Sunday, October 11, 2015

Science Fair Begins

Yes, science fair has begun. Most of you have probably seen this image running around Facebook at some point: 

While it likely holds some grain of truth for some households, its findings are ones we are trying to avoid.

In 8th grade I will be working with the class as a whole and each student individually to walk them through the steps of the science fair will minimal tears, frustration, and/or yelling. My expectation is that the student will do 100% of the work with support from families falling in to two categories. First, discussion. Families should talk about their students question, background research, hypothesis, methods, and results. The following questions may help spark conversation: 
  • How did you choose your question?
  • What problem do you think your results might solve?
  • Could your results have an impact on people outside of your classroom/school/county/state/country?
  • What supplies will you need?
  • How much of each item will you need?
  • How long will it take for each iteration?
  • How many iterations do you need to do?
  • How might XYZ relate to XYZ?
  • What variables are you isolating? 
  • What might happen if you one of those variables changed?
  • What search terms will you be using to do background research?
  • How did your background research help you understand your problem?
This week we will be beginning our scientific notebooks, The first entries will include our narrowed down list of possibilities with pros and cons for each one. When students have decided on the one question they would like to pursue, they will fill out the project selection form. This form will require your signature. Your signature confirms that you are willing to support their pursuit of that particular question. It also confirms that the supplies needed are something your student has access to and within your budget. This will come home on Wednesday. 

The next step will be background research. We will compile a list of search terms in class, but due to MAP testing, we may not be able to do the research in school. If not, it will be assigned as homework. As students research, they will be taking notes in their science notebooks. It is MANDATORY that all students write everything related to their science fair project in this notebook. Anything written elsewhere will have to be transferred. 

From there, students will design and then, upon approval of their procedure, begin testing. More information will come out about materials and procedure next week. For now, we'll be deciding what to test and doing it without tears! 

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