Science Fair 2016 Part 1

This year, I have been really tight with deadlines. This has left my procrastinators with no time to do what they do best. I also made the students assign their roles at the beginning so there is someone to hold responsible for what they have and have not done. It has been a learning curve but hopefully it will push my students into greater independence and self sufficiency.

I am so proud of my middle students. The youngest group are having a hard time because of their age and maturity (but they are stepping up to the challenge). My oldest group have a bad case of the teens, and have been really disorganised and lackadaisical. My middle two groups are rock stars. 

The main benefit of doing a Science Fair is that I get to teach skills and content in an authentic way. A lesson on reading ammeters is forgettable even if the current you measured was in an interesting circuit. But, students having to set up data loggers to graph the current provided by a solar panel for their robot, well that is useful and therefore memorable.

science fair-039
Project from previous year

The project ideas are mostly good, solid ideas straight from an inspiration website. Testing the 5 second rule with agar plates, making batteries from fruit, testing the nutrients in different foods. The most inspired ideas are the ones where the groups struggled for a long time to think of something. There are two reasons for that happening: the students are very bright and knew they needed something to challenge them or the students feel rejected by science and scientific thinking, so they could not be inspired by a webpage because the ideas did not mean anything to them.

These projects include designing a Martian robot, testing the use of decorative water balls for vases in food growing, testing windmill stability and power output and seeing if food provokes emotion even if you cannot taste it. There are many more like that.

My greatest challenge is getting students started at the beginning of lessons because there can be a lot of setting up and finding equipment but now we have had a week of practicals, this is coming down.

We are an IB World School so we are inquiry led. It is really great to let students take the lead on this and really investigate something they are interested in.


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