How to Enter the ® and Instructables Science Fair! Over $3,000 in Prizes!




UPDATE: contest extended to Sunday night, 2 September!
Sorry about that one- we always try to close on a Sunday night to give you the weekend to post! Use the unexpected time to make your project especially awesome.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first man-made satellite, Sputnik. The United States answered with the Vanguard TV3, which rose four feet before exploding on the lauchpad. The perceived technology gap ushered in the space race, an era of unprecedented excitement and support for science and engineering. Engineering colleges were flooded with new students, while grade schools quickly scaled up their science curriculum.

Since then the world has become complacent, and the great powers are mostly at peace. Without a clear external foe, scientific motivation has withered. It's time to prepare the next generation of physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers for the next great threat- from SPACE!

While our governments fritter away time and money on dubious space stations and malfunctioning probes, our species remains confined to a single planet. Manned spaceflight capabilities have dwindled, and funding cuts threaten scientific education and research. We're hardly ready to deal with a rogue comet or deadly space-borne spores, much less a full-blown alien invasion!

Thus, Instructables and's Industrial and Scientific store have taken a look back to the 1950s, and resurrected the best thing to come of the decade's spirit of intellectual competition: the Science Fair!

To enter the Science Fair, demonstrate and explain a physical principle in the Instructables format, and incorporate this lesson into a fun project. It can be your version of a classic project with better explanation or a neat twist, a home translation of a lab experiment, or something totally novel. Just take great pictures, explain the scientific principles clearly and thoroughly, build a great project, and get us excited about science!

Grand Prize
The grand prize winner for will receive a USD $1,500 gift certificate1, a custom laser-etched Leatherman Juice S2 multi-tool, and an Instructables Robot t-shirt.

First Prize
Four (4) first prize winners will each receive a USD $250 gift certificate, a custom laser-etched Leatherman Juice S2 multi-tool, and an Instructables Robot t-shirt.

Runner Up
Twenty (20) runners-up will each receive a USD $25 gift certificate, an Instructables patch, and stickers.

Family Collaboration
Two collaborating families will receive a matched set of Instructables Robot t-shirts and an acrylic Robot plaque laser-engraved with their names!

How to measure the speed of sound with two lumps of wood is a fine example of a simple project with a good, clear explanation. Since it's a simple experiment, variations in different media would be great.
DIY Kitty Crack: ultra-potent catnip extract does a great job explaining the physical principle of steam distillation, then applies it to an awesome home project. This is a nearly perfect example.
Mechanical Wave Driver for a Chladni Plate is a good-looking project, but would need a thorough discussion of the principles involved.
Photography in the Ultraviolet spectrum is a nice simple project that would need a thorough discussion of UV light to be a great Science Fair entry.
Levitate Objects in Mid-Air would need a good discussion of Bernoulli's principle instead of a link off-site. An explanation of the different effects from changing blower and object size would be even better. It would be fantastic when combined with a fun twist like Bernoulli's Slalom.
Diamagnetic Levitation Experiment does a good job explaining a neat project; with a bit more discussion it could be a truly great entry.
Blue Flaming Pinecones, with a good description of the chemistry involved in color change, would be most excellent if the flames were then analyzed using Naff Movie into 'DVD Spectra'.

1. Publish your Instructable and add it to the Science Fair! group from July 12th until 11:59pm PDT Sunday, September 2nd, 2007. Only projects published within these dates are eligible.

2. We want to see a great explanation, demonstration, and instruction on your chosen scientific principle. All branches of science are eligible- this is a broadly-defined contest! Be clear and thorough- readers should be able to understand the concept and replicate your experiment given access to appropriate tools. Remember, you're helping educate the next generation of rocket scientists!

3. Include a link to something used in your Instructable's research, development, or construction that could be bought on This includes parts like a magnet or some sheet metal, gear such as safety glasses, tools such as a drill, and references such as a magazine or a book.

4. Were your parents sad they couldn't help out with your school Science Fair project? Well, not only are we OK with it, we ENCOURAGE parent-kid collaborations! In fact, we're giving a special prize to the best family collaborations!

All contest entries will be judged for merit. Judges will evaluate each Instructable for the following:
  • educational value
  • entertainment value
  • completeness (photos and text for all important steps)
  • clear, concise text description including a properly summarized introduction
  • clear photographs (2+ megapixel preferred), use macro mode for close up shots
  • use of photo-notes where appropriate
  • list of parts and tools required (if appropriate)
  • safety notes (if appropriate)
  • usefulness
  • creativity
  • technical merit

Judges from, Instructables, and past contest winners will evaluate the entries by the above criteria, then vote for winners using range voting, the same system used in Olympic scoring. We'll announce the winners by Monday, 10 September 2007.

Helpful Links:
How to create a great Instructable
How to add an Instructable to a group
How to embed video into Instructables
Explore popular Instructables
Take a tour of Instructables

Additional Information
You must be 18 or older to enter. If you are under 18, you can still enter, but to win you will need to verify that you had the permission of a parent or guardian (we will have a permission slip for you). The best solution would be to have your parent join you as a collaborator on your Instructable to make you eligible for the Family Collaboration prize!

International entries are great! is a global company, and will be happy to give gift certificates to winners world-wide.

Instructables will send electronic gift certificates via e-mail to the prize winners within seven (7) business days after the winners are announced. gift certificates are awarded in US dollars only.

You may enter as many different Instructables as you like, however they will be judged on individual merit and you may only win one prize per contest. An Instructable may be entered in multiple contests if it meets the relevant criteria.

Winner is responsible for all taxes (we will remind winners at the contest's end.)

Amazon, and the logo are registered trademarks of Inc. or its affiliates. gift certificates are issued by A2Z Gift Certificates, Inc. and are redeemable only at See for terms and conditions of use of gift certificates.

Step 1: How We Judged the Science Fair

We judged the contest with range voting. Members of Instructables (past contest winners and people working at Instructables) and were invited to vote using a ballot with the following instructions:


Science Fair!

Please submit your vote by 6 AM PT Monday September 10th 2007.

Please vote for as many Instructables as you like. There is 1 page to this ballot. Please enter your Instructables username and email on each page of the ballot. If you don't have an Instructables username, list your affiliation and name under username; we will use this information to authenticate your ballot.

A vote of "9" indicates that the project should win. A vote of "1" indicates that the project should not win. A vote of "no opinion" does not affect a project's standing.

You can review the rules of the contest here. In short they are:
To enter the Science Fair, demonstrate and explain a physical principle in the Instructables format, and incorporate this lesson into a fun project. It can be your version of a classic project with better explanation or a neat twist, a home translation of a lab experiment, or something totally novel. Just take great pictures, explain the scientific principles clearly and thoroughly, build a great project, and get us excited about science!

The winners will be determined by range voting described here and here.

Please enter your Instructables username. Your vote will not be public; the fact that you voted will be public.

Please enter the email address associated with your Instructables account. We will use this to authenticate your vote.

As in the Olympics, the average score is the final determinant for each project. All projects with more than 50% of the potential maximum score are listed below, sorted by average score.

Instructable - Average - Sum - Votes - Standard Deviation - Percent of max
The Rubens\' Tube: Soundwaves in Fire! 8.45 - 93 - 11 - 0.7 - 100.0%
Build an antique style crystal radio 7.64 - 84 - 11 - 0.9 - 90.3%
Wiimote Rubens Tube: Control Fire With Sound! (And a Nintendo Wiimote!) 7.45 - 82 - 11 - 1.4 - 88.2%
The Hilsch vortex tube 7.30 - 73 - 10 - 1.3 - 78.5%
Kitchen laboratory II: The CO2 trap 7.13 - 57 - 8 - 1.8 - 61.3%
How to make air muscles! 7.09 - 78 - 11 - 1.4 - 83.9%
Preparing your own thin layer chromatography plates (and then using them) 7.00 - 63 - 9 - 1.8 - 67.7%
Electromechanical Transducer Out of a Polystyrene Conical Section! 6.91 - 76 - 11 - 1.5 - 81.7%
Kelvin\'s Thunderstorm - Create lightning from water and gravity! 6.91 - 76 - 11 - 1.1 - 81.7%
Make Potato Plastic! 6.90 - 69 - 10 - 1.8 - 74.2%
Kitchen laboratory: Proteins and Cheese making 6.78 - 61 - 9 - 1.7 - 65.6%
Building a better Guinea and Feather 6.64 - 73 - 11 - 3.0 - 78.5%
Growing Mushrooms: PF Tek 6.45 - 71 - 11 - 2.3 - 76.3%
Make Rheopectic slime in less than 15 minutes! (It is not Oobleck) 6.45 - 71 - 11 - 2.3 - 76.3%
8X10 foldable pinhole camera 6.36 - 70 - 11 - 1.6 - 75.3%
The Chaos Machine (Double Pendulum) 6.30 - 63 - 10 - 1.9 - 67.7%
Geodesic Dome Greenhouse 6.22 - 56 - 9 - 3.1 - 60.2%
The Bio-Battery - Power for the future. (So easy a 10 year old can do it.) 5.90 - 59 - 10 - 2.1 - 63.4%
Barbie Doll Electric Chair Science Fair Project! 5.83 - 70 - 12 - 2.5 - 75.3%
Motor Speaker 5.70 - 57 - 10 - 2.1 - 61.3%
A simple mechanical resonance demonstrator 5.45 - 60 - 11 - 1.9 - 64.5%
How to \"make\" plastic 5.45 - 60 - 11 - 1.9 - 64.5%
Make an Evaporative Terra Cotta Beer Chiller 5.33 - 48 - 9 - 1.5 - 51.6%
Measure the drag coefficient of your car 5.30 - 53 - 10 - 1.8 - 57.0%
Make a Voltage Controlled Resistor and Use It 5.22 - 47 - 9 - 1.6 - 50.5%
Be a scientist: make your own force meter. 5.17 - 62 - 12 - 2.1 - 66.7%
Build a solar hot dog cooker 5.09 - 56 - 11 - 2.0 - 60.2%
Measure the specific heat of water and other fluids 5.09 - 56 - 11 - 1.7 - 60.2%
Be a Scientist: Learn about Triboluminescence (or Lightning in your 4.80 - 48 - 10 - 1.9 - 51.6%
Hack The Spy Ear and Learn to Reverse Engineer a Circuit 4.80 - 48 - 10 - 2.7 - 51.6%
Be a Scientist: map your skin 4.70 - 47 - 10 - 1.9 - 50.5%
Let\'s go green! Build a Solar Powered Parabolic Cooker! 4.45 - 49 - 11 - 1.4 - 52.7%



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    58 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i got some good ideas , ill sell you a idea for $50.00 ea if I had 10 or more ideas


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I just saw the deadline was extended! Yippee! I've been procrastinating and things aren't going as I'd like, haha. I've been building this big table out of books at work and school just started, so this is good news. :D


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yes! Please be sure to explain the science behind it. If your parents collaborate with you, your project could be eligible for the special family prize.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i was thinking the exact opposite. science projects usually take a bit more time than hobby projects, and considering the size of the prizes as well - i would think 2 months is a bare minimum, ideally more like 3. since the contests are only advertised on this site, allow the first 2-4 weeks just for infrequent site visitors to find out about the contest.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Question: The project I'm formulating includes a few key science concepts, but they are almost overwhelmed by the projects historical value. There is science, but even more history. Does the Educational section of judging mean scientific education, or could all things go? Thanks!

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It's hard to answer your question, since I don't know much about your project, but here's a general response. This is a science fair. Explaining the historical background, or the evolution of the concept can often be an important part of explaining the principle involved. Just make sure to explain the principle as well as its history! Also, we're usually open-minded about what fits in our contests- just do a neat project and explain it well.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, sorry I was so vague, but I just wanted to make sure. My project idea involves recreating John Harrison's first marine chronometer, which introduced ballance bars in the place of a pendulum. Kintetic energy, geographical concepts and a hunk of astronomy all come into play, allong with a glimpse into the past. Thanks for your response!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm entering an Instructable, but am having difficulty taking pictures of quick, short "sparks" with my camera. Would it be okay if I were to use images found online? I made a forum topic, and even with people's help, I still can't get them on video or stills. Thanks, and this is a wonderful contest!

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    turn off all the lights, then set your camera to do a very long (like 10 seconds) exposure. then it will capture any sparks that occur during the entire 10 seconds. you may need to add a very dim room light. it will require experimentation to get this right.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Where the hell do you guys get the money? Money laundering in the family? lol.. -Punk


    11 years ago on Introduction

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    11 years ago on Introduction

    how come we can't have any contest's based around high voltage machines. we could have a whole background of the machine and clear easy instructions. these would be like "How to light your an entire house using a van de graf generator made from things from a dumpster" or "How to set up your own anti-burglar system using some trip wire and a 30,000 volt tesla coil" or even "How to send morse code using a climbing arc." any who the limits are endless and working with 7,000 volt transformers is fun.