It started with a question.
Such as, “Why does a volcano erupt?” Or “Why does the sun come up.”
From there, students from kindergarten through second grade conducted investigations to seek answers. The results came in the form of essays or self-standing display boards at the Northeast Campus.
The six-week family projects were part of a “Primary Science Fair” with self-standing display boards featured to the right of the reception desk.
“The kids got a chance to work with their families on a project and a chance to work independently,” said Ms. Karen Wells, a second-grade teacher who led the effort.
The students didn’t start out cold. Ms. Wells gave them some ideas by directing them to sciencebuddies.org, a hands-on resource for home and school.
The investigation required the following elements:
- A question to be tested or a problem to be solved.
- Materials – supplies needed for the investigation.
- Clear procedures (steps) that make up the experiment.
- Collected data - what the student observes when the student performs the investigation
- Analysis of the data – think about and discuss what the student observed. Use charts or graphs to organize the data. What were the results
- Conclusion – what did the student learn from the data he or she collected. What new questions resulted and what would the student do if he or she continued the project?
- Practice presenting the project to others.
That’s some pretty heady stuff.
The project also required that all parts of the self-standing display board be typed or neatly written. Pictures with captions, by camera or hand drawn, were “strongly encouraged” to help the student’s audience clearly understand all parts of the investigation.
The project was not graded; it was strictly voluntary. But all 21 students who participated will receive a certificate and a ribbon, Ms. Wells said. Judges will determine the top three displays and will award the students first, second and third place medals.
The project demonstrates one type of skill students learn by studying science, technology, engineering and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.
“We want to intertwine STEM in our curriculum to prepare our scholars for the real world," Ms. Wells said.