My neighbor's daughter received her 20-page booklet of guidelines for submission of science fair projects in November. Yikes. Is it time for that already? According to my neighbor, the guidelines go out three months in advance so students have plenty of time to submit a good project.
So I started sorting through some online material to help her daughter pick out a project. And there I had it. The idea for my next K-12 Top 12 list . . . science projects and experiments.
As a quick refresher, there are several parts to a science project. Your child:
- picks out a question in an area of science that interests her
- does some background research on the topic
- develops a hypothesis to answer her question
- constructs an experiment to test her hypothesis
- conducts the experiment and records her observations
- draws conclusions based on her observations
- compiles the required reports, display boards, presentations
A project can be elaborate with several experiments requiring weeks or months to conduct, expensive equipment and material, and extensive reports and presentations. Or it can be simple, with an an experiment conducted in an afternoon, inexpensive supplies, and equipment you already have.
A key part of any of these projects is the appropriate amount of adult supervision. Just ask my daughter, who decided to conduct her balloon and soda experiment in the kitchen on her own. She tested her hypothesis -- and then cleaned up the two liters of Coke that covered the floor and flowed under the stove.
Often, though, kids just want to conduct an experiment for fun. Or for a class assignment. There are many websites on my list that have interesting experiments. The equipment and supplies are in the kitchen or garage. And your child's excitement is contagious. You're just as fascinated as he is by what happen when you suspend string in a jar of sugar water for two weeks.
So whether for fun or science fair fame, find some help at my K-12 Top 12 Science Project Websites. For still more ideas, go the the Science Projects section of LearningReviews.com.