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Science Fair Guide

An Innovative World
Shelby County Elementary Science Fair February 27,2012 - February 29, 2012
The Great Hall 1900 South Germantown Road, Germantown, TN (901) 751-7661

Shelby County Elementary

Science Fair Grades K-6

An Innovative World
February 27, 2012 - February 29, 2012 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Tuesday Wednesday February 27, 2012 8am. (noon) 6 p.m. February 28, 2012 8 a.m. 2:00 p.m. Viewing 5p 7p February 29, 2012 10:00 a.m. 6 p.m. Project Set-Up* Judging (Closed to the public) Open to the Public Open House Project Pick-Up



Tuesday TBA Awards Ceremony**

*Exhibits will be set up in the Great Hall Germantown, TN. **Awards Ceremony will be held at Southwind High School Auditorium at 6p 7p

Deadline for school registration list is February 10th, 2012 Shelby County Schools Contact: Dedric McGhee Phone: 321-2571 FAX 321-2566 dlmcghee@scsk12.org


Science Fairs can be exciting and magnificent affairs. They provide wonderful opportunities for children to examine and explore a host of scientific questions and a wealth of science topics. Most students are enthusiastic and excited about pursuing a science fair project: yet, it is not unusual for that exhilaration to wane as the actual science fair approaches. In the end, parents are frequently recruited to complete the designated project. Insufficient planning by the students in concert with inadequate attention to details often results in projects quickly assembled on or two nights before the fair and hastily packed off to school. A proliferation of baking soda and vinegar volcanoes and Solar System models constructed with Styrofoam balls attests to the lack of creativity or forethought in many science fair projects. The following pages are designed to provide ideas, strategies and techniques, which will make a planned science fair a pleasant and enjoyable part of the class and school program. The following suggestions, however, are not required. You are encouraged to modify and alter these ideas in conjunction with the resources and time available. Above all, the success of your science fair will be largely dependent upon partnerships you establish with your students.

What is a Science Fair Project?

A science fair project is a unique way for students to pose questions for which they must seek out answers, satisfying their own curiosity about the world around them. Projects allow students to experiment, make decisions, form and re-form hypotheses, test and examine ideas, seek solutions, and most important, learn more about and their world. It represents the efforts of a students investigation into some area of interest and provides a way for students to share the results of those investigations. Through the development of the project, students gain a first-hand appreciation of the work of scientists and the value of their discoveries. Science fair projects consist of three essential components: the display unit, the exhibit materials and the written report. Together, these elements present a complete and thorough examination of an area of interest, a collection of new knowledge, or the results of a self-initiated experiment.

Display Backdrop
The display unit ( also known as the backboard) is critical to the presentation. It is what people see first and establishes the work of the students efforts. As a kind of advertisement for the project, it must be well constructed and designed for maximum visual effect. Usually, it stands on the table behind the other exhibit materials.

Exhibit Materials
The materials, items, devices and samples shown in front of the backdrop unit can be an exciting part of any science project. These materials should reflect the items used throughout the students investigation. They should provide a firsthand look at the scope of the project. As a rule of thumb, the display items should tell a story or illustrate a concept sufficiently so that the student scientist need not be present to explain the project to an observer.

Written Report
The written report is a compilation of everything the student did to investigate the selected topic. It contains all the information the student collected or learned during the weeks leading up to the actual fair. Whether the student decides to do an experiment, assemble a collection of objects, demonstrate a scientific principle, conduct some research into a specific area of science, or show a particularly interesting piece of scientific apparatus, it will be necessary to record observations and information in written form. The written report provides observers with vital data on the scope of a project as well as the students understanding of the topic. Any written report for a science fair project should include the following: Title Page Table of Contents Statement of Purpose Hypothesis (for the scientific investigation) Research Materials Procedure Observations and Results Conclusion Bibliography Acknowledgements

How To Have a Successful School Science Fair

Planning and coordinating a successful science fair can be an exciting (and nervetesting) experience. Successful science fairs demand both time and energy; nevertheless, the payoff can be tremendous. Students who gain an increased awareness of the importance of science in their lives are able to investigate areas of interest that add to that knowledge base. Here are some suggestions you may wish to consider in preparing students for a science fair. The reward is in the doing It should be emphasized to students that the object of the science fair is not to win a first place trophy or a blue ribbon, but rather to participate. Teachers can ignite student interest by emphasizing that everyone who enters receives some form of recognition- whether it is in the form of a letter of appreciation or a certificate of participation. Tie the fair into other subjects. A science fair can and should be an integral part of the entire elementary curriculum. For example, writing the project report can be a continuing language arts activity. Using science trade books within and throughout the reading program is a natural extension. Math skills can be reinforced through the measurement or estimation of project amounts. Whole curriculum approaches maximize interest, increase participation, and underscore the significance of this even as a cross-curricular effort. Involve the whole school Work with other individuals in the school to provide a team approach to the science fair. For example, the librarian can prepare a special display of books about the science experiments, famous scientists, scientific information, or literature with science themes. Engage the community Students should be encouraged to promote the science fair beyond the school. For example, students can: -Create a classroom or school newsletter and distribute it to local businesses. -Design a special letter and notes to parents. -Send invitations to school administrators or other community leaders. -Write news release about the fair and send them to the local newspaper. -Display projects during PTA meetings.

Keep parents informed. For many parents, the thought of an impending science fair can be intimidating, to say the least. It is important to keep parents informed and involved to ensure success for all students. For example, a special calendar can be sent home outlining a timetable for completing each element of the science fair project. Establish a time table and stick to it. The major factor in most unsuccessful science fair projects is the lack of proper planning. Establishing a timetable for each stage during the project development ensures students enough time for sufficient investigation. Science projects must be investigated and constructed over a period of time. Keep it exciting. Make it fun. Above all, demonstrate by your own attitude that science fair projects are fun. Your approach to the fair goes a long way toward ensuring the success.

Helping Students Select a Topic

Choosing an appropriate area of investigation is often the most difficult part of the entire science fair process. Typically, the shear number of potential topics overwhelms students. It is important, however, that the student make the final choice of a science fair topic. These are some questions you may wish to ask students when assisting them in making appropriate choices. Interests What kinds of things do you enjoy doing? What area of science interests you the most? What are your hobbies or free-time activities? What are your special skills or talents? What have we studied that you would like to learn more about? Time Will you be able to spend some time on this project every week for a minimum of five weeks? How long do you think you will need to gather preliminary information about this topic? Do you have other activities or responsibilities ( e.g., Little League, scouts, etc.) that may affect the time you have to work on the project? Material What special materials do you think youll need for this project? Do you have those materials at home or will you need to buy them? Will others be able to help you obtain the materials?

On-Line Science Fair Resources

Some suggestions to get you startedhttp://www.internet4classrooms.com


In considering any potential topic for a science fair project, students should also think about how the project might best be presented. Science fair projects can be set up in one ( or a combination) of the following five categories: Experiments These presentations allow students to post a problem, design an experiment to investigate and record and report the final results. Demonstration Here, the student demonstrates a particular science principle or fact. The demonstration may showcase how something works, a science phenomenon, or how something is created naturally. Research In a research project, the students investigate a chosen area of science by consulting primary and secondary resources. That is, students will need to consult reading materials from libraries, museums, and government agencies. At the same time, experts such as scientists, health care workers, and county agents, can be interviewed. Collections Collections are an assembly of science-related items, such as rocks, photographic equipment, aquatic plants, types of levers, etc. Usually, collection projects are extensions of hobbies or other free-time activities. Apparatus In this type of project students display some kind of scientific apparatus or instrument and describe its use or function in detail.

These projects are to be true experiments, which means that the answer is not found in a book but by conducting scientific investigation. 1. The following should be written and displayed on the exhibit: Question Hypothesis Materials Variables Procedure Results (data display in table and/ or graph form Conclusion 2. Data should be written in a log as you work and should be available at your display in the original form. Scientists do not recopy to make their work neatthey work neatly during the investigation. If there is a mistake, draw one line through it and proceed. Do not white out or scribble out the data. 3. Equipment used in the investigations may be included in the display.

Diagram shows the specific parts that need to be included but they do not need to be in this specific order. Be creative but follow a logical order that the viewer can learn from.

Keys to a Successful Project

Any number of standards can judge success in a science fair, but ribbons, trophies, or other awards should not measure it. If a student has selected a topic, investigated it according to a planned design, and reported the results of that investigation, then that student has succeeded. Winning first place or being grand champions is certainly praiseworthy but the ultimate goal of taking part in the fair should be to discover and learn new things abut the world (or universe) in which we live. General considerations ____Does the project represent the students own work? Although students may receive assistance in investigating their topic and designing their respective projects, the final effort must be the students- not the scientist, teacher, parent or other adult. ___Is the project the result of careful planning? Successful projects cannot be completed overnight. They are the outcome of a systematic plan of action carried out over a period of time. ___Does the project demonstrate the students creativity and resourcefulness? Students should be encouraged to contribute their own creativity and ingenuity to the investigation and design of a particular project. ___Does the project show a thorough understanding of the chosen topic? Students need to investigate their chosen area as completely as possible. The project must reflect the results of research and investigation over an extended period. ____Is the chosen topic too broad? Students need to be careful not to choose a topic that is too broad. They need to focus on a topic that is doable and focus on a specific point in their area of interest. Projects that have too broad a topic only skim over the top and have not depth of investigation.

Specific Considerations ____Does the project include a notebook, log or final report? The display should include the appropriate project report. Such a record provides observers with information on the subject: it documents the students work, and offers insight into a students overall comprehension of the topic. ____Is the project sturdy and well constructed? Using the proper materials and taking care in assembling a project are important, particularly if the display will be standing for several days. ___Is the display three-dimensional? In addition to the display backdrop and accompanying written report, the inclusion of samples, apparatuses, collections, or other items is vital to the project. These should be arranged attractively on the display table. ___Is the information accurate? Any data gathered from outside resources, such as printed materials or interviews with experts and data obtained form experiments must be presented accurately. ___Does the display present a complete story?
The student should carefully identify the topic chosen for investigation, what was done during the investigation, the results, and a conclusion

A Science Fair Project is NOT: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Only a report. Necessarily a new discovery or an original piece of research. Constructing a plastic model from a kit. An enlarged model or drawing A week-end chore One, two or even three posters. Something done by your parents. A volcano or model of the solar system.

Tips and Options for Science Fair Coordinators

Post theme and schedule for Shelby County Fair for teachers.

Set for school level fair. Set date so school registration list can be submitted by February 10, 2012. Set guidelines for school fair.

Distribute guidelines to students, parents and school staff. Decide if and what school level recognition will be given. Solicit judges from area high schools, the community and local organizations. Have a number of judges. Having too few judges is hard on the judges and not fair to the students. If your number of judges is limited, consider asking teachers to screen projects and select projects for further judging. Organize a judges packet Criteria for judging projects Explanation of criteria Pencil Clipboard

Select projects for entry into the Shelby County Fair to represent your school. THERE IS A MAXIMUM OF 15 PROJECTS PER SCHOOL.

Group projects are limited to 3 students per project. Note: every project should be displayed at the school fair, not just the good ones. Remember that this is a learning experience for all students.

PROJECT # __________

Shelby County Elementary Science Fair Judging Criteria CREATIVE THOUGHT Original idea, question, thought Unique approach Ingenious use of materials, equipment Overall, highly creative Excellent Good Fair 25......20....15....10... SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT Question clearly stated and defined Hypothesis clearly stated Comprehensive background on topic clearly presented Procedures for experiment clearly and comprehensively discussed, including all variables Analysis of results with sound conclusion presented Practical implications of results discussed Recommendations (new questions) for future research included

Excellent Good Fair 25......20....15....10... THOROUGHNESS AND ACCURACY Repeated trials conducted to ensure results are not due to chance Observational, math and/or design skills are accurate and detailed Meticulous records kept Overall, all aspects of study are exceptionally thorough

Excellent Good Fair 25.....20....15....10... DISPLAY Project title and sub-titles clear and descriptive Well-organized; logical flow of presentation Charts and graphs correctly and clearly labeled Correct spelling Overall, visually attractive; exceptional clarity and neatness

Excellent Good Fair 25......20....15....10... TOTAL POINTS_______________

Judging is closed to the public. Items of value that are part of projects should be removed at the conclusion of the judging (see Schedule of Events). Fair officials are not responsible for loss or damage. Judges decisions are final. See rubric for judging criteria.

Upon registration, assigned numbers will be given to identify projects and they will be mailed to the school. Multi-grade projects must enter in the category of the highest grade. NOTE CHANGE: Group projects are limited to 2 students per project. Rule change as of September 2011.

Location: The Great Hall Germantown, TN

The following guidelines will expedite the process: There will be no on-site registration. Problems with registration can be addressed on site. Project displays must have assigned project numbers in the top right hand corner of the display. Displays and reports are to be free of names and identifiable pictures. Project Identification Forms must be placed in a plain envelope and attached to the back of all project boards with the following required information: student name(s), assigned project number, contact person, telephone and fax numbers.

Award Categories
Grand Prize
Primary Division- Grades K-3 Certificate, trophy Intermediate Division- Grades 4-6 Certificate, trophy The following awards will be given to each grade level within each division: First Place Second Place Third Place Trophy, certificate Trophy, certificate Trophy, certificate

Special Awards The following organizations and corporate sponsors select projects for special recognition based on the projects focus:
American Heart Association American Institute of Architects Buckeye Technologies Delta Beverage Hershey Environmental Award Memphis Light Gas and Water Memphis Organization of Science Teachers Shelby County Environmental Commission Recycling Award The University of Memphis (C & I) UT Certificate of Achievement Award

Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society Award LifeBlood Ellendale Electric And others who chose to recognize quality work by students.

School Rivers Edge Elementary


School Registration Form

Science Fair Coordinator Mrs. Kim

Phone# 777-9311

Fax# 777-9312

MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PROJECTS PER SCHOOL IS 15(FIFTEEN) Grades K-3 Class Projects Grades 4-6 Group or Individual Projects


TITLE OF PROJECT STUDENT NAME(S) FOR GRADES 4-6 ONLY For group projects list no more than 3 names

1. How Does Your Garden Grow? 4. Making Music

TEACHER(S) LAST, NAME Brown, Louis Smith,


Class(K-3), Group, or Individual


7. How Dirt Can Clean

10.Investigating Foods

Misty Mourning William Black Homer Pyle Mary Person Mike Mann Ann Abel

Stacy Johnson

Joel White

Principals Signature
Deadline for School Registration Form(s) is February 5, 2012


Please return Shelby County forms to : 160 S. Hollywood Memphis, TN 38112 FAX 321-2566 or email ldoles@scsk12.org and cc. d1mcghee@scsk12.org .

Shelby County Elementary Science Fair 2012 SCHOOL REGISTRATION FORM

School Science Fair Coordinator E-MAIL______________________________ Phone# Fax#

MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PROJECTS PER SCHOOL IS 15(FIFTEEN) Grades K-3 Class Projects Grades 4-6 Group or Individual Projects
STUDENT NAME(S) FOR GRADES 4-6 ONLY For group projects list no more than 3 names




Class(K-3), Group, or Individual

Principals Signature

Date Deadline for School Registration Form(s) is February 10, 2012

Dedric McGhee 321-2571 160 S. Hollywood Memphis, TN 38112

FAX 321-2566

Shelby County Elementary Science Fair 2012

School Science Fair Coordinator



E-MAIL______________________________ MAXIMUM


Grades K-3 Class Projects

Grades 4-6 Group or Individual Projects


TITLE OF PROJECT STUDENT NAME(S) FOR GRADES 4-6 ONLY For group projects list no more than 3 names



Class(K-3), Group, or Individual

Principals Signature

Date Deadline for School Registration Form(s) is February 10, 2012