in the fall, you’ll also see posts such as common Safety Review issues and the Most Likely Questions to be asked by one of your judges.

Facebook posts happen nearly every day. So, check us out at and “like” us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out on the information and excitement this summer!

Help ward off “Summer Brain Drain” and nurture a science project at the same time

Several parents have asked me over the years, “What did you do to fuel your son’s passion for science?”

As someone who became a math major in college with the hope of someday realizing my dream of working for NASA and the space program, I used to love watching my son develop an appetite for science.  It was deeply satisfying for me to see him explore his personal interests in geology and paleontology – interests that would not only eventually become hobbies and science fair projects, but would also lead him to a career in these and other science-related areas when he grew up.  Don’t we all yearn to have fun at our jobs?

A lot of his interest in science was originally sparked by taking him to the Museum of Science and to the Aquarium, where he was first introduced to the “ooo’s” and “aaaahhh’s” of biology, chemistry, astronomy, oceanography, electricity and… dinosaurs.  What kid (or adult) isn’t fascinated with the Van de Graaff generator, the huge T-Rex, or real sharks in huge tanks?

It has been well documented that many students lose more than 2 months of knowledge over the summer.   The courses my son took at the science museum and aquarium, on weekends and especially during summer when he was in elementary & middle school student, allowed him to have a hands-on experience in “the art of experimentation” with activities, materials and equipment that I couldn’t afford to supply at home, at an age when it could (and obviously did) make a lasting impression.

When it came time for him to start working on school science projects and his science fair projects, the contacts he had made at the Boston Museum of Science, in particular, were invaluable to opening many doors.  The Museum staff not only helped him develop his project ideas, but helped him to find access to materials, labs and equipment not often available to someone so young.

The most valuable thing you can do to help your child start developing an interest in the fascinating world of science this summer is to encourage regular visits to a science museum, aquarium, zoo — or even your local library or bookstore where they host workshops, so your child can be introduced to the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) subjects that most interest him or her.

When your child expresses an interest in a specific topic, nurture their natural curiosity until it blossoms into their own experiment or project.  A museum course instructor or workshop leader may even agree to become a mentor to your child, and may be best equipped to help your child to expand upon ideas and interests.

Have a great summer!

You can find lots of fun workshops at your local bookstore or library over the summer. 

Solar Lithography

A simple experiment to demonstrate the power of sunlight.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 sheet of paper
  • a pair of scissors
  • a small piece of glass
  • light sensitive paper
  1. Draw a pattern on a sheet of paper
  2. Cut out pattern you want to imprint out of the paper
  3. Layer the design over the light-sensitive paper and cover with a glass
  4. lay the combined paper sandwich (glass upwards) in the sunlight and leave out for 5 minutes
  5. Remove the glass and rins the light-sensitive paper