The purpose of a science fair project is for students to not only learn about science, but also have an educational experience that develops many skills. Creating a science fair project allows students to actively take part in a creative process, from the inception of the idea to the exhibit. It develops a student’s critical thinking skills as she gains a new understanding about a part of her world.
According to the criteria for a good project from the California State Science Fair, science fairs are not necessarily about finding the right answer. The main purpose of a science project is for students to experience the scientific process. It is an opportunity for creativity and research, as students decide on a topic and develop a question to answer about that topic. Students also need to plan the project and effectively manage their time to complete the project.
A science fair project allows students to develop the project from beginning to end, including displaying the information in a clear, organized manner. During the presentation, judges are looking for the student’s ability to discuss the project with confidence and authority. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, science fairs allow students to be active members of an intellectual pursuit and scientific community.
A student should choose a science fair topic that truly interests him. The Student Handbook for Elementary Science Fairs, which was developed by the Plano, Texas Independent School District, points out that motivation and inspiration are the keys to a successful project. Students should focus on their hobbies and passions as they develop an idea. Using their natural talents, students should strive to choose a testable theory that is within the ability of the student, not the parent.
Inherent in the process of a scientific investigation is making a discovery. Students will learn new things about how science impacts their everyday lives as they create science fair projects. Conducting a science experiment out of the classroom that was developed by the student is an opportunity to develop intellectual curiosity.
Science fair projects allow teachers a different outlet to get students excited about and involved in science. Through the process, students will gain an appreciation for what role scientists and science play in solving life’s problems. A science fair project also uses writing, reading and mathematical skills.
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