Science Fairs are a great idea! They force young student to really buckle down and stretch their brain past what they thought was capable. It is also a place where creativity can meet science in an otherwise stuffy atmosphere. But, at a science fair, you also run the risk of running into the dreaded over the shoulder parent.
Let us take a look at the science experiments we have for the fifth grade class. Mr. Jenkins has a mobile of the planets. Mrs. Stevens has a volcano. What's this, Mr. Riley has a display that demonstrates what happens in a nuclear reactor. Hmm, who had the most help?
My experience during the science fair was great. I thought I had a really original exhibit. I demonstrated how the shape of a container dictated how fast hot water would cool
when it was placed in it. Not the "sexiest" display in the cafeteria, but I found it interesting. Needless to say, the students discussing cellphones and the internet won. But I still like to think I held my own in my own low-tech way. Barry's Response
- This brings up the question of what judging criteria are used in the competitions. Do they prefer popular/sexy ones, hi-tech ones or ones where the student demonstrates a good deal of effort (especially in the research, principle formulation
or data acquisition areas), regardless of whether (s)he obtained help from parents, teachers or otherwise? It should be about the spirit of learning.
My $0.02. Thanks for your concerns.Search
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