Science Fair Details
Introduction to Science Fair
Which laundry detergent actually cleans the best? Could I make a better device than a shovel to move snow? How could I build a device made up of many simple machines that could move a golf ball with only natural forces?
Have you ever asked yourself (or your teacher), "How/why/when will I ever use the information studied in class"? Or, have you ever wished you could work on an activity of your own choosing?
The annual Madison Science Fair provides enriching responses to these questions.
Beginning in January, students working individually or in groups of two, will develop one of the three different styles of projects that will be presented at the annual Madison Science Fair during open house in February. Specific requirements for each style of project are provided in the Process section, but presentation methods are up to individual creativity (power point or video presentations, for example).
Training for the three projects will begin after Winter break. Training will take place after school from 3:00 – 3:30 pm. Attendance at only one afternoon training session is required. Rewards for participation in the fair will either be extra credit, or credit for fulfilling project requirements in science class. Students need to consult their individual science teachers for credit options.
NOTE TO PARENTS: Whenever independent project work is assigned, there is always the age-old debate about excessive parent involvement. While this possibility is inherent to this kind of process (i.e.. "you can't stop it anyway"), a few guidelines should be mentioned. Please only provide assistance that does not subtract from learning experience. For this process to be the most effective, it is critical that your student applies effort and "struggles" with the challenge! Assistance should only be for reasons of safety, physical limitations, or excessive requirements that are supplemental to the actual challenge being undertaken. Please contact the teacher sponsors if you are not sure about what assistance to offer. Appropriate involvement can be a very positive activity for the whole family!
The three different styles of projects share a lot in common, but specific procedures for the completion of each do differ. Each project uses different skills and kinds of thinking. Students should direct specific questions to one of the sponsor teachers, who will be available for assistance after school each day. Please refer to the individual sections below to review the procedures for the project of your interest:
graphics courtesy of microsoft.com
Here are a few sites for projects, but there are many more! Simply type in "science fair" or "Rube Goldberg" in the search screen and you will get a variety of hits!Science Project resources:
Rube Goldberg resources:
Each style of project has separate requirements and skill demands, so each will have a different form of evaluation. However, all projects must be completed and presented at the science fair during open house in February. It is highly recommended that science projects be entered in the regional fair at College of DuPage in March, and Rube Goldberg projects be entered in the Illinois Institute of Technology competition during Young Engineer's Week in February. Exact dates for these follow-on competitions will be supplied as they are determined. Current evaluations for the three projects are as follows:
- Rube Goldberg projects (see this year's requirements in IIT hand outs
By the end of this activity, the student will have actually utilized many science principles and problem solving skills, in an activity of his/her own choosing. An opportunity to pursue personal interest and employ science/technology knowledge will have been undertaken, with appropriate standards and requirements for completion.
Depending on the project completed, the student will have participated in one, or more of the following:
Utilized scientific methodology to solve a problem, or answer a question (i.e. science project).
Explored his/her creative and constructive abilities.
Responded to a specific challenge with imagination and creativity (i.e. Rube Goldberg project).
At this point, the student should reflect on the efforts he or she has made during the completion of this project. You have made the transition from a "science student" to a "scientist"!
The ultimate judgment of the value of any learning is in how it can be put to use in the world. The science fair requires students to utilize what they have learned along with their own individual creativity, in pursuit of a project of their own interest. This action encourages higher level thinking and skills.