Ways to Participate

science-teacherWelcome!  As a Science Fair Director, your job is very important.

Below are a few basics to talk to your school administrator about as you decide how your school can be involved. We will be publicizing all schools that are represented at SARSEF (March 29-April1 2017) in a full-page ad in the Arizona Daily Star!

 

Types of Projects

As you decide how your school or class will participate, you need to know that there are the three types of research projects your class can do and enter. (You may also combine.)

  1. Individual: Each student works on his or her own idea, and does their own research and project board.
  2. Team: Teams of two or three students decide on the same topic, and work together to research and present. (Each student is involved in all phases, versus divide and conquer.)
  3. Group or class project: (This option is ONLY available for grades K-5.) Four or more students, or an entire class, agree on one topic and work on it together. Each member of the group or class should be a part of the entire process, and keep their own lab book/journal with notes about the process and data.

Levels of Involvement

You have several options for just how involved your schools and teachers may be!

Option A:  The Ideal: Full-scale science research school

Do you believe that students need more practice as problem solvers? Do they need to improve their ability to think critically and creatively? Then take the challenge to become a full-scale science research school this year! Ask every teacher to be a “teacher of science,” and support every student as they enter a research project this year. We will help you get started.

Although only the top projects will go on to represent your school, EVERY child will have experienced what it is like to test an idea, control variables, follow a process, record data and form a conclusion following an idea of their choice from beginning to end.

Option B:  Everybody does something

Since, according to our national and Arizona state standards, all teachers are required to teach the Scientific Method, a school principal may want to ask EVERY teacher to complete the process with the minimum of one class project per teacher — and ideally, some teachers will also encourage individual, team or small group projects. Teachers can leave the topic choice to each student (preferred), or may use what is being taught in the curriculum that year to narrow the topic. By the middle of February, every teacher should have a minimum of ONE project that represents the best of his or her class to put up for display. This might be an individual or team project, or a class project. The Top 10 are selected by judges to move on to SARSEF.

Option C:  One teacher per grade level

A school principal may want to select the top science teacher at each grade level, or ask for a volunteer to complete this option. The teacher would allow each student to do his or her own project, or ask students to form teams or small groups so the number of projects is more manageable. In this option, students would be allowed to pursue something that they are curious about, and decide how to best test their idea, with guidance from the teacher. The Top 10 projects from these classes are sent on to represent the school.

Option D:  Limited grade levels

Although we believe that science research should begin at the kindergarten level and continue throughout all of a student’s years at school, for the first year or two that a school becomes involved, this may be too challenging. A school may decide to select just certain grade levels to participate and pioneer the process. The following year, it would flip and the other half of the school would participate.

Option E:  Pilot Year: Teacher leaders only and/or with curriculum-guided choice

Ask one or two of your top teachers to participate this first year. They will teach and use the Scientific Method to their students, and then decide whether to allow student choice of topics or limit the choice to one science unit already required by the curriculum. The process, data and results can be recorded as a class, in four or five teams or small groups, or each child can complete his or her own project. The top projects from these two classes will go on to SARSEF to represent your school.

Option F: Form a science club

Ask one or two teachers to commit to six to eight weeks for a science club that meets before or after school, and to guide the research process. Teach the process and help students find a topic. Meet each week to check on progress. Select top projects from the club members for SARSEF.

Option G: Parent as leaders

In some schools, parents have become the organizers and leaders for science research projects, and teachers are their supporters. In this option, teachers send home the basic steps and timelines for completing a project — we will provide these — and it is conducted at home. All projects are brought to a central location for judging on a certain date. Teachers from lower grades select the top projects from the upper grades, and vice versa. The research project can be optional – or it may be required as a part of the class science homework.

Option I:  At the very least: independent entries

If you cannot find a way to do any of the options listed above, then at the very least allow students to enter independently. Often students transfer from schools where science fair projects were very much a part of their world. They need to know that they can still enter, even if your school does not participate. Even if only ONE student from your school wants to enter, it is important to let them. 

Please let students know in the announcements or parent meetings that if they want to enter SARSEF, they may come to the office to “sign up” by a date of your choosing, indicating they would like to submit a project that they will be working on at home. Usually there are no more than a few. One school representative (who can be a parent) will need to be responsible for making sure there are no more than 10 projects, and for registering them online by March 10, 2017. If there are more than 10, a teacher particularly talented in science should be requested to choose the top projects.

To schedule a free school/classroom presentation sign up on our website.

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SARSEF is a program of the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation, which is an Arizona corporation organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes

as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code

Empowering Southern Arizona's K-12 students to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

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