Notes from Janice’s Desk
Recently, a student asked if I would like to have the science fair project he had constructed while in my science class. I was shocked that he still had the project since he had been my student in 1974. While the project did not win outstanding awards given by the fair, it was a life changing experience for the student.Through the years, his parents have periodically told me how important the project had been.
You may be wondering what kind of project could be that important. It really wasn’t the topic selected or how well it had been constructed. The value of the project was due to the student being able to take full credit for every part of it. He had 100% ownership. He received encouragement from me but no particular help. His parents didn’t have a clue what a Tesla Coil was much less how to build one. The bottom line is that the student had researched and could explain every tiny part of the constructions. It didn’t always work well, but that didn’t matter because he could provide an explanation backed by scientific research. He was so proud of his own accomplishment. It was just the self-esteem boost he needed to pursue his dream of being a Texas Ranger. While it didn’t happen overnight, he stuck with it and now has his picture on the wall of the Texas Ranger Museum. YEA!! Must admit that I stand a bit taller when I visit the museum. Good job ranger Joey Gordon.
So, what are the benefits of doing a science fair project? I have given a list below, but I know that it was a life changing event for one young man.
Benefits of science fair projects other than learning science information include:
- Developing study and research skills
- Developing a positive attitude toward science.
- Learning how to discover answers for themselves.
- Improving their self-esteem by giving them an opportunity to display their work for a variety of audiences
- Acquiring a variety of skills in a cross-curricular format that gives sense and meaning to their learning such as:data collection, organization, and computation research and report writing including note taking and outlining, higher level thinking skills such as summarizing, inference, and drawing conclusions.
- Improve written and oral presentation skills
See SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS: PHYSICS for project ideas.