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potter403 potter403 is offline
 
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Science fair
Old 12-10-2015, 03:14 AM
 
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Along with 2 other teachers I am in charge of our school wide science fair. Last year was my first time doing this and or turn out for projects was low. Judy wondering if you had any ideas to motivate kids to enter. I can't all much help from classroom teachers. Line everyone else we are overwhelmed with new initiatives etc. Any help I'd appreciated. The fair isthe end of February


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Old 12-10-2015, 04:31 AM
 
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How about including a contest feature such as building the bridge that can hold the most weight or making a boat that can hold the most pennies before it sinks? Some such contests require a lot of preparation, but there are many options that students can enter and participate "on the spot". Hand out the permitted materials for the tallest tower or best boat to each child or team that enters, set a time limit for building, and then judge. The suspense of judging bridges or boats is a lot of fun for participants and spectators alike.

You can do this in addition to the science projects or instead.

Maybe you can find some parents to offer coaching sessions for the science fair projects, if students can't work on them in class. Kids need a lot of help and direction to produce a good science fair project, and not every kid has the resources to do this independently. If there isn't classroom support, I don't think you can expect much participation...and it is a real time/energy/resources suck to give classroom support for projects like that.

"Genius hour" might be one place teachers could find to offer support, if that is something teachers do...
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science fair
Old 12-10-2015, 04:51 AM
 
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Science fair projects are required for grades 3-5 at my school. Grades K-2 do a class project. Our teachers place a lot of emphasis on the scientific process, so it is just natural to assess that knowledge through a project. Science Fair is a big deal in my district. Students work hard to place at the school level so that their projects can go to district, and beyond. I believe it is a mindset that you must develop in your school.
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Old 12-10-2015, 05:29 AM
 
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Absolutely agree with readerleader that to have a successful science fair students must be overtly taught the scientific process and there must be classroom support for the student work. Otherwise, kids who have parents to "help" them will do great projects, but most students won't participate.

What is the purpose of the science fair at your school? To showcase student learning? To assess what students have learned in class? Or is it just a "nice thing to do" or a "fun opportunity"?

If teachers don't directly teach scientific inquiry, I doubt you'll get great projects.

That's why I suggested a simple engineering contest to get started. It's fun and simple, and might be the start of a climate change at your school...Next year you could do more, and as teachers get on board, you can move to something more like a real science fair.

Something we did years ago when we were trying to have exhibitions was to have students give presentations. We had 3 presentations going on concurrently in separate classrooms, and then another 3 (about 12 all together, plus a bridge competition). That's a way to showcase some excellent student work without necessarily having a big poster/display session, if only a few kids are partipating.
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Old 12-10-2015, 06:21 PM
 
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Thank you for your input. The fair really is just a way to encourage kids interest. It was mandatory for a long time but with the changing population, most of our kids really can't afford the supplies needed. We will provide supplies for any child that asks. We do teach the scientific process but not enough. It is December and I have done exactly one activity. We are a low performing title 1 school. We are now required to focus on reading and math.


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