Whether the words "science fair" fill you with excitement or dread, it's an experience most parents will endure at some point during their child's school career.
Yes, the prospect of a science fair project can be daunting. But with smart planning and the right resources, the whole experience can be manageable, enjoyable—even fun!—for parents and students alike. Think of it as a learning opportunity for the entire family, including younger siblings who can watch, absorb, and come up with hypotheses and ideas of their own.
For those phobic about all things scientific, keep an open mind: You'll likely find today's approach to science education much more interesting than when you were a kid. With an emphasis on hands-on investigations, field work, and doing science like a "real scientist," school science is more relevant, creative than ever.
Your child will be learning about the scientific method, and a whole lot more. The science fair experience builds many important skills: self-discipline, time management, project management, and written, verbal and visual communication skills, to name a few. The importance of patience and precision comes into play nearly every step of the way. Whether this plays to your child's strengths or presents challenges, it is immensely valuable.
Advance planning is key for all involved. Get a handle on the scope of the entire process right from the start. That way you'll be able to anticipate the workload and figure out how it will fit within the context of your student's schedule of school work and extracurricular activities. (Not to mention your own schedule!)
The better prepared you are as a parent, the more time your child will have to tinker, investigate, measure, observe, make mistakes, try new things, and get the most out of the process.
Create the Perfect Presentation
Whether they're the kind of person who loves to design and decorate and dabble with computer graphics, or the one who always opts for the standard black-and-white report cover, this is a time for students to get creative. This section can help you guide your child to creating the perfect presentation.
Although you may have a child who's super responsible and proactive at every step, it's a smart idea to check out the shopping checklist yourself.
Helping your student doesn't have to be daunting task! Read through these FAQs to answer the questions running through your brain.
Major Sticking Points for Students
From experience, we know that students get tripped up on certain areas more than others. These points in the process are good ones to monitor and to make sure you can help your child over potential areas of difficulty.
Helping Your Student
Being there for unconditional support is the most important thing you can do by far, but your child may need help in other ways.