Are you the courageous soul who is organizing the STEM Fair for your school? Or the teacher looking to provide scaffolding for student STEM/ Science Fair projects? You’re in the right place!
STEM (or Science) Fairs are a great opportunity for kids! They help teach a number of transferrable skills that help kids function better in a classroom setting and develop skills that employers look for in highly qualified candidates. Plus, they are naturally aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as well.
Among the skills that kids learn and develop are:
Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking skills are at the center of any STEM/Science Fair project. From finding an interesting topic and developing their Big Question to determining a scientific way to investigate it, students must become excellent problem solvers. Since the answer to their Big Question is unknown, there are always unseen issues that force students to think creatively to resolve them.
As students are working through either the Scientific Method or the Engineering Design Process, they are documenting their work, usually in a science notebook. This information includes everything- from how they arrived at their Big Question to how they plan to investigate it. Along with summarizing the most important information, students also need to figure out how to present it so that it makes sense to others. This information is generally displayed on a tri-fold board, but oftentimes, it is verbally presented to a panel of judges as well.
Management and Organization Skills
Managing a project with lots of information and data will definitely inspire students to develop their management and organization skills. Investigating a Big Question isn’t easy, so having or developing a system to stay organized helps a lot as they comb through information, read related research and collect data.
Teamwork and Collaboration Skills
For some kids, working in a group is their first choice. For others, not so much. Either way, working on a team helps kids develop collaboration skills that will be helpful when they enter the workforce. These skills come in the form of learning how to tactfully advocate their ideas, equally divide up the work, or even strategies to settle disagreements.
These STEM Fair Resources contain all of the scaffolding to get you started and to help kids be successful. From turning an idea into a probing question to planning the investigation and collecting data. Included are half-page guide sheets that can be used alone or glued into STEM/Science Notebooks. As kids work through the guide sheets, they brainstorm ideas and learn how to create a great feasible and testable question. They also think deeper about their Big Question to plan out a investigation and collect data.
Also included is a planning sheet for the teacher and student, headers for their presentation boards, a peer review sheet, NGSS-aligned Rubric as well as Participation and Awards Certificates.
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Lane specializes in STEM curriculum design and professional development for K-12 stakeholders and enjoys making teachers’ lives easier through innovative, standards-based STEM lessons.