Flipped Science Fair

What is the Flipped Science Fair? 

The Flipped Science Fair (FSF) flips the traditional science fair format on its head: middle school student judges evaluate graduate students and postdocs presenting their current research.
In-Person Setting: Flipped Science Fair
We’re back in-person this year! Middle school students learn about cutting-edge research from real Yale scientists in a small-group setting, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and participate in hands-on demonstrations. The presenters learn to tailor their research pitch to a general audience, with emphasis on keeping things exciting, understandable, and relevant. Our partnership with Pathways to Science, Yale’s coordinated STEM outreach infrastructure, enables long term tracking of student outcomes to measure the FSF’s effectiveness. Flipped Science Fair was inspired by the Kid’s Judge Neuroscience Fair at UPenn.
Virtual Setting: Flipped Science Fair Versus
We’ve adapted Flipped Science Fair to an online platform and added an exciting twist: head-to-head science-talk battles! In this new “Main Event” format, complete with the exchange of good-hearted taunts, riffs and raffs, two Yale scientists present compelling talks to an online middle school audience, who serve as our Judges. Talks are judged based on student understanding and learning, and, after a grilling audience question session, a “Main Event Champion” is crowned. Thus far, our new Flipped Science Fair V.S. format averages an attendance of ~150-200 students per event, and has become an exciting opportunity for Yale scientists and middle schoolers to learn and grow in a fun and engaging environment.
Check out videos of the past events on our YouTube channel !

Why “flipped”? 

The Flipped Science Fair is unique in that it flips the traditional power structure of a science outreach event by giving middle schoolers the role of “judges.”  Students have many opportunities to participate in didactic learning and attempt scientific projects of their own, but rarely, if ever, can they engage with scientists as peers.  Even more, scientists do not often have access or training to present their work to a general audience. The Flipped Science Fair gives everyone involved a chance to interact in a new and constructive setting that trains them with valuable skills for their future.

How do I get involved?

If you’re a middle school student or parent, you’ll be able to sign up for the Flipped Science Fair via Pathways to Science! If you’re a Yale scientist, reach out by email to get info. To watch some of our past events, visit our YouTube. You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

Who supports the Flipped Science Fair? 

The Flipped Science Fair has been supported by training grants and programs across Yale University, and by community partners. In 2021, Flipped Science Fair won a Research!America grant to recruit new presenters and support their development.

How can I bring Flipped Science Fair to my institution?

We’re happy to share our experience! Just email us to connect!