Science fair projects take a good chunk of time to complete. And since we find ourselves with a bit more at-home time than we are used to, now is the perfect opportunity to do a science fair project. Today, I am going to share three tips to help you do just that!
Hi, I’m Paige Hudson and welcome to season 6 of the Tips for Homeschool Science Show where we are breaking down one of the lofty ideals of teaching science into three building blocks you can use in your homeschool.
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I love to do a science fair project with my kiddos. And I love to see what other kids come up with for their science fair projects. It’s amazing to see their brains working out scientific problems.
We have chatted about the science fair project before, so you guys know that I feel it is important for every student to have done at least one science fair project at some point in their educational journey. It is one of the best ways to experience the scientific method from start to finish.
I usually have my kiddos do one in 5th or 6th grade and then if they are interested in science, I will have them do a few more before they graduate.
But there is a drawback. The science fair project takes a bit of time to complete, so doing one during a break is a great way to fit one in. And right now, we find ourselves with a bit more spare time than we would like, which means it a great opportunity to try out your first science fair project, or your second, or your third.
But I digress, let’s get onto the tips…
The science fair project can be a daunting proposition - come up with a question and use an experiment to find the answer to your question.
But the process should follow the logical progression of the scientific method. And when you break the project into manageable chunks, it is a lot less daunting.
My husband and I broke the process into 8 steps based on our experience. Each step along the way has its own tasks, so it becomes a matter of just putting one foot in front of the other.
I have shared details about the 8 steps that we developed to complete a science fair project in the past. But basically, you choose a topic, do some research, formulate a hypothesis, design an experiment, do that experiment, analyze the data, create a board, and give a presentation.
Back in 2017 I did a whole series in between episode 28 and 29 and I’ll put a link to that science fair project series in the show notes:
But if you don’t want to listen and take notes, we have a whole book, The Science Fair Project: A Step-by-step Guide, that will walk you through the process, complete with sheets for your students.
If you follow the eight steps for completing a science fair project, you will have a much easier time doing a project at home.
When you run across a topic in your regular science studies that your student wants to know more about, this is something that would make a good science fair project. Think of it as following a rabbit trail of interest that was uncovered as you went through your normal studies.
Following these types of interest trails make a for a smoother process. Your students will already have a bit of background knowledge since they are studying the topic, which will make it easier to develop their questions and do the research. (Psst...our middle school science programs already help you do just this!)
If you tie the science fair project into what you are currently studying, it will deepen the student’s interest and make it easier to complete a science fair project at home.
In these times of social distancing, a video presentation is one of the few options you have for sharing the student’s science fair project. But this tip was actually in my notes when we first came up with ideas for this season way back at the end of last year!
Not only is a video presentation a great way to have your students share their projects with family that is out of state, but it’s also a great practice. We live in an increasingly digital society and having the skills to present to an audience on the other side of a camera is an important skill to develop. Plus, you can sneak in a bit of film editing practice as well!
Here's a peek at one of our daughter's presentations:
If you have your students do a video presentation, it will help them to share their science fair project, even though they completed it at home.
So use a bit of all that spare time you find yourself with to do a science fair project. Follow the eight steps as you tie the project into what you are studying, and then wrap it all up with a video presentation. These three things will help you do a science fair project at home.
Thanks for listening and I hope you have a great week playing with science! If you have any questions or want to share some ideas or the links to your kid’s video presentations, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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