Today's Choice for Tomorrow's Future

2019-2020 Parent Letter

2019-2020 ELEMENTARY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FAIR INFORMATION

All 3-5th grade Lake County students enhance their learning about scientific investigation and the nature of science through the completion of science fair projects.  Projects are grouped into five categories: Earth/Space Science, Physical Science, Life Science, Teams, and Engineering. Completed projects should be organized neatly on a free-standing display board.  Projects should include a laboratory journal.  Journaling can occur in a composition notebook, folder, or three-ring binder. Journal entries should provide daily and/or weekly descriptions of student projects including all data collected and background research collected.

While selecting a topic for science fair projects, students should pick a topic that is meaningful to them.  The following items are NOT allowed: live animals (unless approved by a veterinarian and no harm to the animal is done), controlled substances, bodily fluid samples, dangerous chemicals, mold, bacteria, weapons, ingested herbs and/or supplements, inhaled or applied oils, tobacco, alcohol, open flames, and/or explosives. Students must wear safety glasses for any experiments that any kind of splash may come in contact with the eyes and/or gloves when needed.  Remember human subjects may be allergic to different substances.  Students should always ask about allergies before testing.

There are two types of experiments: scientific method and engineering projects.  Included is a detailed description of both types. *Components with an asterisk should be displayed on the student project board.

SCIENTIFIC METHOD EXPERIMENTS:

If the project is in the category of Earth/Space Science, Physical Science, or Life Science, the student should be working through the steps of the scientific method.  Scientific Method experiments should explore observations and answer questions. They should include the collection and comparison of data.  Scientific method experiments should include the following components:

●      Title* (optional): The title can be something short and catchy OR just the question. Text Box:

●      Question*: The question should be measurable.

●      Background Research: Information should be collected from a reliable source that supports the question the students is asking. Articles can be included in lab journals and cited on bibliography.

●      Hypothesis*: An educated guess answer to the question the student is asking. For example, If _____________, then________________ will happen because ____________________.

●      Test with an Experiment: The experiment should investigate the question and test whether the hypothesis is supported or not.  It should be repeated at least 3-5 times. Only one independent variable should be changed at a time.

●      Variables*: Independent (what is the one thing you are testing), dependent (what you are measuring), and controlled (what does not change).

●      Materials*: List of everything needed to complete experiment.

●      Procedure*: The procedure should be like a recipe.  It should be step-by-step.  Experiments will have three variables: control (what does not change), independent (what is changed), and dependent (the outcome or results of the experiment).

●      Data and Pictures*: (graphs, charts, tables) - All projects utilizing the scientific method should include graphs illustrating their data and results. Pictures can include student faces.

●      Results*: Detailed explanation of the data.

●      Conclusion*: In the conclusion, the student should indicate what he or she learned based on experiment results.  It should indicate if the data supported their hypothesis. It can include a brief description of plan for exploring ideas for future experiments.

●      Application*: How does this project relate to the student’s life?  To real life?

●      Bibliography*: Citation of the sources utilized in background research. 

ENGINEERING DESIGN PROJECTS:

Engineering projects are different.  In this type of project, the students should be designing and revising their solution to a problem.  Engineering projects do not involve building models.  They involve a student-generated solution to a problem.  If your child chooses to complete an Engineering Project, it should include the following components:

●      Title*Image result for engineering design process

●      Ask*: What is the problem?

●      Background Research: Information should be collected from a reliable source that supports the question the students is asking. Articles can be included in lab journals and cited on bibliography.

●      Imagine*: Brainstorm list of possible solutions.

●      Plan* (Design): The plan should be like a recipe.  It should be step-by-step.  It should also include the materials needed for the design.  You can include drawings too!

●      Create the Prototype and Test: A prototype is a working version of the solution.  Students should build and test their prototype. Students should take pictures of their designs.  Pictures can include student faces.

●      Improve* (and Redesign): Students should explain how they made improvements to their prototype.  All prototype alterations should be recorded in the Laboratory notebook.

●      Final Prototype*: Showcase and explain your final design.  Does it solve your problem?

●      Application*: How does this prototype relate to the student’s life? To real life?

●      Bibliography*: Citation of the sources utilized in background research. 

 

Board Layouts:

Many schools will have a school-based science fair.  Student boards will be displayed and judged.  Additionally, teachers may take grades on student science projects.  Some schools will have students present their projects to their class or judges.  Students will benefit from practicing presenting projects. 

Most Lake County Elementary Schools will send the first place winners in each of the four categories to the district science fair.  The District Science Fair will be held on January 27th and January 28th, 2020. Student participants to the Lake County Science and Engineering Fair will be selected by the school. 

The goal is for students to learn more about the nature of science through the completion of their science projects.  Additionally, we sincerely hope students enjoy completing their projects.  It really helps if the selected project is meaningful to the student.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your classroom teacher or school science fair coordinator.  Thank you for partnering with us in the education of our Lake County Students!

Kelly Dodd, K-5 Science Program Specialist

 

SELECTING A QUESTION

Sample Scientific Method Experiment Questions

 

The “Effect” Question:

 

What is the effect of ________________________________ on __________________________________________?

                                           sunlight                                                                        on growth of plants

                                           eye color                                                                      pupil dilation

                                           temperature                                                               the size of a balloon

                                           ramp angle                                                                  distance a car travels

 

The “How Does Affect” Question:

How does the ______________________________________ affect _______________________________________?

                                           color of light                                                                the growth of plants

                                           humidity                                                                      the growth of plants

                                           color of a material                                                     absorption of heat

                                           temperature of bouncy ball                                     height of a bounce

 

The “Which/What and Verb” Question:

Which/What __________________________________ (verb) _____________________________________________?

                                           paper towel                                    is                          most absorbent

                                           foods                                               do                        meal worms prefer

                                           detergent                                        makes                 the most bubbles

                                           paper towel                                    is                          the strongest

                            

Now it’s your turn:

Create your Science Fair question using one of the examples provided but with your own wonderings that you would like to investigate and experiment.

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