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Science Fairs:Large and Small By Lesley Hurley (firstname.lastname@example.org) Cathy Stanley (email@example.com)
Getting Started… • Present your ideas to the principal. It will be much easier to get everyone else on board if the leadership is behind it. • Gain the support of other teachers. • Determine the details and build up student interest before you get started.
If you are not getting much support, who can you turn to?? • Other teachers • Parents • PTA • Area businesses When a former administration was not supportive, the parent organization really stepped up and provided everything I needed!
Start with a science club… … because you don’t want to do all of the planning! • Get the parents involved • Explore cross-curricular projects to involve more teachers • Set the expectation that the students will be in charge
Let the students decide… • Where to have the science fair (gym, library, etc) • Establish committees to set up, break down, invite judges • Invite parents to a science night at the school • Come up with any posters
If your science fair is small… …don’t be discouraged! As long as the kids are interested and getting something out of it, it’s worth! I still have kids talking about the first science fair we did several years ago. They are still excited about what the learned!
If your science fair grows larger than you thought…. • Don’t get discouraged • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I have had many teachers from other subjects get excited about helping out! • Don’t get overwhelmed! Take your time, and it will work out. And remember, even if it is not perfect – the kids will have a good time. They’ll never know!
…in terms of projects, let them decide • Who they will work with • Let them have a lot of leeway with what the project is (…as long as there are no lava lamps or volcanoes) • If they will work in teams or alone • Subject matter • Artistic design
As the sponsors, it is your job to… • Attend all club and committee meetings • Champion innovative ideas (even if they don’t work!) • Approve and check timelines for projects • Check written communication and posters • Secure buildings and dates • Perform a control loop
The judges.. • Ask local science professors, scientists, or teachers from other schools • Employees of your school should not be judging • Judges should first go by while the students are not present, followed by a Q&A time period with the students standing by their projects • We developed a scoring rubric for the judges
Prepare the kids to be judged… • The students need to be fluent in the procedures and outcomes of their project • They need to be ready to answer questions • Be sure they are using correct terminology and thorough • They need to be prepared to answer questions like ‘what have you learned from this’ and ‘what would you do differently’
Now the fun part, the projects! • Encourage creativity and diversity!!! • Embrace difficult projects if the students are interested • We made a point to involve interested parents – which made for some neat projects • We do not allow overly simple projects. As I said earlier, no lava lamps or volcanoes.
This project on makeup turned out to be very creative – and informative on what types of foundations are most oily!
Websites for projects… • www.sciencebuddies.org • www.all-science-fair-projects.com/ • www.sciencebob.com/sciencefair/ideas.php • http://www.sciencefair-projects.org/ Be creative – and always willing to help a kid find out what interests them!
Paperwork for projects Make sure all of the regional rules are followed! • Project submissions must be approved before work begins • Group size (no more than 3) • Approved projects only • We did not allow projects with humans, animals, or biological agents without significant parental support.
Regional Forms • Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1) • Student Checklist (1A) • Research Plan • Approval Form (1B) These forms are due for the East Texas Regional Science Fair in Kilgore by February 28, 2012
The Reward… … so far, every year, I have taken my kids to NASA as a reward for their hard work!
We even found time for a quick review on roller coaster physics at Kemah
Thanks so much! Please do not hesitate to call with any questions or comments on today’s presentation. We are more than happy to help out – and are always looking for ways to make our science fairs better! Lesley Hurley firstname.lastname@example.org Cathy Stanley email@example.com