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Teaching and learning objectives of science fair projects:

  • Project skills – planning and execution (decide what to do within student’s ability and resources, research alternatives and build a plan, execute the plan, and evaluate and present the results).
  • Learn the basics of the scientific method (problem, background research, hypothesis, design procedure, experiment, analyze results, refine procedure if needed, further experiments and analysis, conclusions – was hypothesis supported or not, communicate your findings).
  • Inquiry based learning – (Old Chinese proverb - "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.")
  • Academic “cross training” across many disciplines – science fair utilizes the skills of reading, writing formal papers, art and graphic design, typesetting, proof reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, statistics, computer science, critical thinking, logic, ethics, scientific methodology, background library research skills, the ability to teach oneself in a specialty field not taught in class, the power of self-discovery where the student learns something of his or her own research and ability, public speaking, the defense of one’s own thoughts and conclusions in front of “the experts,” and general project skills, such as researching alternatives, making a plan within the time and money budget, executing the plan, and evaluating the results.
    • Research skills – students will improve their ability to locate and learn information from a variety of library, expert, and worldwide resources
    • Creative thinking skills and problem solving – students will exercise their creative thinking skills both to come up with a unique question or problem and to overcome any problems, setbacks or difficulties that arise during the experiment
    • Logical thinking skills – students will use logical thinking to evaluate possible solutions to challenges that arise during the project.
    • Critical thinking skills – analyzing information and observations to decide both quality the quality of the information and how to use it.
           A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987:
           “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.” http://www.criticalthinking.org/
    • Communication skills – students use verbal, written, and visual communication skills to present their project ideas, problems and solutions, results, and recommendations and defend their own thoughts and conclusions in front of “experts.”
    • Self-direction skills – students will set goals, plan and execute a project. Students will utilize the ability to teach themselves in a specialty field not taught in their classroom and will experience the power of self-discovery where they learn something that they have pursued through their own efforts.

 


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