Middle School Science Fair
Lily T. Ning
A Science Fair can be an exciting component for the middle school science curriculum. Students bring science to life as they tackle investigative questions through hands-on experiments, helping them develop and demonstrate their interests and strengths in science.
The many benefits of a Science Fair are:
- students approach a problem of their choosing using the scientific method
- students ask questions, form hypotheses, and create experiments to test their hypotheses
- students observe, record and organize data, and draw conclusions
- students communicate their scientific research
- students work cooperatively in a 3-person Science Fair team
- students budget their time, organize their work into manageable chunks, keep to a schedule, and delegate work
- students use reading, writing, research, and computer skills
A Science Fair is a long term project which can span several months. Students conduct most of the Science Fair work on their own, outside of the classroom, with periodic, scheduled check-ins with their science teacher. This format allows science teachers to continue their regular classroom curriculum, while still having students engaged with and working on Science Fair. A Science Fair can even become a part of a teachers Open House in the spring.
Through the judging process, a Science Fair gives students feedback from many people, not just science teachers. Judges can be administrators, other teachers, student teachers, members of the community, parent volunteers, etc.
Students become excited and interested in participating in a Science Fair, especially when there are opportunities for further Science Fair competitions at the county or state level.
The following Science Fair materials were developed and refined with my good friend and colleague, Gail Schauer, when I taught science at Burlingame Intermediate School. The Science Fair Project Titles were developed by our students, several of which went on to compete at the San Mateo County Science Fair and California State Science Fair.