Helping with Science Fair Project Preparation
Question: My fourth-grader is required to participate in his school's science fair. His teacher has provided little guidance except for one very general instruction sheet. How are we ever going to get this done?
Answer: Relax and have fun! It really is possible for an entire family to enjoy a child's science fair project. There is an abundance of information about science fairs in library books and online. You'll be able to find age-appropriate projects and techniques for completing one. Look at these resources after carefully reading the school's guidelines.
* Because your son is young, you will need to help him organize his project. Take the following steps to make the project a worthwhile learning experience. A successful project can result in a lasting interest in science.
* Be sure to follow the guidelines about appropriate parental help.
* Talk with friends about how they have handled these projects. Ask about potential pitfalls.
* Help your son choose a project he can handle easily. To stay excited about the project, he should choose one that interests him and can be completed in an age-appropriate amount of time.
* Prepare a realistic timeline with your son that will spell out the dates to complete each step of the project. Then help him follow it. Start early so there will be a few days at the end to handle any unexpected events.
* Have your son make a list of necessary supplies a few days before he begins.
* Help him decide how he will record any data he collects for the project.
* Provide help only when an extra pair of hands is needed. Your son needs to be the one to do the project.
* Take pictures of different stages of the project to use on a display board.
* Show results with charts, if appropriate, that are not computer-generated unless your child is capable of making them.
* Suggest practicing the presentation to the judges so your child can deliver it with confidence.
Parents can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask them on the columnists' Web site at www.dearteacher.com.