A science fair allows students to show off their science creations in an exposition atmosphere. Some fairs are quite large and prestigious - often offering prizes, including cash and scholarships, to the winners.
Whether for an assignment or just for fun, participating in a fair can be a great experience - helping you attain scientific discipline, a strong work ethic, and a sense of competition, all helpful traits in later schooling and in life. The experience will look good on a college transcript too.
Competing in a fair is essentially straightforward (a complete run through can be had by beginning at the start ) - a student chooses a topic of interest and selects a question they would like to answer, they then do research on that topic, perform experimentation, draw conclusions, write up a report and create a display, and finally present their findings.
This process is very hands-on and is a great learning opportunity for students at all levels of education.
Here are some top competitions :
There are many more fairs around the country and around the world. If you want to find a particular science fair for your state or area, you might have luck at this exhaustive list maintained at the University of California.
There you will find a fair for nearly all the states in the United States, fairs from other countries such as Canada and Australia as well as virtual fairs.
If you would like some tips on how to win, you might want to look at ourwinning projects page that describes how to approach a fair in the right way - so you can present your material in the best light and so that you can get the most out of doing your project.
A final thought: winners at the top science fairs in the world almost always "worked their way up" by starting at smaller school and state fairs in order to gain the necessary skills to compete at the top level. Do not be discouraged by the competition - everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up.