In addition to the larger science fairs, regional and school science fairs have become a tradition in many communities.
But for many students — and their parents — science fairs can be overwhelming.
When students are familiar with the scientific process and experiments that continue over time, when students have experience with research online and through books, when students are allowed to choose a subject they are excited to learn more about, they can become very invested in what they are learning.
Then, their work experimenting, researching, gathering data, and presenting findings can become a positive learning experience they will never forget.
Anthony of Padua School’s seventh and eighth graders participate in the Middle School Science Fair every year.
This is a required activity for which the students receive a grade.
Thinking of an idea, gathering materials, allowing enough time to do a long-term experiment, finding a clear format for presenting findings, many steps and a lot of organization are involved in preparing an entry.
Without a clear understanding of the scientific process, students can be unsure of how to conduct their research.
If hands-on classroom activities follow the structure that students will need to follow for the science fair, the process will not be overwhelming or intimidating.
Parents and teachers can help students choose a project that is at an appropriate level and help students plan how to explore their idea, collect data and present their results.