School Level Science Projects- Ideas for Organizing Science Fairs
Schools are always trying to figure out how best to organize a science fair so the kids are doing appropriate projects for their age and ability levels. For this reason, many schools do not even bother anymore with large all school science fairs and only do classroom projects or a mini- classroom science fair based on the unit they are working on. With the push in education for more emphasis on science education, the science fair is still an important tool.
Here is how one K-5 school in Connecticut does it:
- Younger grades K-2 are assigned group projects that are completed mainly in school.
- The older kids 3-5 are given a list of topics to choose from, and then they do the entire project at home with guidelines to follow and deadlines that need to be met . These guidelines will follow the accepted scientific procedures for running an investigatory experiment.
School Level Science Projects that are Success Based
This is a good success based way to build the skills needed for middle and high school when the projects are more independent and they are either open ended, or a general subject is given. The process however will be familiar, using the steps to the scientific method as the basis for the experiment. Most teachers with their school science projects will continue to give deadlines when different pieces of the project need to be completed, or approval of the topic and the hypothesis.
Something my school did one year…
At my school one year, I saw a great way for the kids to combine a group theme with individual projects for the 8th graders, who as any one who teaches these kids knows, sometimes need a gentle push. Anyway they took a CSI them and brought in an old car someone had and each person did a separate test. Some analyzed fingerprints, others the type of metal, others analyzed the mold on junk food in the back seat and all the things you see them do on the TV series. At the science fair the combined displays would reveal clues for “Who dunnit” and participants put their guesses in for some prize. The younger classes enjoyed making the guesses and heated arguments were heard as to who they thought did the crime. I don’t remember what the crime was, I think it was probably something stolen from the back seat as they would never allow violence into the science fair!
The main thing is that the projects the kids do are age appropriate and clear procedures and deadlines are used to avoid the last minute panic. There will still be many stress filled nights getting the display board ready and reports written, but that is part of the learning process!
Here are some great ideas to use in a science fair, that are quick and simple for the kids to do on their own and follow all the steps to an experiment that the teachers like to see, and can be done in One Day or One Weekend!
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