Science Fairs Under the 'Scope

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How to Survive the School Science Fair
September 2015, Wall Street Journal
Many students will soon bring home the assignment their parents dread most—the annual science-fair project. Preparing for a science fair is like homework on steroids. Children must come up with an idea, run an experiment and report on their findings using data, graphs and a poster display. The science-fair project also tests parents’ ability to collaborate with their children: Even the most independent child may need help getting materials or scheduling in the time to complete it. For parents, figuring out how to provide enough support, but not too much, is a challenge. Read the full article…

One Thing I Don’t Miss While Homeschooling
June 2015, Out In Left Field
The mandatory science fair project. But here’s a great idea for a project: Is holding a middle school science fair a worthwhile endeavor? A team of science educators and researchers funded by a $2 million National Science Foundation grant is hoping to find out. Read the full blog…

Hey, STEM Funders: What If Science Competitions Aren’t Good for Kids?
May 2015, Inside Philanthropy
Judging from the philanthropic portfolios of the country’s big tech companies, you’d assume science competitions were launching armies of young geniuses to lead the nation in STEM fields. But for all the attention they get, how do we know if science competitions have a positive impact? Read the full article… (be sure to read our comment at the end!)

NSTA Express on Summer STEM | NGSS Implementation | Exploravision
May, 2015, NSTA
EDC is conducting a multi-year study of middle school science fairs, and is currently recruiting middle schools to participate. Learn more…

Study to Question the Value of Science Fairs
April 2015, Edweek Blog
“We don’t have an opinion about science fairs’ value,” said Levy. “We have a real passion for finding an answer about whether they do [have value] and what kind, and we have an appreciation for the scope and complexity of the question.”
Read the full blog…

Re-imagining Science Fairs
December 2014, EDC Learning and Teaching Blog
It is no wonder that Susan Messina’s “Fake Science Fair Poster” went viral on Facebook and Twitter. The poster hilariously captures the angst that science fairs can provoke—and likely triggered haunting memories for some parents and children nationwide. Yet amidst the humor, Susan had a sound and serious point. When she blogged about her poster on Huff Post, she expanded on that point, went on to suggest some ways in which schools could “re-imagine science fairs,” and noted, “Surely, we can figure out a better way to excite students about STEM fields.”
Read the full blog…

EDC To Conduct National Study of Science Fairs
October 2014, EDC Learning and Teaching News
In a new, four-year National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study, an EDC team led by Abigail Jurist Levy (at left), Jackie DeLisi, and Marian Pasquale—and including Erica Fields, Janna Kook, Tracy McMahon, Leana Nordstrom, and Kerry Ouellet—will investigate the impact that science fair participation has on students’ mastery of science and engineering practices, as well as the role that participation can play in sparking students’ interest in science education and careers. The team will also analyze the costs of implementing a school-based science fair to identify the most cost-effective approaches to strengthening science fairs and bringing the most potent aspects of the science fair experience into the everyday science learning of middle school students nationwide.
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