The Access Excellence Periodic Tableau

Classroom Science Fair Project

Denise Marie Sobieski
Barneveld School
Barneveld, WI


Type of Entry

Project

Type of Activity

Target Audience

Can be modified for any group including the following:

Background Information

What question does this activity help students to answer

Students engage in a group scientific experiment to answer a question of their choice pertaining to the current topic of study. Students will go through all steps of scientific inquiry that scientists go through when they do research. Students will use the scientific method to answer their question engaging in cooperative activities to complete their goals.

Notes for teacher

This project can be done with just about any age group and topic. Students need to do more real science in todayıs science classes, and this activity affords them with the opportunity to do so. For instance, I did a unit on "Earth the Water Planet" and my students all chose scientific questions pertaining to water.

A good solid understanding of the scientific method is necessary before students can proceed with this topic. Students need to know how to do the scientific method. Constant monitoring by you, the teacher, is required so that students produce and perform a good experiment with easily recognizable controls and variables.

Required of students

Students need to know how to use the scientific method. They will also need to successfully work together in a cooperative group to complete this task, and engage in other skills, such as writing, producing graphs, and making artwork for their display.

Preparation time needed

The length of time spent on the project will vary depending upon the ability level of the students and the complexity of the experiments chosen. Likewise, the amount of time spent preparing for the activity will vary. Most of the teacher preparation time consists of organizing the groups and acquiring materials for the experiments. Some time organizing the culminating class science fair -obtaining judges, printing judging sheets, etc. - may be required.

Class time needed

Again, the length of time spent on this project will vary depending upon the ability level of the students and the complexity of the experiments chosen. I have typically spent several weeks on this project, giving more class time at the beginning for research and set up of the experiments.


Abstract of Activity

Students will have their own "science fair" within the class. A topic of inquiry may be chosen and students will choose a research question related to that topic. For instance, the current unit may be on plants and students would therefore choose a research question pertaining to plants. Students will do a search for current scientific information on their topic and analyze this information on how it relates to their topic. Students will proceed to write a procedure for an experiment that will answer their research question and to perform the experiment. To conclude the project, students will prepare their finding for a classroom science fair, including a group presentation of their research and a display board. A formal write-up of all steps of the process has been a requirement in my class, and helps students to realize the importance of written communication in the scientific process.


Lesson/activity

Materials needed

Varies depending upon experiments chosen

Activity

Cooperative groups of 3 preferably need to be made and students need to choose a research question. Students will do an initial literature search to inform themselves about their topic and to find out current research available. See handout at end of this section. This handout is something I give the students, and it sums up the activity well.

Method of Evaluation/Assessment

The project is judged as a science fair project would be. Students will be evaluated on their cooperation in the group, the group presentation, and the formal write-up of their science fair project. During the judging, questions can be asked of the students to aid in determining the level of mastery of their own experiment and of the scientific method. I also typically have a test question on a written exam in which students need to summarize all the aspects of their project.

Extension/Reinforcement/Additional Ideas

Parents often appreciate being invited either to the actual classroom science fair during the day or to a repeat performance of the science fair during the evening.

Other teachers may want to get involved in the project in some way, ie. the art teacher helping with the display boards. Another idea for reinforcement is to invite an area scientist to discuss the project with the students, or in some way guide them through the process. On line situations for this reinforcement idea may be available. In this case, other schools in the country may be doing a similar project and students could share their research. Setting a a web page for their research may be another option for extension.


Name_______________________
Date_________ Hour___________

Science Fair Project

Use the following guidelines as you prepare for the write-up of your science fair project. For full credit, include all of the following:

The Plan

  1. Statement of the problem being pursued
    • usually a question

  2. Write a plan that you intend to follow in attacking the problem
    • equipment you will need
    • appropriate drawings
    • time schedule
    • recognize that your plan may be subject to change

The Project Report

  1. Title page
    • heading of your project
    • name of experimenters in group
    • date
    • hour
    • this does not count as one of your pages

  2. Purpose
    • what are you trying to find out or investigate
    • what is your motivation for finding out

  3. Background Information
    • background information that is pertinent to your project
    • is this a timely subject that has been studied often?

  4. Hypothesis

  5. Procedure
    A. Summary of Procedure
    brief description of the procedure that explains your means of acquiring information, noting the variable and the control

    B. Steps of Procedure
    a detailed, step-by-step procedure of your experiment or investigation

  6. Results
    A. Data
    to include all diagrams, charts, photos, etc.
    B. Experimental Error
    explain the source of any errors and how they might be reduced

  7. Conclusion
    • based on the data collected and how you arrived at your conclusion
    • refer back to your hypothesis and purpose
    • provide a thorough explanation of the examination of your data

  8. Acknowledgments
    * note anyone who helped you in any way

  9. Bibliography
    • 2 sources other than encyclopedias
    • at least 3 sources
    • must be written up in the correct form (see handout/bibliographies)

  10. Abstract
    • a 2-3 paragraph summary of your entire project
    • type this on a separate sheet of paper
    • include this immediately after your title page
* * * Use the numbered headings above for your writeup.

Requirements:

You will be graded on the following:

  1. the plan and report
  2. the display of your project
  3. how well you are able to respond to the judges questions
  4. how well you have worked as an individual and with your group
  5. how well your group has worked together as a whole.


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