Science Fairs Under the 'Scope



EDC Participates in NSF Video Showcase
May 2019, EDC
STEM for All Video Showcase highlights innovations in science, mathematics teaching, and learning. Read the full article…

Why It’s Time to Rethink School Science Fairs
April 2018, Mind/Shift
A repost of the story below, “Are Science Fairs Unfair?” Read the full article…

Are Science Fairs Unfair?
March 2018, The Hechinger Report
Springtime is science fair season. Thousands of kids across the country, from elementary through high school, spend weeks or months coaxing seedlings to grow, building devices to harness solar energy and carefully mixing acids and bases. Read the full article…

Are Science Fairs Worth All That Trouble? Study Seeks Some Answers
November 2017, EdWeek Blog
It’s something of a rite of passage for middle school students (and parents) to struggle with musical water glasses, baking soda volcanoessprouting yams, and red cabbage indicators in the science fair. Surprisingly, we don’t actually know a ton about how (or whether) the fairs help to improve student achievement or interest in science. But thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, a team of researchers is now analyzing a national survey and case studies of more than a dozen schools for clues about how the fairs might help pay dividends for students. Read the full article…

Putting Science Fairs to the Test
November 2017, EDC
This year, thousands of middle school students will participate in science fairs across the United States. These events will inspire some students to embark on a career in STEM; they may also launch others into fame. Yet despite their popularity, little research has been done about science fairs. Is there a best way to hold a science fair? What makes for an effective one? And how can teachers ensure that all students have an equal chance to participate? Read the full article…

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.
Read more…