Monday, May 12, 2014

What now? A science fair? I don't have time for that!

Dear extremely busy parents who are concerned with the turn around time on this final project for sixth grade: I DO realize how quickly the date of  the science fair is approaching, and that your sixth grader just now received his/her information packet. I did not want the science fair to distract from camp. I doubt how well any of us could have been juggling a science fair project and getting the kids ready for camp anyways. Maybe I'm only speaking for myself! :) 

May 22nd is the evening exhibition for the 6th-8th grade students. Normally there are three weeks between camp and the science fair. So, NO, there is not much time to do an elaborate project or fancy display board. 

The good news is, they are not being graded on a fancy display board. The display is only necessary if the student wants their investigation featured at the exhibition on May 22 from 6-8PM in the commons. It is purely optional and will only be extra credit. 

In class we discussed choosing a project that can be completed in one evening. Granted, there may be some supplies to shop for which will take extra time. It may take some scheduling to allow kids to partner up for their project. (Groups of two only). But once the investigation is finished, everything else can be completed in class. They will need to bring their data and step-by-step procedure to class on May 27th. In class, we will write a report that describes what they investigated and what was discovered.  The students will also have time to write and practice a presentation in class. They will sign up for a date to present that last week of May. On the day of their presentation, they will need their materials or some pictures in order to explain and hopefully demonstrate what was investigated. It is okay to make a poster or Power Point, but the most important visual aid is the demonstration of what was tried at home. 

The guidelines for choosing a project:
  • It must be safe and non-messy in a classroom setting. Yes, the classroom has carpet. 
  • There must be an element of inquiry, not just a model of a volcano for example. A variable must be manipulated and compared. 
  • Data must be collected. That means, something has to be quantified and measured. Kids will be making a graph of their data in class. 

There are many cool websites with sample science fair projects. But, I don't want the students just to find something to copy. The idea is that they are thinking for themselves, solving problems, and asking questions. 

Please email me to discuss specific ideas. 

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