Science Fair - Inquiry Based Learning at it's best!
"The more students do, the more they learn. When we give students ownership over what they learn, that just makes it even better; it's something they chose to do, something they want to do! Hands on, minds on - I love it, I absolutely love it."
Academy of Science Monsanto Teacher of the Year
Gateway Elementary School Teacher
SCIENCE FAIR builds scientific inquiry skills and ties into 2017 testing.
Science fair helps students to meet the 2017 Show-Me Standards science expectations for each grade level.
Science fair helps to prepare students for the science portion of MAP testing, which they will take in grades 5, 8 and 11.
By participating in science fair, students of all grades can gain a better understanding of scientific inquiry. Scientific inquiry is Strand 7 of the Science Course Level Expectations, it is taught in every grade level and is included in MAP testing.
Strand 7- Scientific Inquiry:
Scientific understanding is develped through the use of science process skills, scientific knowledge, scientific investigation, reasoning, and critical thinking.
- Scientific inquiry includes the ability of students to formulate testable question and explanation, and to select appropriate investigative methods in order to obtain evidence relevant to the explanation.
- Through Science Fair, students will develop a hypothesis, and will choose the investigative methods they will need to test the hypothesis.
- Scientific inquiry relies upon gathering evidence from qualitiative and quantitative observations.
- Through Science Fair, students will use both qualitative and quantitative observations when developing their project.
- Scientific inquiry includes evaluation of explanations (laws/principles, theories/models) in light of evidence (data) and scientific principles (understandings).
- Through Science Fair, students will evaluate their findings using appropriate science laws/principles and theories/models.
- The nature of science relies upon communication of results and justification of explanations.
- Through Science Fair, students will use their display boards to communicate their results and can explain these results to peers, parents, teachers, and/or judges.
Science Fair Builds Skills for College and Career
Students show an increased interest in STEM, and develop skills to be successful in the 21st century:
- critical thinking
Science Fair enhances a college application and resume
Science Fair prepares students for poster presentations in college
Washington University School of Medicine - Poster Presentation
Posters are presented in colleges and universities around the world
Students show significant gains in their abilities to
- develop an idea
- meet deadlines
- manage a project
- plan and conduct an experiment
- analyze data
|Handling Multiple Projects in the Classroom|
Free tools and resources from Intel Education:
Great info and learning videos from edutopia:
Building opportunities for students
An edutopia video - take a look
|Are you new to multiple projects in the classroom, consider...|
GUIDED INQUIRY -
One way to handle multiple projects in the classroom is to start with the same inquiry-based project. Divide class into groups of 4 or 5. Teacher provides materials and problem to investigate. Students devise their own procedure to solve the problem.
Set the stage - teacher guidance - launch a "wow!"
Testable question - testable hypothesis
Students should know it's a process and expectations/guidelines/boundaries.
Active participation with collaboration (student to student, teacher to students, teacher to class).
Teacher - ask guided questions to each group. Remind students of time.
It will be noisy - and busy - and fun - and exciting .
Data: Teach students to record their data - they can come up with their own charts to share with the class. Let students think of what is the best way to organize their data - not necessarily "your" chart to share with the class.
Reflection: group shares with the class their ideas - was the outcome what they expected - do they have a new question now - learning from "mistakes;" there are no "mistakes" in science inquiry!
Connections: Make real-world connections - ask students guided questions.
Assessment: Assessing Inquiry Based Projects (using assessment to improve teaching and learning) - click here for tools.
NOTE: as students become comfortable working in groups, you may then migrate into individual or team projects and OPEN INQUIRY where students formulate their own problem to investigate.
Don't forget about early finishers...consider...
If you get a group that finishes early, what will you do?
- Discovery stations (set up stations with a challenge or activities with supplies to complete).
- Book station with additional books for silent reading; journal writing; write a book.
- You can give them a challenge question.
- Start working on their final poster.
- These students could help other kids.
From Karen Betz, Science Fair Chair
(great ideas - you can see why she is the chair!):
- Ask students to research their findings and conduct further investigations on others who have explored the same topic.
- They could do a "spotlight on the scientist" who may have become famous for his/her work in that specific field of science.
- Students can examine other variables of their project and conduct further testing on their ideas (outside of the actual science fair project).
|Science Fair - Tips from Veteran St. Louis Science Teachers!|
Tips from the Science Fair Chair, Karen Betz:
Another tip/idea for Guided Inquiry is to help teachers manage supplies by focusing on only 1 broad unit (such as plants) and provide students with a variety of different types of experimenting/testing that they can do based on the subject matter (i.e. experiment with different liquids, test different growing areas, test different types of plants or soils, etc.)
Another idea for middle and high school science fair projects is to have students do the bulk of the work outside of class and maybe only use 1 class period a week to discuss and analyse their data, ask the teacher for help or input, work on designing their project board (if they've already completed the experimenting/testing part, peer reviewing of science notebooks and data collection, etc."
|More Teachers Tips!|
|"More than a practice, best practice involves the
right attitude...accepting that students will
not be at the same stage of their project at the
same time. Teachers need to be content with
Modeling the process with a 'mini-experiment'
that the whole class can do helps students
understand what the expectations are for
their individual project."
Kathleen D., Grades 9-12
"Set up preliminary due dates for all parts of the
Joe D., Grades K-8
"We use Google Drive for our students in 6th
Jennifer M., Grades K-8
| "At the beginning of the school year, teachers are
given a science fair calendar to help manaage
their projects and get all the parts completed (as
a class for the lower grades and for older students'
individual projects) before the school science fair."
Betsy K., Grades K-5
"Start a log right away and write a little each
"I think it helps to have a teacher provide
"I made sure to teach the scientific method
"Individual Students - Provide as much information
Christine N., Grades K-5
"I try to include the components in most
Ann L., Grades K-5
"Give each student/family a packet of information
Marianne H., Grades K-5
"A big help in doing this project is the fact that
Laurie R., Grades K-5
"I incorporate inquiry and project-based
Teachers: science fair questions, comments or just need help,