Non-competitive science fairs are great for Kindergarten to Grade 7 students. There are different types of science fair projects, such as the experiment project, which tests a specific hypothesis, the invention project, in which children try to develop new things and/or techniques, and the study project, where students create a collection of items and then compare them in insightful ways.
In a nutshell, students decide what they’ll do and how they’ll do it, they gather the materials, talk about their ideas with their teacher or parents, do their experiments, inventions, or studies and keep detailed notes of all their experiments, testings, measurements and observations. This is all pretty complicated for a five-year old and hopefully the following tips will put it into perspective.
1. Make science fair projects age appropriate. Science fair projects that match the kindergarten science skills list are preferable.
2. A project that represents mostly parent thinking, planning and presentation, benefits the parent more than the child.
3. Don’t push your students and their parents to complete an involved science project. There will be many opportunities in future grades for more difficult tasks.
4. A science project that involves using the five senses to make observations and sharing this information with pictures, charts, or demos is a great start.
5. Keep science fair projects non-competitive for kindergarten. Young students will benefit from being part of a large science event where all participants are appreciated.
6. Encourage parents to talk with their children about their project, to ask them what they are wondering about it, what questions they have, to keep the activities hands on, and to find more than one way to solve problems. Have them ask the children how they want to share their observations and discoveries. The point is that the child has opportunities to think things through, not just follow steps given by an adult.
7. If children have had prior opportunities recording their observations in class at science centers, they will be familiar with the process when completing a science fair project.
8. Remember – Keep It Simple – it’s kindergarten!
The child will(with support if necessary):
- Pick a topic from the following :
- Life Sciences – characteristics of living things
- Physical science identify the properties of non-living objects
- Earth and Space Science features of the local environment
- Include skills of observation, collecting, and communicating
- Collect everything they need
- Do the experiment or study or inventive process
- Record their observations with drawings, words, photos, or other means
- Make a backboard with wonderful kindergarten (not parent!!) drawings
- Plan how to arrange the presentation
The parent will:
- Help find materials for the child
- Try not to interfere, take over, make too many suggestions!
- Follow the child’s line of inquiry or interests, rather than their own or a more scientific one
- Offer “I wonder what would happen if…” type of statements if the child seems stuck
- Not worry if the presentation looks imperfect (it will!)