Science Experiments and Fairs
Science fairs play an integral role in building students’ confidence in finding answers to questions of their interest and developing proficiency in the scientific method. Preparing for the fairs also help students to learn how to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing about their scientific process and findings.
Furthermore, the science fairs require
students to manage their time in order to complete a large scale independent project by a certain deadline.
First through fourth grade students conduct their science exhibitions every year. For four to six weeks, the students practice the steps of the scientific method, formulate their testable questions, make prediction/hypothesis, test their hypothesis, perform data collection and analysis, and arrive at their conclusion.
A common question that arises among the audience during the presentations is What is a testable question? A testable question is one that can be answered through hands-on experimentation (e.g., direct observation, measured with scientific tools) by the student. The key difference between a general interest question and a testable question is that testable questions involve changing one thing to observe or measure the effect on another item. This means that a testable question contains two parts: an independent variable (changeable by the student) and a dependent variable (measured by the student in the experiment).
Testable questions follow this format: How does changing the independent variable affect the dependent variable? An example of an untestable question is How do rockets fly? The testable version of this question would be, How does changing the shape of a rocket's payload (pointed nose of the rocket) change its flight? The science fairs are presented to parents, other students, and faculty. Each student makes a display to showcase the steps involved in their experiment and practices explaining these steps to others without reading off of their board