June 19, 2019

Science Fair: Punishment or Opportunity?

“>sabbatical in South East Asia, I taught seven grade levels of science (Kindergarten through Sixth Grade) at a private elementary school in Brentwood. Additionally, I ran the science fair for 3rd to 6th graders, which meant I was in charge of the projects for about one hundred and fifty students.

Daunted by both responsibilities, I leaned heavily on the experience of the “>Science Buddies site is the topic wizard for project selection. I start the year with my older elementary students with a discussion of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and how there are so many ways to be smart. The topic wizard seems to really assess the strengths and preferences of each individual student and if taken conscientiously can offer several suggestions of topic tailored for each one. Parents often complain to me that it would be much easier (for them) if I would offer only a dozen project choices and their child could pick among those.

Learning to choose your topic may be the most important and relevant part of the whole fair. In “>This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, an award winning book about neuroscience and music, Daniel J. Levitin discusses how when we care about something, stronger connections and memories are formed in brain. It is actually harder to learn something or from someone you don’t like or care about.

After selecting a topic, the Science Buddies site offers information on every step to succeed. There is a forum to talk with an expert which several of my students and I used for different projects. We engaged other teachers in our school to assist with projects on sports, music, technology, and art. Using a timeline, checklist and class time, all of my students were able to shape a project that spoke to them. There was a wide range of topics from the timely topic of “>video games for the blind which included a visit to a community center for children who are blind, and for my future entrepreneur the first step to a future visit on Shark Tank, creating ” target=”_hplink”>We Said Go Travel and ” target=”_hplink”>Watch Lisa's students in Action in the Science Lab.