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SCIENCE FAIR STUDENT HANDBOOK
Welcome to the annual Imagine Schools State Science Fair Program!
We are so excited to announce some changes to the program this year! These changes will enhance the program and better serve the students. Revisions were made to link to current national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum initiatives. Please take the time to carefully review this hand book and its revisions.
Lets start with a brief description of Whats new?
First, we have adjusted the timeline earlier in the school year. We believe that getting an earlier start in the school year will not only help our students be better focused, but also improve the connections to current course pacing.
Second, we have changed some of the categories. We have condensed the Earth and Space category to include Environmental Science. We also created the Biology category which contains microbiology and zoology to offer more options within life sciences. We have also added the Math and Computer Science category.
Third, we will encourage more variations of project demonstrations. Students may choose to present their project in a variety of formats such as digital (Power Point, video, or Prezi), interactive, or physical models. This is optional for those creative students who believe that a tri-fold board does not do their project justice. Students who compete at the school, region, and state level will still need the required tri-fold board for judging, but adding this additional component may add creativity points.
Finally, required components for science fair will be phased in per grade level and students have a choice if they wish to compete with their projects. We have decided the best way to introduce science fair is in gradual steps by grade level.
Fourth grade students who compete at the school, region, or state level will need the following components: data notebook, oral presentation, and a display board (without an abstract summary). Students in fourth grade will not be required to do a typed report or bibliography. See your school requirements for non-competing students.
Fifth grade students who compete at the school, region, or state will need to have the following components: data notebook, oral presentation, and a display board. Fifth grade students will not be required to have a typed report, but must include the report elements on their display board. Boards will not include an abstract. Instead, a one-page research summary will be needed. A bibliography of two reliable sources should be attached to the back of the board. See your school requirements for non-competing students.
Middle school students (grades 6 through 8) who compete at the school, region, or state level are required to have the following components: data notebook, oral presentation, display board, and a typed report (including bibliography of 3 reliable sources). See your school requirements for non-competing students.
Science fair is an important part of our curriculum and a valuable learning experience, but some students are not interested in the competition aspect. Students who do not wish to compete with their projects will not be required to submit certain components, but it is highly encouraged for all students to do their best and consider entering the competition.
Lastly, students who are not competing will have the option to do small group projects with teacher permission. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much Helen Keller Students may work in pairs or in a group of three on a project. A group contract may be required.
As always, we enjoy partnering with you in your childs education and development. We hope that these changes to the program will help enhance your childs learning experience.
The Florida Science Fair Task Force
Imagine Schools is built upon expectations high enough to live up to a childs potential. In our schools, success means developing character and enriching minds as we graduate students well prepared for college, career, and life.
Table of Contents
Science Fair Questions1
Data Notebook Guidelines6
Display Board Guidelines13
Display Board Format14
Parent Acknowledgement Form
Student Documentation Form
4th Grade Judging Form
5th Grade Judging Form
Science Fair Student Handbook
Middle School (Grades 6th-8th) Judging Form
SCIENCE FAIR QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT?
A science fair project is a chance for the student to be the scientist and explore a subject of interest. It allows for self-directed exploration of the scientific process, application of scientific methods, develops research, writing, critical thinking, and language skills. It helps to stimulate curiosity, and encourages students to HAVE FUN while they are learning.
Science fair is a key instructional method to implement the Common Core, and the Next Generation Standards. The end result of science fair is problem-based inquiry style learning. This type of learning helps students refine valuable skills they need for the 21st century (such as critical thinking, collaboration, and communication).
All science fair projects contain five main components.
1. Scientific Investigation & Research
3. Critical Thinking
5. Applying Scientific Methods.
WHAT IS THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD?
The Scientific method is a procedure that scientists use to answer questions and solve problems. They are as follows:
1. Ask a question
2. Form a hypothesis
3. Test the hypothesis
4. Analyze the results
5. Draw conclusions
6. Communicate results
WHAT IS NOT A SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT?
A science project IS NOT a book report. Although you need to do research, you must test a hypothesis.
A science fair project IS NOT a demonstration. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned, but you must have performed experiments and collected data.
A science fair project IS NOT building a model. You might construct models for your experiment, but you must be solving a problem.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Find a topic that interests you. Choosing a topic requires much thought. Try looking through journals and magazines like Natural History, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic, Consumer Reports, or Science News. The internet is also an excellent source of ideas and information. There is a list of a few internet sources in the appendix. Choose a topic that interests you and then decide how you can do an experiment that deals with this topic. Think how this project might improve the world and its inhabitants. Questioning is probably the most important part of scientific creativity. Questioning usually leads to experiments or observations. Choose a limited subject, ask a question, and identify or define a problem.
WHATS NEXT? Decide what type of project suits your needs.
1. A field (outdoors) investigation
2. A laboratory (indoors) study
3. A series of experiments or tests
4. A carefully collected set of observations
Projects will be assigned to one of the following ten categories based on the problem solved, research, and application.
Behavioral and Social Sciences*: Human and animal behavior, social and community relationship psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, learning, perception, urban problems, public opinion surveys, educational testing, etc.
Biochemistry*: The chemistry of life processes molecular biology, molecular genetics, enzymes, photosynthesis, blood chemistry, protein chemistry, food chemistry, metabolism, and hormones.
Biology (including Microbiology and Zoology): The study of the anatomy, physiology, and processes of living things - bacteriology, virology, protozoology, fungi, yeast, animal development, pathology, physiology, systematics. REMEMBER: You cant display micro-organisms, someone may be allergic to them!
Botany: The study of plant life agriculture, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, plant pathology, plant genetics, hydroponics, algae, etc.
Chemistry: The study of the nature & composition of matter, and the laws governing it physical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, materials, plastics, fuels, pesticides, metallurgy, soil chemistry, etc.You may test some consumer products here.
CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS (cont.)
Earth, Space & Environmental Sciences: (Earth Science) The Study of Earths structure and processes. - geology, mineralogy, physical oceanography, meteorology, seismology, geography, topography. (Space Science) astronomy, star visibility, astrological computations You cant test planets, star, or the moon no solar systems please. (Environmental Science) The study of interactions among physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment air, water, and land pollution sources and their control, ecology, waste disposal, impact studies, etc.
Engineering: Technology projects that directly apply scientific principles to manufacturing and practical uses civil, mechanical, aeronautical, chemical, electrical, photographic, so