writing procedures for science fair displays

AFTER you've done your research and concluded your experiments, it is time to prepare for the science fair. Ask specific questions about preparing for a science fair, including how to set up your display board, how to prepare a presentation, etc. (Please post questions about selecting a project or conducting your experiment by posting in the appropriate "area of science" forum.)

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writing procedures for science fair displays

Postby hedgehog » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:09 pm

I am leading my 6th grade class in a science fair and would like to know if it is acceptable for them to write procedures for their experiments in first person, past tense. It made more sense to me to have them write exactly what they did, but I know after reading the guide on this website, that this is probably incorrect and too informal. Should I have them change their procedures before the fair? Many thanks for your comments!
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Re: writing procedures for science fair displays

Postby MelissaB » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:42 am


This is just a matter of personal opinion, but I think what you asked for is fine. Once upon a time, scientific journals insisted that everyone write in passive voice 'the length was measured'. However, once page space became an issue, they realized that first-person past tense (we/I measured the length' was usually more concise and made the paper easier to read. As a result, most scientific journals now require us to write in first/second person past-tense. As a university professor, too often I see students get caught up in writing 'formally' without really understanding what it is that they are writing. So, personally, I would rather see students write the way you have asked them to write than in the more stilted, formal, stereotypical science way.

Again--that's just my personal opinion; take it with a grain of salt!
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