Why does A One-Room Schoolhouse encourage students to participate in the science fair? The benefits of science fair participation are profound. Below you will find my top 10 reasons why we encourage students to participate in science fair competitions.
Science Fair Homework?
In my post on homework, you may have read about science fair participation. Starting at the 6th-grade level or the year a student turns 12, students will be encouraged to participate in science fair competitions at both the local and regional level. Younger students are encouraged to participate at the local level.
The reasons to participate in the science fair are vast. A One-Room Schoolhouse hopes to be a leader in science fair participation among homeschool groups for these reasons.
This will provide a valuable enrichment component to our science curriculum. Students will be provided with mentorship support, timeline assistance, project development, and material sourcing. A One-Room Schoolhouse has formed partnerships both in the science fair community and in the homeschool community to make this a very successful and enriching experience.
Personally, I had a dismal science upbringing. In elementary school, I had next to no science instruction. I had a six-week unit in fifth grade and a few scatted science days in sixth grade.
That was it before I hit middle school and high school. This, of course, did nothing to spark my interest in science. Furthermore, I developed little skill in the subject and assumed it was not an area I wanted to study.
My younger brother, however, had a much different science experience. I want to share his experience with you. Although he attended the same elementary school I did and had a similar sparse regimen of elementary science, his trajectory changed in middle school.
All it took was one teacher…
As a middle school science class project, he was assigned to participate in the science fair. He is a bit of an overachiever by nature and thus put together a pretty awesome project. He designed some basic architectural changes to make homes safer in earthquakes.
As part of his project, he even went down to the local children’s science museum and ran experiments with sugar cube houses on a shake table. Pretty cool, right!
Well, he went to the county fair and did really well. He had a great time and this experience piqued his interest.
In high school, he continued his science fair path. He was able to take an extra class where a teacher mentored him through his science fair project. As a freshman in high school, he dove into a project about chemical signatures of meteor impacts.
This project would change the course of his life.
To make a really long (and wonderful!) story short, this project propelled him through his Ph.D. and on into his professional career as a Planetary Geologist.
As a high school student, he went on to win state, national, and international science fairs that resulted in significant scholarships and prizes. In short, he never paid a dime out of pocket for his extensive education.
All this….because of the science fair. One teacher, in one middle school, gave one assignment, and it changed the course of my brother’s life.
Top 10 Reasons To Participate in Science Fair
1) Learn the scientific method
Learning the scientific method has to be the most significant contributing factor to the success of a young scientist. Once this process is internalized, even the sky is not the limit! (Here is a great snapshot of the scientific method.)
2) Discover your passions
Science fair projects are not all about bread mold and papier-mache volcanoes. Projects can be about IQ tests, game theory, cooking chemistry, and space rockets. Truly about student-lead interest learning. (Take this interest inventory to discover your science passions!)
3) Develop project management skills
Science fair projects are school-year long investigations. Through the course of the study, students learn to manage long term investigations and accomplish all the phases of the project.
4) Acquire research skills
This one may seem obvious, but in a day of easy answers through Google and poorly-sourced information on social media, acquiring proper research skills is a golden skill.
5) Strengthen math skills
Math and science go hand in hand. Students need and will apply math skills in the process of collecting and analyzing data. No longer will students ask when will I ever use this math concept! They will be using math hands on to solve problems.
6) Hone public speaking skills
This one might come as a bit of a surprise, especially if you have never done a science fair, but a successful science fair student is an effective public speaker. When a science fair is judged, professionals visit each student’s display and a presentation is given. Talk about speaking under pressure!
7) Network for college
Seriously, I had no idea until my brother’s experience how science fairs can propel you into the limelight of college admissions and scholarships. Really, forget football, college recruitment is buzzing at science fairs!
8) Earn scholarship money
Speaking of college…who is going to pay for it? Don’t worry, enter the science fair. Just click back up and read my brother’s story one more time. (Read about some of the major science fair winners from 2019 here.)
9) Explore STEM careers
Mentorship, networking, and exposure…oh my! As students meet other students, talk to different professionals, and learn from diverse teachers they will become aware of the vast world of STEM and all the related careers. Science isn’t just happening in some basement laboratory!
10) Understand ethical issues
When students are challenged to design, research, and present original scientific work, ethical issues become clear and important. Concrete ethical learning can take place when months of personal effort are at stake.
Does this sound like homework you could handle? Does this sound like a meaningful education? Join A One-Room Schoolhouse as a student or as a scientist mentor!
Drop a comments below and let us know what your next science fair project might be!
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