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Science Fair Ideas

5 Simple Steps To Get Started on the Science Fair with Your Child

 

By: Susan Wells of Steve Spangler Science (This post originally appeared on the VolunteerSpot Online Sign Up Blog in Feb. 2011)

When my daughter started kindergarten about four years ago, I didn’t have a clue about science fair. Nothing. Never participated in one and only knew it had something to do with volcano models. That year, we visited the science fair to see what it was all about. The next year, she signed up. I researched how to do a project (my job helped a little) and we stepped ourselves through the process. The next year, I was in charge of organizing and putting on the science fair. If I can do it, so can you.

science fair1. Ask a Question

The question doesn’t have to be something to make Newton scratch his chin. It can be anything. Some of my favorites are the simple questions:

  • Which gum has the longest lasting flavor?”
  • “How many folds in a paper airplane will make it fly the highest?”
  • “Where does the most bacteria live? On a door knob? Computer keyboard?”

2. Take A Guess

Write an “I think” statement. “What do you think will happen?” “Where will the largest quantities of bacteria live?” “Are three folds best on a paper airplane?”  This is your hypothesis.

3. Locate Your Materials

What will you need to find the answer to your question? Determining your variables will tell you what materials you will need. A variable is what changes from one experiment to another. Variables can be different brands and flavors of bubble gum, different paper thickness for folding paper airplanes or bacteria farm locations. You will draw conclusions from experimenting with different variables. If you don’t have at least one variable, you don’t have a true science experiment. 

4. Conduct Your Experiment

After you run your tests, draw conclusions.

  • What did you learn?
  • Did your experiment prove your hypothesis?
  • Did it work the way you thought it would?

5. Time To Get Creative

It’s time to log and display information on a science fair board. Most craft stores sell them or Google “science fair project board” to find one online.  Organize your project board by the steps you followed – Big Question, Hypothesis, Materials, Procedures, Data, Conclusion.

You are almost done. The final step before the fair is to practice and prepare to answer questions. Fair visitors will stop by your child’s board and ask questions about why they picked the topic, what they did and what they learned. Make sure they understand the topic and the project and are able to discuss it.

Science fair projects are a lot of work but come with a lot of reward. Don’t let your fears as a parent get in the way of one of the best learning opportunities for your child.

For more science fair project ideas, visit us at SteveSpanglerScience.com.

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Susan Wells
Susan Wells is a mom of two girls, ages 5 and 9. She organizes the Science Fair at her daughter’s elementary school and loves to bring science into their lives in and outside of the classroom. Susan does social media, blogging, blogger outreach and web marketing for Steve Spangler Science.