Making Science Fun with Science Competitions that Promote “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking

Science is FUN!

It is almost January, and educators and parents start the “Science Fair” discussion with children and students.  This year, there are some cool science contests out there and Google Science tops my list.

Regardless if Science was your thing or not, if asked, we all could probably pull forward one science fair memory from the recesses of our minds. Volcano eruptions, eye ball blinks, inertia, plant growth with various musical tunes you name it, science fair time can be an exciting time of discovery or a mad dash to finish a deadline imposed by the ominous science teacher.

The Important Role of the Science Teacher
Given the teacher and they way material is presented, science can be fun! The world of science can open many doors for children. Doors to worlds that can increase awareness of saving our planet, living a healthy life, or even saving a life one day, by creating a cancer-saving cure…imagine. Many children in this country have limitations on travel and are limited to specific environments and economic resources. However, science is that one area where it is “cool” to recycle, utilize imagination and create! Memories of utilizing paper towel and toilet roll holders to demonstrate magnetic pull, keeps bubbling up to remind me that in science, the sky is the limit on creativity and ingenuity.

Science Fair Contests

*Google Science Fair 2012

  1. Children must be 13-18 years old
  2. Individual or groups allowed; groups can consist of two or three teams only
  3. Children “Scientists” must create a Google account and submit a Sign-Up form online
  4. Once confirmation is given, plan, execute and cite results, remembering to follow directions given and complete all sections outlined on the Google Section Submission Site
  5. A two minute video or 20 page slide presentation giving an overview of project are required to enter contest…entries are due by April 4th with submission form

This is a great contest that can allow educators to collaborate from various schools to come together with “Science Teams”, churches and or youth groups to utilize science as a way to spark the imagination of our children and enhancing team building while instilling (hopefully) a love of science.

*International Online Science Contest

The International Online Science Contest website has a wealth of resources for teachers and parents. This site offers a variety of science contest that run all year. Students can visit this site to view other science projects and read judging tips to get an overall appreciation for the “Science Fair” process. Parents can visit site to read and download a Parent Guide that provides step-by-step instructions, parent testimonials and defines the roles of parents throughout the “Science Fair” process. This is a one-stop shop for learning all about Science Fairs and a great resource for classroom teachers as well.

Science Buddies

Science Buddies website is an all encompassing site that provides its reader with a list of various science competitions. Competitions are broken down by grade levels, format, eligibility and if teams are allowed. This is a great site for young people who might be interested at ages eight or nine in science and can watch some “advanced” science fair project videos on various projects to plant a seed for the future. For schools who do not have a “gifted” or advanced science program, this might be the site for you.

“Out of the Box” Teaching

A school, with a very creative, “out of the box” science teacher, could utilize the contest found here or at any of the mentioned websites, and take students who demonstrate an aptitude for science to the next level. Teachers who are looking to collaborate or parents who want to take more of an active role in this process can find science community blogs as well at http://www.sciencebuddies.org to glean insight and support throughout the Science Fair process or to even supplement or increase the love of science in the life of a child.

Science Fair Project Ideas

Happy creating and for additional science fair project ideas, check out the following sites to ignite the imagination:

Imagine if we could ignite the imagination, plant a love of learning for science via writing, creating, utilizing music, labs, nature and utilize all the other multiple intelligences, there is nothing we could not accomplish or overcome.

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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