Science Fair Time
Science Fairs...love them or hate them, chances are you may be participating in a school science fair over the next few months.
The history of the Science Fair dates back to the 1950s when students first began displaying projects with scientific themes for judging. Today, Science Fairs are international events with thousands of kids participating from around the world.
I spoke with Kids' Science Lady, Gayle Olson about the importance of Science Fairs, and how you can make them a rewarding, fun experience.
What is the benefit of participating in a Science Fair?
You never know what spark of genius will be inspired by a science fair
project. Your investigation and study could lead to an interest and passion
about your project that can carry on for many years. Discovery is fun and
exciting, your science fair project will teach you more about science and
the scientific method, you'll be able to exercise and build upon your
research techniques, build self-confidence, learn how to follow step-by-step
directions, learn about cause and effect and how things work. If you are
making charts, drawing illustrations, constructing models, or taking
pictures for your project you will build upon these skills. Finally when
your project is completed, what could be better than the feeling and
satisfaction of completion!
How do you get started?
First you need to decide on a topic for your project. Each project answers
a question. Think about a question you where REALLY would like to know the
answer. It doesn't need to be complicated. Some of the best projects come
from simple beginnings. Pick a topic that really interests you and that you
will enjoy doing. One of the biggest mistakes is choosing something you
feel is boring or that you know nothing about. For example if you love
animals, perhaps you can start with your pet (make sure the fair allows
animals, some don't).
Once you have decided on a question topic it is time to plan your steps:
Should parents help?
Many science fair projects can take weeks or months so make sure to plan
your time well! Never leave anything until the last minute!
- Research your question
- Based on what you have learned from your research form a hypothesis.
- Test your hypothesis (don't worry if your hypothesis is wrong, many
great scientists have made fantastic discoveries leading from a wrong
- Record your results.
- Record your conclusions.
It's a terrific idea to involve your parents in your science fair project as
long as they remember this is YOUR project and not that of your parents. In
fact, if the judges think that your parent helped too much you could lose
points and it could affect your final grade! Some of the ways your parents
can be involved includes:
Where can I find help online?
- Give advice and suggestions for topics and brainstorm ideas, although
the final decision should always be your own.
- Offer emotional support, sometimes you could get frustrated and parents
come in very handy when you need it most!
- Help you plan your time and help you to set up a schedule.
- Point out the rules of the scientific method as your project develops.
- Supervise web searches, library research (and drive you to the library
or other places you need to go).
- Give advice about plagiarism and copyright issues.
- Help you to buy or collect the tools and equipment you need.
- Oversee safety issues.
There are many terrific sources online for science fair projects, some help
you come up with topics, others provide step-by-step resources to help you
plan your schedule, and others provide examples of completed projects
(remember you are not to COPY other completed projects, that would be
plagiarism) but, completed projects by others can help you come up with your
Check out this online video How to Prepare for a Science Fair created by Kevin Temmer.
More on Science Fairs | Science | School Stuff
Science icon graphics used and/or adapted from Bio-Rad/Sadtler