Science Fair Project

Science Fair:

Due dates: As explained in class.

(Summary of instructions provided by Interlomas follows)

Sierra Nevada’s Science Fair 2013

Some purposes of the Science Fair are mentioned below:

  • Students will set out to explore, investigate, explain, model, understand, propose, and/or invent something that will help them gain a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.
  • In the process, students will learn about and apply the scientific method

Some project ideas:

Encourage students to choose a topic they are interested in, choose a single aspect of that topic to investigate, and then make a question they would like to have an answer for. For example:

    • What kind of wrapping keeps sliced fruit fresh the longest inside the refrigerator?
    • What brand of milk has less bacteria?
  1. Guiding Students:

Experiments should be real attempts at answering a true question, not imitations of what other people have done before.

Here are some websites where you can get some ideas for projects and some guidance through the steps:

(The first one has a good explanation of the scientific method)

3.- Presenting the Project:

All projects for the competition should be presented in the following format:

    • All written material should be posted on heavy cardboard (papel ilustración or papel cascarón recommended) that can stand on a table.
    • The items to include on the cardboard display are:

· clip_image001clip_image002clip_image002[1]clip_image003Name of student, grade level, and campus

· clip_image004Topic and Question

· Hypothesis

· clip_image005clip_image006Description of the experiment and variables

(for example change something like the temperature if you chose the wrapping experiment mentioned above)

· List of materials used

· Observations and/or measurements

· Results either in charts or graphs

· Conclusions

    • Actual materials used in the experiment should be displayed (plants in pots, bacteria cultures in Petri dishes, etc.)
    • Photos (or videos) of the experiment may be displayed, too.
    • Although the scientific information on the display is the most important, the presentation also counts for the judges (font size, legibility, colorfulness, visual aids, etc.)
    • Students should be able to explain orally (in about a minute) what their project is about. Judges will ask questions and look for confident and clear answers from the students.
  1. Using the Rubrics:

The rubrics below should be given and explained to the students to help them present a project with the potential to win. Students perform much better, and adults can guide them more easily, when the expectations are clearly explained from the beginning.

Exhibit Rubric:

 

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Title

0 pts.

Title is boring and does not apply to project.

1 pt.

Title either applies to project or is creative (but not both).

3 pts.

Title is creative and applies to project.

5 pts.

Title is creative, attention-getting, and applicable to project.

Board

0-4 pts.

Board is boring, and it does not relate to project.

5-8pts.

Board is boring, but it adequately supports the project.

9-12 pts.

Board is creative or colorful. It supports the project.

13-15 pts.

Board is creative or colorful. It draws attention while supporting the project.

Posted Material

0-2 pts.

Material is readable and provides some information about the project.

3-5 pts.

Material is readable and generally tells the project’s story.

6-8 pts.

Material is orderly, readable and generally tells the project’s story.

9-10 pts.

Material is orderly, readable and clearly tells the project’s story.

Graphs

0 pts.

Graphs have little or no relation to data or project.

1 pt.

Graphs are readable but incomplete.

3 pts.

Graphs are readable and include titles, legends, and units of measurement.

5 pts.

Graphs are readable and helpful, including titles, legends, and units of measurement.

Samples

0 pts.

Sample material is missing or provides no information about the project.

1 pt.

Sample material is present and generally tells the project’s story.

3 pts.

Sample material is clearly displayed and generally tells the project’s story.

5 pts.

Sample material is clearly displayed and clearly tells the project’s story.

Total points: __________ (40 pts. max.)

Scientific Process Rubric:

 

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Problem or Question

0-2 pts.

Problem or question is not clear.

3-5 pt.

Problem or question is clearly stated but has obvious answer and is not thoughtful.

6-8 pts.

Problem or question is clearly stated and thoughtful but has obvious answer.

9-10 pts.

Problem or question is clearly stated and is thoughtful, without obvious answer.

Procedure

0-4 pts.

Procedure is complete but not easy to follow and does not show scientific thinking or creativity.

5-8 pts.

Procedure is complete and easy to follow but does not show scientific reasoning or creativity.

9-12 pts.

Procedure is complete, easy to follow, and shows scientific thinking. It does not show creativity.

13-15 pts.

Procedure is complete, easy to follow, and shows scientific thinking and creativity.

Experiment

0-2 pts.

Experiment does not answer obvious questions. Trials and sample sizes are not adequate.

3-5 pts.

Experiment answers obvious questions. Trials and sample sizes are not adequate.

6-8 pts.

Experiment answers obvious questions and has adequate trials. Sample sizes are not adequate.

9-10 pts.

Experiment answers obvious questions and has adequate trials and sample sizes.

Variables

0 pts.

Variables are not at all consistent with the Problem or Question or with the Procedure.

1 pt.

Variables are consistent with the Problem or Question but not with the Procedure.

3 pts.

Variables are consistent with the Procedure but not with the Problem or Question.

5 pts.

Variables are consistent with the Problem or Question and with the Procedure.

Results

0 pts.

Results seem fictional.

1 pt.

Results are unlikely and are not consistent with Procedure and Variables.

3 pts.

Results are unlikely but are consistent with Procedure and Variables.

5 pts.

Results are valid and are consistent with Procedure and Variables.

Conclusion

0 pts.

Conclusion is inconsistent and incomplete.

1 pt.

Conclusion is consistent with Results but is incomplete.

3 pts.

Conclusion is consistent with Procedure and Results but is incomplete.

5 pts.

Conclusion is valid, complete, consistent with Procedure and Results and shows sound reasoning.

Total points: __________ (100 pts. max.)

Oral Presentation Rubric:

 

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Posture and Gestures

0 pts.

Posture and gestures both make it difficult to communicate message effectively.

1 pt.

Gestures contribute to communicate message effectively but posture interferes.

3 pts.

Posture contributes to communicate message effectively but gestures interfere.

5 pts.

Posture and gestures both contribute to communicate message effectively.

Confidence

0-4 pts.

Student shows little or no confidence in oral explanation and when answering questions.

5-8pts.

Student shows some confidence in oral explanation and hesitates some when answering questions.

9-12 pts.

Student shows confidence in oral explanation but hesitates when answering questions.

13-15 pts.

Student shows confidence in oral explanation and when answering questions.

Vocal Quality (Volume)

0-2 pts.

Vocal quality makes it very difficult to understand explanation and interact through questions.

3-5 pts.

Vocal quality makes it somewhat difficult to understand explanation and interact through questions.

6-8 pts.

Vocal quality makes it easy to understand explanation and interact through questions.

9-10 pts.

Vocal quality makes it very easy to understand explanation and interact through questions.

Eye Contact

0 pts.

Student fails to maintain eye contact with the audience.

1 pt.

Student maintains eye contact with the audience part of the time.

3 pts.

Student maintains eye contact with the audience most of the time.

5 pts.

Student maintains eye contact with the audience at all times.

Time Range (1 to 2 min.)

0 pts.

Presentation is inadequate and not within the time assigned (too long or too short).

1 pt.

Presentation is incomplete but within the time assigned.

3 pts.

Presentation is complete but not concise and within the time assigned.

5 pts.

Presentation is complete and concise within the time assigned.

Total points: __________ (40 pts. max.)

The rubrics are guidelines and should be adapted to the grade level. Upper elementary students are expected to identify and manipulate variables. Lower elementary students are not expected to do that but will be commended if they accomplish it. All students should be able to come up with an authentic question or problem, to make a logical hypothesis, to perform an experiment that addresses the question or problem, and to draw thoughtful conclusions based on their results. Graphs should reflect the student’s ability according to his/her age. The same applies to the oral presentation.

  1. Choosing a Finalist:

Each of the students should have an opportunity to present their project before judges, even if it happens in their classroom. This will also give the finalists and the judges practice before the big event in Interlomas.

Procedures:

Students should follow these steps to participate in the Science Fair:

1. Choose a topic of their interest.

2. Ask a question or present a problem they are curious about.

3. Make a hypothesis.

4. Design an experiment to answer their question or address their problem.

5. Identify the control and experimental variables.

6. Gather the materials necessary for the experiment.

7. Perform the experiment at home or at school under adult supervision and with safety in mind.

8. Record their observations and measurements.

9. Communicate them in writing and with graphs.

10. Draw their conclusions.

The result of the experiment could confirm their hypothesis, prove it wrong, or raise more questions that could be explored in the future, and all of those options can be correct.

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