Too often science fair projects are viewed by students as more stuff to read.
Kids love to explore and investigate.
Generally, most kids don’t enjoy reading assignments.
Kids and adults like me want to be involved–they want to make something–take something apart-find out what will happen if……..
Science Fair Project Benefit:
1. Organization: Students can improve or develop organizational skills.
While the joy of just having fun investigating can and should be part of any science project there has to be an organized plan.
Reasons for being organized (having a plan):
Safety: Kids cannot just start experimenting.
Safety: With a plan, kids can safely have fun, safely explore, and safely investigate.
Safety! Safety! Even observing nature has safety problems. Kids do not always know what shouldn’t be touched. Actually, my husband used leaves to camouflage himself during a Marine training. He was covered with poison ivy blisters from head to toe in a short period of time.
Less Stress: With a plan, teachers, kids, parents, etc….. can concentrate on individual goals set for a specific due date. Without a plan—??? This is when kids announce to parents that they have a project due tomorrow! Yikes!!!
2. Developing study and research skills
3. Developing a positive attitude toward science. This comes from being successful, which will happen when students understand exactly what to do. Creative thinking is not something that happens by giving students projects to complete. Instead, creative thoughts come when students understand what to do and they think of ways to make changes. You know when this happens when you hear a kid say, “Don’t tell me! I know how to do it.”
4. Learning how to discover answers for themselves. Again, students have to have some clues before they can make discoveries. Other wise they would be wildly investigating. The best science fair guides never give exact answers. Instead, they give clues. Some kids need more detailed clues than others. There is no one-size fits all instruction sheet for guiding kids because they are all so very different.
5. Improving their self-esteem by giving them an opportunity to display their work for a variety of audiences. It is ever so important that every student be encouraged to present their very best work. Some students will have fancier displays than others. Just emphasize to parents not to be tooooo involved. The best work that each student is capable of is what will be evaluated. Part of the information will be how much help was given by the parent or other adult.
6. Improving written and oral presentation skills. With all the technology available, kids can practice giving their presentations.
7. Cross-Curricular Learning: 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, making an inference, and drawing conclusions.
|Janice VanCleave’s Guide to More of the Best Science Fair Projects|