Categories: Family

How to Help with 5th-grade Science Fair Projects: STEAM Fair Tips for Parents

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the significance of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education cannot be overstated. STEAM subjects form the cornerstone of innovation, driving progress across industries and shaping the future of our society. As parents, nurturing your child’s interest and proficiency in these areas is paramount. In this post, I’m going to share STEAM fair tips for parents so you can help your child be successful with their 5th-grade science fair projects.

Rocco had his 5th grade STEAM fair recently, and he placed in the top five for his grade, so he is going onto a regional competition later this month. I’m so proud of him not only for his creativity but tenacity. He worked really hard on his project and had so much fun too. 

Something you probably don’t know about me is that for more than a decade, I created STEM educational programs with K-12 schools, and informal educational environments like museums afterschool programs.  Thus, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to teach kids about STEM and also how to engage them in the process of acting like a scientist or engineer. A STEAM fair provides an exceptional platform for children to not only showcase their knowledge but also cultivate crucial skills like critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Let’s delve deeper into why STEAM education matters and how you can best support your child in preparing for a STEAM fair.

Understanding the Importance of STEAM

STEAM education offers a multidisciplinary approach to learning, integrating concepts from science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Here’s why each component is crucial:

  1. Science: Science fosters curiosity and inquiry, encouraging children to explore the natural world, conduct experiments, and make discoveries. It promotes a deep understanding of scientific principles and processes, laying the groundwork for future scientific inquiry and innovation.
  2. Technology: In today’s digital age, technological literacy is essential for success. Technology empowers children to harness the power of computers, software, and digital tools to solve problems, create new products, and communicate ideas effectively.
  3. Engineering: Engineering encourages a systematic approach to problem-solving, emphasizing design, construction, and optimization. Through engineering projects, children learn to think critically, analyze constraints, and engineer solutions to real-world challenges.
  4. Arts: The arts play a crucial role in STEAM education, fostering creativity, expression, and aesthetic appreciation. Artistic endeavors encourage children to think outside the box, experiment with different mediums, and communicate ideas visually.
  5. Mathematics: Mathematics serves as the language of STEAM, providing the foundational principles for understanding patterns, relationships, and quantitative analysis. Mathematical proficiency is essential for success in fields ranging from engineering to computer science.

STEAM Fair Tips for Parents

Now, let’s explore in detail how you can support your child in preparing for a STEAM fair:

  1. Encourage Curiosity: Encouraging curiosity is the first step in nurturing your child’s interest in STEAM subjects. Foster a culture of inquiry by engaging in open-ended conversations, asking thought-provoking questions, and encouraging exploration and experimentation.
  2. Identify Their Interests: Take the time to discover your child’s interests within the realm of STEAM. Observe their natural inclinations, listen to their ideas, and expose them to a variety of STEAM-related activities and experiences.
  3. Research Together: Engage in collaborative research with your child to explore potential STEAM fair projects. Utilize online resources, books, educational videos, and community programs to discover inspiring project ideas and deepen your understanding of relevant concepts.
  4. Set Realistic Goals: Help your child set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for their STEAM fair project. Break down the project into manageable tasks, create a timeline with milestones, and provide ongoing support and encouragement.
  5. Provide Resources and Support: Ensure that your child has access to the necessary resources, materials, and tools for their STEAM fair project. Set up a designated workspace where they can experiment, create, and innovate with minimal distractions.
  6. Foster Collaboration: Encourage your child to collaborate with peers, mentors, educators, and experts in relevant STEAM fields. Collaboration fosters teamwork, communication, and the exchange of ideas, enhancing the quality and impact of their STEAM fair project.
  7. Practice Presentation Skills: Effective communication is a critical skill for success in STEAM and beyond. Encourage your child to practice presenting their project confidently, clearly, and persuasively. Provide constructive feedback, role-play scenarios, and offer tips for engaging with their audience.

Additional Resources for 5th-Grade Science Fair Projects

  • Online Platforms: Websites like Khan Academy, Code.org, and NASA’s STEM Engagement offer a wealth of educational resources, tutorials, and interactive activities covering a wide range of STEAM topics.
  • Libraries and Museums: Local libraries and museums often host STEAM workshops, exhibitions, and educational programs tailored to children of all ages. Take advantage of these opportunities to engage in hands-on learning experiences.
  • Educational Kits and Toys: Consider investing in educational kits, robotics sets, coding toys, and science experiment kits to provide your child with engaging STEAM learning opportunities at home.


Your supplies will vary based on the type of project you do. However, nearly all 5th-grade science fair projects will require a science fair project board. You can find tri-fold boards here.

Science Fair Project Examples

If you’re looking for a science fair project idea, here are some easy science fair projects for 5th grade:

Science fair projects for 5th graders can be fun, educational, and engaging, covering a wide range of topics from physics and chemistry to biology and environmental science. Here are some examples of projects that are suitable for 5th-grade students, offering a mix of experimentation, research, and creative thinking:

1. Plant Growth with Different Liquids

Objective: Investigate how different liquids (water, milk, orange juice, etc.) affect plant growth.
Materials Needed: Seeds (e.g., beans), soil, pots, various liquids, measuring cup, labels.
Procedure: Plant seeds in identical conditions except for the liquid used for watering. Measure and record growth over a few weeks.
Expected Learning: Understanding how different substances contain nutrients or chemicals that can positively or negatively affect plant growth.

2. The Egg Drop Challenge

Objective: Design a container that will protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a certain height.
Materials Needed: Eggs, various materials for creating the container (straws, cotton, bubble wrap, etc.), measuring tape.
Procedure: Students design and build their egg containers, then drop them from a predetermined height to see if the egg survives.
Expected Learning: Principles of physics, such as gravity, force, and impact resistance, are explored through hands-on experimentation.

3. Magnet Maze

Objective: Create a maze and use a magnet to guide a metal object through it.
Materials Needed: Cardboard, magnetic tape, small metal ball or object, magnets.
Procedure: Design a maze on cardboard, place the magnetic tape underneath the pathways, and use a magnet to move the metal object through the maze.
Expected Learning: Understanding of magnetic forces and magnetic fields.

4. Water Filtration Experiment

Objective: Build a simple water filtration system.
Materials Needed: Plastic bottles, sand, gravel, activated charcoal, cotton balls, dirty water.
Procedure: Cut the bottle in half, layer the materials inside, and pour dirty water through to observe filtration.
Expected Learning: Basics of water purification and the importance of clean water for health and the environment.

5. Static Electricity Butterfly

Objective: Demonstrate static electricity using simple materials.
Materials Needed: Tissue paper, scissors, plastic comb, wool fabric.
Procedure: Cut a butterfly shape from tissue paper, charge the comb by running it through the wool fabric, then use the comb to make the butterfly wings move.
Expected Learning: Understanding of static electricity and how it can cause objects to attract or repel.

6. Crystal Growth

Objective: Grow crystals using borax or salt.
Materials Needed: Borax or salt, hot water, string, pencil, jar.
Procedure: Dissolve borax or salt in hot water, suspend a string in the solution, and wait for crystals to form.
Expected Learning: Saturation, solubility, and the formation of crystals.
These projects encourage inquiry, experimentation, and creativity, helping 5th graders develop a love for science. Always remember safety first, and have an adult supervise projects, especially those involving chemicals, heat, or sharp objects.

Final Thoughts

STEAM education empowers children to become creative thinkers and problem solvers. It helps them become innovators prepared to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. By supporting your child’s interest in STEAM subjects and providing opportunities for exploration, experimentation, and collaboration, you can help them unlock their full potential and thrive in a world driven by science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Together, let’s inspire the next generation of STEAM leaders and changemakers through the transformative power of education and exploration. I hope you found these 5th-grade science fair projects tips for parents useful. If other ideas have worked well for you, please leave a comment below. If you’re looking for other parenting and educational content, click here.

Stacey Freeman: I am a Style Maven, Mommy, Educator, and Traveler.