Saturday, March 3, 2012

1st Science Fair

Science Fair Time. Those three words ignite fear in the heart of most parents across the USA.
We were totally surprised when the 10 page packet came home with our 3rd grade daughter about the science fair. Most folks around my age remember only doing ONE science fair and not until Jr-High at least!

Panic ensued. What can we do that is 3rd grade age appropriate and in the very little amount of time we were given to complete the project?
We had to think of something we could do quickly and with limited resources and at a 3rd grade level. She had some great ideas but had to be coached is the difference between a research paper and a science fair project. Lots of great questions but, the answer could be found with some research and  - problem solved. Science fair projects are more involved.

A great science fair project is one that teaches the scientific process.
For example....

Research paper Question = how does an engine work? <---Too general. Better ---> How does a combustion engine work?
Science Fair Question = Does the fuel mixture make a difference in the performance of a combustion engine?
Here you use the research paper question, and try to figure out a specific result about a comparable scenario.
ie. you can TEST it by COMPARING several different fuel mixtures in the engine IN A CONTROLLED SETTING to record MEASURABLE RESULTS and draw CONCLUSIONS based on evidence and variables. It also has to have an applicable purpose. In this example, one can discover more efficient fuel combinations for better performance or economy.
That is the part my art-sy 3rd grader can't quite grasp at this stage in her development.
By the way... The engine example is not safe for a 3rd grader to do - just sayin'.

So, with some guidance, we chose to use our pullets and test them to see if it made a difference to them what color their food was.
I got to be a judge on the oral presentations portions and see most of the projects from Kindergarten throught 5th grade. I love going to these things and seeing these little minds at work and the excitement in some of these young scientists' eyes!

Here is her 1st Science Fair Experience

one of the rows at the Fair

Principal with 1st, 2nd (My kid), 3rd and Honorables in 3rd grade

 I fuzzed the kids on purpose out of respect of not posting without their parent's permission.
My kid  - happy it's over.
Now, she wants to go to Regional at the end of the month..... To Be Continued?

Ah yes... Continued.
We attended the Regional Fair this past Saturday March 24th in Tacoma.
Huge and lots of participants. Woke up early to be there at 8am and stay till 2pm for awards.
She was the ONLY student from the ENTIRE district to participate in the regional fair.
She did not place but gained great experience as to what to expect next year.

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