- Education and Science
Easy Step-by-Step Teacher's Guide to Science Fair Projects
Teacher's Guide to Science Fair Projects
Science fair projects are an important component of a quality science program. However, knowing how to introduce science fair projects so that your students are excited instead of scared off is not easy. The following steps will help you to make science fair projects fun for your students.
Set Goals and Deadlines
This teacher’s guide to science fair projects suggests that the first thing that you need to do as an educator is to set your goals for the science fair project module. These goals can relate to how many students participate in the school’s science fair, how many students take their projects to the local science fair or they can relate to the acquisition of specific skills by your students. The goals need to be numbered and supported with objectives, which will help you to attain your goals.
Here is an example on how you can write goals to achieve an outcome.
Next you need to create a schedule for the science fair project module. This schedule needs to highlight when specific parts of the project needs to be turned in, when applications to science fairs need to be submitted and when final projects need to be presented. It is a good idea to create one schedule with your deadlines and one schedule with your students’ deadlines.
Fun Introductory Activity
Students are naturally going to be apprehensive about signing up to complete a science fair project. However, if you make the experience sound fun or rewarding then they are more likely to feel less anxious about completing a project. A good way to reduce anxiety and to get your students excited about science fair projects is to engage them in a fun learning activity.
One fun activity that you can have your students complete is a group experiment. Growing crystals, making slime or building a wind turbine can all be great activities that introduce the scientific method to students. You can even make these activities a competition to increase the excitement.
Breaking Things Down
After you have introduced your students to the scientific method and to experiment design, your next task is to walk your students through the process of creating a science fair project. Since science fair projects are very complicated you need to break down the project into easy to manage steps. For each step you will develop a lesson plan and set aside classroom time for the students to complete them.
Common break-downs of science fair projects would be:
1. Topic selection
2. Background Research
3. Hypothesis Development
4. Experiment Development
5. Experimentation and Data Collection
6. Data analysis
7. Writing a report
8. Designing a visual display/project board
9. Presenting the project to the class
Like any other module that you develop, the science fair project module is going to include homework assignments. These assignments will be directly related to the completion of the science fair project. Try not to add unnecessary assignments to the module, but rather have students work on project tasks that relate to preparing for a project step at home, such as coming up with a topic, conducting online research or outlining the characteristics of a good science fair research paper.
To get the most out of this module you will need to determine how to assess the value of a science fair project. The assessment model, or rubrics form, needs to be developed prior to the start of the science fair project module. This form will be given to your students, used by you to grade the student’s project and it will be used as a supportive tool when you talk with your students’ parents at parent teacher conferences.