See email below that was sent out to parents on 4/6/20
Dear Running Springs Families,
As you are aware, these are challenging times for families in our community dealing with remote schooling, teleworking, job loss, caring for family members, and many other newfound daily stressors. All of our lives have been affected, and some families have been severely impacted by the fallout of the pandemic and economic situation.
My heart goes out to all of you who are struggling at this time. You are not alone and we will get through this.
In sensitivity to these ongoing challenges and due to the school closure for the remainder of the school year, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the science fair this year.
As a scientist and advocate of STEM education, I still hope your family can find time for science activities over the next few months. Watch a science show or nature documentary. Do a science experiment anyways. Build something creative or learn a new skill in the arts. There are so many great resources out there!
Here is a short list of my personal favorites (off the top of my head):
- watch TED talks!
- Free to learn block coding at scratch.mit.edu
- Watch “Brainchild” on Netflix
- Check out education.com/ for grade appropriate activities and step by step instructions to design cool things with household products or do at home science projects. It was free for me to join with a google account and access content.
Thank you for your dedication to promoting STEM in your child’s’ education. We look forward to having a vibrant science fair next year! If you have any special questions or concerns, please let me know.
Helpful Resources (relevant for next year…)
Below there will be helpful tips and resources (in no particular order)
- I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this fun and helpful resource to help students brainstorm ideas and learn about HOW to choose and then execute a good science fair project. It will also help guide them through the whole process the right way.
- By the way, they sell cheap display boards at Hobby Lobby for a few bucks.
- One way to make a neat looking presentation board is to type your sections on 8.5x11in powerpoint slides, and then print them out and paste them on the board. This way you can control and play around with font styles (don’t go crazy), colors, etc.
- It is best to do an experiment where students follow the scientific method. Here is a teachable example of the process:
- formulate a testable hypothesis (fertilizer A will help a plant grow faster because it is more popular than fertilizer B). Kinda boring, but sounds like a reasonable guess.
- design an experiment (place apple seeds in 3 pots – 1 pot with dirt (a control that has no fertilizer), 1 pot with fertilizer A, and 1 pot with fertilizer B).
- collect data, in this case by taking pictures every few days and documenting – when did the seed first sprout out of the ground? How tall was each sprout after 10 days? 20 days? 30 days? Use a ruler and take precise measurements.
- analyze results and present the data in graphs, tables, charts, pictures, etc.
- draw your conclusion from the data, e.g. I found that contrary to my original hypothesis, fertilizer B resulted in faster growth of the apple sprout. Furthermore, I researched the number of commercials run by each company and found out that fertilizer A was shown 100 times more often in commercials fertilizer B, which could explain why it was more popular even though it performed worse in our test.
Other helpful links are listed below in no particular order. Judges note: Use these for inspiration and talk through ideas with your children. It would be OK to copy an idea you find exactly, as the student will still learn about doing the scientific process and producing a report on it, BUT the very best ideas for a personalized project will come from the students themselves building on an idea they see.
You can poke around here for some inspiration and well written articles: https://www.thoughtco.com/chemistry-projects-4133589
This website is easy to navigate by grade and has some cool ideas: https://www.education.com/science-fair/second-grade/