Friday, November 27, 2015

Science Fair Expectations and Resources

Science fair season is here.  Ideas and tips are always great.  Below you will find realistic expectations for K-5th grade science fair projects.  Don't forget to check out the great ideas at the end.    I hope you find great ideas to help parents and students have a great time exploring.

Realistic Science Fair Expectations


Completing a science fair project as a kid can be a wonderful experience.  It also is known for being overwhelming to parents.  It doesn't have to be if we make sensible expectations.  We need to look at where the student is at.  A kindergarten science fair project is very different from a fifth grade project.  The science fair should be an experience for students to learn how to create a project.  As the child progresses through the grade levels the expectations should slowly increase.  Below is a list of expectations for the different grade levels.  Students should have the same expectations for two years and then progress up.  That will give the students one year to become more familiar with them and the second year to be more independent.


Kindergarten and 1st Grade Expectations





Kindergarten and first graders will be ready to jump right in.  Parents may be thinking can “I” handle this.  Kindergarten and first graders will need adult guidance to complete their experiment. It should be done together.   The goal is to make the investigation age appropriate, so the child will have a positive scientific experience.  


1. At the kindergarten and first grade level the project will be done with a parent/adult helper.
2. The project should be driven by the child.  You are the assistant.
3. Provide guidance, but make sure they can take ownership in their project.
4. Work to develop a project schedule.  We don’t want them overloaded.  Don’t cram it in two nights before the fair.
5. Make sure to follow all safety precautions when doing experiments.  Keep it age appropriate.
6. Let them be the problem solver.  They will surprise you with their skills.
7. Keep it simple.  Projects should have only 2 levels.  Examples:  with/without experiments, hot/cold, heavy/light, more/less. 
8. Take lots of photographs.

2nd and 3rd Grade Expectations




Children love hands-on science.  Second and third graders will be eager to jump right in.   Second and third graders will be the leaders and the adult will provide guidance and clarification when needed.   Students at this level will perform investigations with 3 levels and 2 or more trials.  The goal is to enable kids to become more independent in creating age appropriate original investigations. 

1. At the second and third grade level the project should be driven by the child.  You are the  assistant.
2. Provide some guidance, but make sure they can take ownership of their project.  Use your best judgment in deciding when to get involved. 
3. Work to develop a project schedule.  We don’t want them overloaded.  Don’t cram it in two nights before the due date.
4. Make sure to follow all safety precautions when doing experiments.  Keep it age appropriate.
5. Let them be the problem solver.  They will surprise you with their skills.
6. Keep it simple, clear, and concise. Students at this level will do 3 levels.  Examples:  cold/room temperature/hot water, small/medium/large, 3 different measurements, etc.
7. Take lots of photographs.

4th and 5th Grade Expectations



Fourth and fifth graders will think they are experts.  The projects do not need to be expensive or lengthy to create a memorable experience.   Fourth and fifth graders will be expected to do more background research.  They are ready to perform experiments with 3 or more levels and  performing 3 or more trials.   The goal is for the student to independently create an investigation and use the scientific method. 
 
1. At the fourth and fifth grade level the project should be completed by the child.
2. Provide some guidance, but make sure they can take ownership of their project.  Use your best judgment in deciding when to get involved. 
3. Start by developing a project schedule.     Come up with deadlines and routinely check on their progress.  Make sure they don’t cram it in two nights before the due date.
4. Make sure to follow all safety precautions when doing experiments.  Keep it age appropriate.
5. Let them be the problem solver.  They will surprise you with their skills.
6. Take lots of photographs.

Ideas and Help

Are you looking for help?  Does your child have an original idea and you are not sure where to start?  Creating Original Science Investigations is a great guide.  It will take the student step by step through the process.  Conducting a science fair project is a learning experience.  These workbooks will help teach students how to create age appropriate projects and have a memorable experience.  Parents love the guide.  Parents credit the workbook in helping make the experience positive.  The workbooks come in 3 age levels.  Each builds on the other.  Workbooks include practice pages,  how to come up with your idea, blank investigation journal, board layout, and judging forms.  This is a great addition to a science fair.  It is also a wonderful classroom tool in helping students create their own STEM investigations.  This method is also wonderful for writing lesson plans.  Click each picture to learn more.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Create-Science-Investigations-for-K-and-1st-Grade-Classrooms-and-Science-Fairs-1200400https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creating-Science-Investigations-for-2nd-and-3rd-Grade-Science-Fairs-and-Class-1208432


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creating-Original-Investigations-for-4th-and-5th-Grade-Science-Fairs-and-More-1211251