It’s back to school, and school means an eventual science project! Do not fear it. While it’s true that not everybody loves a science fair, it’s also true that some people do. In my experience as a parent and as a teacher, the kids who enjoy the science fair the most tend to be the students who did it themselves.
All those huge fancy projects obviously created by adults are NOT what the science fair is all about, and it is definitely not what the science fair should be.
Parents, we expect your young lower elementary children to produce science projects that look like they were made by young lower elementary students. A seven-year-old child doesn’t usually submit a nuclear reactor lettered by a calligraphy expert and put together by NASA.
A good science fair judge likes a science project that is, without a shadow of a doubt, thought up and put together by the student.
Parents, your job, during science fair season, is to provide materials, advice, and pats on the back. Keep your hands OFF the actual project.
See that science project up there? Andy was six years old that year. His parents supplied him with magazines, books, and suggestions, and he decided what he wanted to do and did it all by himself.
These two science projects might not look professional, but that’s because they’re not. They were thought up and created by small children, and I can guarantee you that their parents did nothing but show support, provide materials, and stand back.
How can I guarantee that? Easy.
These are MY children and I am the parent who put her hands behind her back and did NOT help. These projects are the honest results of two small children’s ideas and labor.
Which is exactly what a science project is supposed to be.
Back off the science project, parents. It’ll be hard – I know – but it’s how it’s supposed to be. Anything else is cheating.
If you need help getting ideas, Steve Spangler’s website is full of wonderful ideas, most of which can be done by children with little or no help from an adult.
Now, sit down with your kids and discuss what they’re interested in so their science project will reflect that. A science project isn’t something that can be done overnight – start planning well in advance.
Tomorrow would be a good time.