Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Creating Excitement for the Science Fair

Schools all have their own way of advertising activities.  My son's school sends out a weekly bulletin through email.  It lets the parents that read it know what is going on, but most really just do a quick scan.  I am guilty of it too.  If you want to create excitement and increase participation you need to advertise to the kids.  A classroom talk is the way to do it. 

The keys to a good classroom talk.

1.  Perform a demonstration to get the students attention.

The demonstration should be something that the kids will remember.  You want the kids to go home and tell their parents about it.  Balloon in a bottle is a great demonstration. 

2.  Have the teacher participate in the demonstration.

Students love to see their teacher being the volunteer.  This also creates excitement for the teacher.  One year I shook a can of soda.  I showed the teacher how to open the can without it exploding.  If the teacher could open the can he/she got to keep the soda.  The students loved it and the teacher enjoyed the soda.

3.  Show how the demonstration can be turned into a science fair project.

I always tell the students that in a science fair investigation they need to change one thing and measure one thing.  I ask them what can we change in the demonstration we just did?  What can we measure to see the effects of the change? 
For the balloon in a bottle demonstration students can change:
bottle size, balloon size, the size of the hole
What can we measure?
The size of the balloon in the bottle, rank how hard it is to blow it up, the time it takes to blow it up. 

4.  Explain what a fair is and the fun activities at the fair.

Make sure to tell them what the night of the fair will be like.  Create excitement by offering activities at your fair along with looking at all of the projects.  Make sure to give the teacher flyers with the information about the fair. 
Enrollment at our fair went from 15 students to over 40 in one year after starting a science fair classroom talk.  I wouldn't do it any other way.  After the talk parents come up to me telling me their child came home wanting to do the fair.  They even stop me in the grocery store.  Success!  It is easy to convince students to do the fair, but if it is only in the school newsletter many students may never learn about the fair. 

Create excitement with the kids and it will be hard for the parents to tell them no.

Want to create original investigations.  These are great for science fairs, but also classroom use.

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