This is the fifth and final post in a 5 day series, The Ins & Outs of Science Fairs.
Competing at local, regional, and state science fairs is a great way for students to learn more about science. Science encourages an open mind, tenacity enough to find an answer to your question, critical skills, and honesty.
Kids get a great deal of confidence and satisfaction from having participated in a science fair; it’s a great confidence builder. It is a good opportunity to teach ethics, and for students to learn it is ok to be wrong. For example, sometimes the data does not support the hypothesis.
Some science fairs invite community scientists, local doctors, professors, field scientists, researchers, geologists, to judge the students’ projects. In most cases these “judges” do not give a rating. They discuss the project with the individual students, ask questions, and give complements and suggestions for improvement.
- Don’t try to see it all – pick 2-5 projects and really see those
- Choose a different age group for each project you visit
- Spend time listening to the student present their project
- Ask open-ended questions and avoid criticisms
- Enjoy listening to the learning that is happening
- Experience the fun the student has had preparing and now presenting to you
- Ask about family interaction with the project
- Keep the student talking