Science Fair Kick-off Assemblies

I officially proclaim February as “national Science Fair kick-off month.”   Of course there is no such thing, but I have done several Science Magic school assemblies recently for exactly that purpose!  It’s fun hearing how different schools conduct their Science Fair; some are juried, some are required for certain grades, some parents can assist with, some happen in the evening, etc.

“We had wonderful feedback from numerous teachers and our principal following your show. You’ve set a new standard for science assemblies at Challenger Elementary!”
-Meredith Lillywhite, Challenger Elementary Science Fair Co-Chair

Challenger Elementary in Sammamish has a unique theme of “Sky’s the Limit” for their upcoming Fair.  (The school’s namesake is the space shuttle Challenger, and their mascot is a comet, so this fits perfectly.)  Science Fair co-chairs Meredith and Amy explained their idea:  “If aliens landed on our planet, what would you teach them about our world?”  Students are encouraged to use the scientific method as the model for answering their questions and testing their hypotheses for their experiments.  They have plans to transform an old satellite dish into an alien UFO and plant it on the front lawn of the school on the day of the assembly.

This sounds outrageously fun to me, so I immediately brainstormed some possibilities.

  • Add a hot water heater and dry ice and place it inside the “spacecraft”.  A light inside with a red gel illuminates the escaping carbon dioxide for an eerie effect.
  • String yellow “CAUTION” tape around the landing site.  Have a parked police cruiser with its lights on nearby as they investigate this strange occurrence.
  • Have “reporters” from the local “newspaper” on hand to interview kids and ask them what questions they might ask extraterrestrial visitors.
  • During the day play a short burst of “alien communications” (aka Morse code!) over the school’s public address system.  Then, the principal comes on to apologize, “Apparently the aliens were attempting to communicate with their home planet and their radio signal was picked up on accident.  Continue with lesson plans as usual…” (Good luck with that, teachers!)
  • Have the meal served by the cafeteria themed accordingly.  Regular foods can be re-assigned cool names.  For instance, milk becomes “Milk-y Way”, carrot sticks are “solar sticks”, katsup for “Neptune Fries” becomes “rocket sauce”, etc.
  • What might astronauts eat in a zero gravity environment?  Food should be light, well packaged, quick to serve, and easy to clean up (foods that tend to leave crumbs, for example, are ill-suited for space).  Let students sample freeze dried and dehydrated food.
  • How would you have PE in space?   The high jump would be interesting, but would it be easier or more difficult to run?  Ride a bike?  Students can think about how different life would be without gravity, on the moon with decreased gravity, or on a large planet like Saturn with increased gravity.

Why not send out a press release and invite a REAL reporter to cover this story?  Maybe aliens would hear about it and decide to make the trip over to check it out themselves 🙂

These pictures are from visits this past week to Lake Tapps Elementary, Dieringer Heights Elementary, and Challenger Elementary.

For videos of science experiments you can do at home, visit my YouTube channel and scroll towards the bottom.  (Subscribe to stay up to date as new videos are added.)

I’m based in Olympia, Washington and perform throughout Washington and Oregon and can fly to your area as well.  To learn more about bringing a great science fair kick-off assembly to your school, call me toll-free (877) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]

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