Benefits of a science fair
May, 7, 2012
by Jenni Sebora

This is the sixth year in a row my husband and I have traveled with one or more of our children to participate in the regional science fair. It has become one of our favorite family days of the year. We have observed great benefits of participation in this academic activity and process.

Students pick an area of interest, and then focus on a particular topic. The students then do research on the topic. After gathering the information, they form a question and a prediction, which is called the purpose and hypothesis. Students must then perform an experiment, examine the results after the experiment is completed, and draw conclusions from their results.

The formulation of a project and then actually performing the experiment may spark a lifelong interest in the sciences, and may even lead to a career in a field of science someday for the young scientist.

Even if your child is like my sixth-grade daughter, who was asked this year by one of the judges if she wanted to be a scientist and answered, “Maybe,” there are great lifelong benefits to participation.

Critical thinking and investigative skills are at the top of the list. Students learn research methods and then how to apply the scientific method. Imagination, organization, and communication are skills the students use in the whole process.

For students to do well in the competition aspect of the science fair, they must follow the scientific method. They must identify control and independent variables, repeat their experiments more than once, show data of the results, and display their board in an organized manner. The oral presentation is a great factor in how the students fare in the judging.

When students are exuberant about their topic/project and can explain it in an understandable manner, this has a very positive impact on their score.

This is a skill for life. Students learn to also work independently, as well as in a group if they did their project with others. My own children have completed a science fair project with other students, as well as doing a project independently.

Last but not least, students in the science fair are recognized for their hard work and academic achievement, which should not be overshadowed by athletic participation and achievements.

People will always have to be thinkers in life, no matter what they do, and that is why participation in projects such as the science fair are important.

Another thing that helps the students in this process is the support of parents, so the student can participate and fully understand the requirements.

When the science fair process – the scientific method – is taught in school and students are given one-on-one time and helped in school, the opportunities for all children improve.

Our youngest daughter is in second grade and can’t wait for next year, when she can finally do a science fair project. She has lots of ideas, as she has been attending science fairs since she was 2 years old.

Onward with science fair projects, and that is a good thing.

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