Science Fair Projects – An Important Part of Science Education

The classroom experience is an important part of the way a student learns new material, but it is by no means the only part. In the rush to make sure that students are properly educated, it is easy to get caught up in the more obvious, typical, ordinary aspects of learning and to forget about some techniques which, although they are not used quite as frequently, have every bit as much value and are one hundred percent as vital as any of the other more commonly seen ways that we teach children in a modern classroom setting.

You see, when students get together in a classroom with a teacher, the primary purpose of that gathering is to transmit information from the teacher to the student. All of the information that the teach communicates on the given subject is already known and established, and he or she is simply telling the information to the students so that they will know it as well. In other words, nothing new is being created or pursued; instead, something which is already known is being transferred from one place (the teacher’s mind) to another place (the mind of the student).

One other way to do things is actually to set about discovering new information in the classroom. In this manner students and teachers can embark together on a process of discovery where neither the student nor the teacher knows what might happen at the end. This is very different from the way things are normally done because it really seeks to add to the amount of existing knowledge in the world instead of just spreading it from place to place. One really great way to pursue knowledge in this way is through a science fair, where students will create science fair projects.

Science Fairs are a kind of scientific competition held at schools. Winners from schools head to local or state science fairs, and then to national science fairs, and then from there a few talented students will go on to compete in the international science fair. The way that the contest works is that a student picks a topic that he is interested in. He devises some interesting way to demonstrate a scientific principle related to that topic, or else he creates some hypothesis related to it and goes about testing that hypothesis in a hands on sort of way.

To be sure, in most cases both teacher and student know what will happen, or at least what is supposed to happen, when any given experiment is designed. However, because of the unpredictable nature of experimentation, there is always a very real chance that something unexpected will happen, in which case both the student and the teachers stand to learn something when they try to figure out what exactly happened. Beyond that, at the higher levels, there actually are some students whose experiments are so advanced that the data they record are of real value to the scientific community, because they are exploring something in a new way. This is a really amazing situation because it turns the student from a passive recorder of science into an active seeker of knowledge.

Science fairs are a wonderful way to engage students in a way that normal classroom experiments just can’t. They make the idea of gaining knowledge tangible and fun and unpredictable, and although the traditional classroom experience can be quite valuable, it is important also to make room for fun assignments like Science Fair Projects.

Creating the Best Math and Science Educational Experiences for Youth

In the almost 15 years since I’ve graduated from high school I’ve notice the major changes in how children are educated. I feel like I’m not old enough to be say when I was a kid things were different, but I’m saying that on a regular basis. When I was a child, parents and educators seemed to work together more to provide a quality education for children. There were learning experiences both at home and in school. I have memories of conducting science experiments both at home and in school as early as elementary school. However, I am realizing that kids today don’t have the same opportunity that I did during my K-12 education.

All students don’t have an equal opportunity to have a great science educational experience. I have been spending time in schools and am realizing that kids aren’t engaged in enough hands on science or science that is relevant to them that make them interested in science. I was having a conversation with a 5th grader and he was talking about what he learned in science class that day. What they learned bored me to death, they were talking about a scientist that is dead and technology that is obsolete. I know that science history is an important part of science, but kids should be learning something that is relevant and current and about scientists that are alive today. But thing that I was grateful was that at least this student was learning science. I’m always curious how the state science and mathematics standards are chosen. Is the curriculum team made up of a diversity of math and science educators and professionals? Do they select the material based that provide the students with a strong foundation as well as engage them in the subjects? Do they select a curriculum that all school districts will be able to implement, including those districts and schools with limited resources? Do they consider if the curriculum is academically preparing them for post secondary education and pursuing careers in these subjects? I believe that a strong curriculum should include all these elements to ensure the academic success of our children in math and science.

In addition, most state curriculum the core subjects are language arts, math, social studies and science. However the priority of instructional time in our schools, especially in elementary school isn’t always focused on equal preparation in all subject areas. There are studies that show that elementary students don’t always get an adequate amount of science as a part of their curriculum. There are various reasons for this; the main reason is that not enough resources are put into science education because science is rarely on the standardized test that has become a critical part of education. Another reason is not all elementary teachers feel comfortable enough to teach their students science. With elementary school being the foundation for learning in all subject areas, if there is no strong foundation for science how will kids excel when they go to middle and high school. This doesn’t create an environment for our kids to excel in science, let alone pursue careers in these fields.

In order for us to provide the best educational experience for our youth, we must hold the educational system accountable for ensuring that all subject areas have equal instructional time. We shouldn’t give more subject areas more instructional time simply because our students will be tested in those subjects. The best way we can hold them in accountable is to build a relationship with the educational system at all levels; the individual schools, school district and state department of education. We want to make sure that our children are academically prepared to enter the future workforce, which will be an educated workforce.

Science Fair Projects: Are They Important for Science Education?

The United States need more science students. And we need new thinking and new programs on how to motivate young students to become scientists. We need more good science fair project programs. Many minority students, who have great potential are not entering the science arena. In order to get a good scientific career in health care, or the biological sciences, you have to pass freshman chemistry at the university level. This is a very difficult course and many wannabe scientists get discouraged and drop out even before they get started. About 65% of the American scientists are white males. During the next forty years, white males will compose about 20% of the population. The problem is that we must produce more qualified nonwhite scientists or we will lose our competitive position in the world.

One of the main reasons that America has been able to progress in the scientific community of the world is that super students from countries like India and China come to the U. S. to study science and have remained here as part of our scientific work force. Many universities report that from one quarter to three quarters of their Ph.D. candidates are overseas students. This pattern has been prevalent for many years and has benefited the U.S. considerably. However this pattern is changing rapidly. Science fair projects alone cannot carry the burden although they do help so much in getting young students interested in the sciences.

Countries all over the world are catching up and sometimes surpassing the U.S. with increased investments in science education. Accordingly the brain drain of the past has changed direction and in many cases we are losing our best students to foreign countries. Science fair projects help to begin a thought process by using the scientific method. The student begins a long journey on learning a new discipline which obviates the importance of attitude, prejudice, cultural biases, and replaces them with a protocol of scientific investigation, experimentation and testing.

The temptations to return to their native lands after being educated in the U.S are many and varied. Foreign students are being lured with large grants for research, new facilities, native cultures and returning to family and familiar surroundings. So often young graduates begin to yearn to return to their roots, to their families and friends and familiar surroundings. And many wish to make a contribution to their native country and help other youngsters to have the opportunities that they have.

The black students were not doing as well as the Asian students and this prompted some research which revealed that the Asian students studied in groups and learned from each other. They motivated each other and set up competitive environments, one pushing the other to new heights. The black students on the other hand studied alone and were more readily distracted from the task at hand, from studying and from achieving. No amount of science fair projects could help this situation.

New programs of learning together and a more communal life style was introduced to African American students and the results were dramatic. Grades went way up, graduation statistics zoomed. Increased dependence on teachers, other mentors, peer groups and team support were introduced and used successfully. Training sessions, after school work, problem solving groups and a host of this type of communications systems were put in place with dramatic results. The students no longer felt alone. Problems seemed smaller when students learned that others were facing the same dilemma. Answers came more easily and more rapidly. Group encouragement and competition and pushing each other became the order of day. Mentors were available for the more difficult problems. Even science fair projects were not enough to win the day. But science fair projects helped a lot of these students to get started.

As soon as the students arrive at the beginning of school year, they get together with a graduate school mentor who will be available to them to discuss studies as well as any personal problems they may have. They are assisted in getting jobs part time like working in research laboratories and similar jobs related to their areas of interest. They get jobs in off season summer programs and become part of an academic support community. The students who heretofore were losers become winners. There never was anything wrong with their ability to do good work, all they needed was encouragement, support, and assistance to get them over the hard times. To think that it all began with a science fair project. Regardless what area of science you like best, whether it be physics, biology or chemistry, or computer sciences, or botany or astronomy, you will find over 400 science fair projects accessible immediately online at http://www.terimore.com.