How to Set Up a Science Fair Tri-Fold Presentation

Tri-fold boards are the most common display method for science fair projects.

The science fair project is a rite of passage for North American students. Usually held in a classroom or gymnasium, the science fair features students' projects and experiments and are usually judged by a panel of teachers or experts. The most common presentation method is the tri-fold display board made of a modified cardboard box. There are many slight variations to the layout of a science fair board, so be sure to confirm your teacher's preferred layout before creating the tri-fold board.

  • Cardboard box, approximately 36 inches tall
  • White paper
  • Colored construction paper
  • Printer
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint (optional)

1 Displaying the Tri-Fold Science Fair Project

2 Create the title

Create the title of the project with either a printer or construction paper cut into large letters. Glue the title at the top of the center panel. It should stand out enough on the board to be read from several feet away.

3 Glue images horizontally

Glue images horizontally below the title on the center panel. These images can be of materials used, the experiment or process or of the final outcome.

4 Glue the Data and Results sections and

Glue the Data and Results sections at the middle and bottom of the center panel. This can be done as two separate sections side by side, or as one large section. The Data section lists the raw data that came of the experiment or research. The Results section interprets that data and further explains the findings.

5 Attach the Introduction Problem section to your experiment or project

Attach the Introduction/Problem section to your experiment or project at the top of the left panel. Include information about the problem to be solved or question to be answered.

6 Add the Hypothesis section

Add the Hypothesis section on the left panel below the Introduction/Problem. This is where you make an educated guess regarding the outcome or findings of the science fair project.

7 Glue the Materials

Glue the Materials List to the bottom section of the left panel. Include any items that were used in the research or experimentation process.

8 Goes

The Procedure section goes at the top of the right panel. This outlines the steps that were taken to achieve the final outcome of the project or experiment.

9 Attach the Conclusion section

Attach the Conclusion section in the lower middle area of the right panel. In this section, outline whether the hypothesis was right or wrong, and what the true outcome of the experiment was.

10 Add the final section

Add the final section at the bottom of the right panel -- the Recommendations/Application/Discussion section, depending on your teacher's preference. This section outlines how the conclusion applies to future research, your recommendations for further study and new questions that came about as a result of the project.

11 Creating the Tri-Fold Board

12 Measure the cardboard box

Measure the cardboard box so that one whole panel will be the middle section of the board, with approximately two-thirds of the adjoining panels as the side sections. The standard size for a tri-fold science fair board is 36 inches tall by 48 inches wide, but check to confirm your teacher's size requirements in case they are different.

13 Cut the excess panels

Cut the excess panels off of the box and test your board to make sure it can stand on its own. The side panels should fold in on a 90-to-130-degree angle to support the structure.

14 Paint the cardboard that will be facing the viewer

Paint the cardboard that will be facing the viewer, or glue construction paper evenly over the surface. Allow the paint or glue to dry overnight before adding anything more to the science fair board.

  • Check with your teacher or science fair official to confirm that their individual standards for display size, layout and content match your understanding of the project.
  • Print your project information sections on white printer paper, then use construction paper in a color that contrasts with the board color as a backing layer. Measure and cut the construction paper so that there is half an inch extra all the way around to frame each section.
  • Depending on the subject matter, a model or demonstration might be helpful to the presentation.
  • If you are involved in many science fairs and need a sturdier model, try creating a wooden board using sheets of plywood with hinges to attach the side panels.

Based in Toronto, Jessie Davis has been writing professionally since 2001. Her articles have been published in "Water Canada," "The 'Shwa City Evolver," "The Centennial College Courier" and "MONDO Magazine." Davis studied journalism at Centennial College in Toronto, as well as political studies at Trent University.