On Friday my Grade 8 class held their first Science Fair after working diligently over the past three weeks. After a very long first unit on Cells & Systems (I was getting used to teaching Science!) we moved on to our unit on Fluids at the start of January. As a summative assessment, I decided to have my students organize, plan, and administer individual science experiments that would then be showcased with a Science Fair (an event that our school does not formally have). Not only would this serve as a summative assessment for our unit, but it would also allow me to incorporate many of our Cluster 0 outcomes!
Having never participated in or attended a Science Fair (with the exception of serving as a judge for a local Science Fair while in university), I was very hesitant in regards to where to start. After a quick Google Search, however, I found an awesome Science Fair Planning package put together by Lora Holt. Now, keep in mind, this package was originally designed for elementary ages (K-5) but, after so tweaking, I created something that followed a similar format that was appropriate for my students.
Friday went off without a hitch and I am so proud of everything my Grade 8s accomplished throughout this journey. Their experiments were well planned out and showed awesome scientific inquiry and great use of the scientific method. Their displays were well laid out and eye-catching and they answered audience questions like pros!
Now be prepared for picture overload (sorry, I'm just so proud of all the work that they did!)
Things That I Think Worked Well
1 ) Having students create their display-boards using boxes &
materials from our school's recycling
- Great for the environment
- No cost to parents/families
- Fit in with our school's environmental sustainability goals
2 ) Having students share their ideas through our class blog
- Students were able to reflect on their learning
- We received feedback from parents, other students, other teachers,
university students and even scientist Steve Spangler (often on the
- Check out my student's posts on their blog!
3 ) Setting intermittent deadlines to keep students on track
- As we progressed I set deadlines for certain aspects
- This gave the students direction, allowed me to keep track
of progress, and ensured no-one got left behind
4 ) Inviting all students/staff to attend
- In our K-12 school, my Grade 8s had students from Grade 1
to 12 come to view their displays and ask questions
- This worked very well as my students had to focus on putting
information in simple terms for their Grade 1 visitors (who
asked what salt water was) as well as fully explain their
understanding to their Grade 12 visitors who asked in-depth
Things That I Would Change for Next Year
1 ) Booking more time for students to complete experiments
- Some students completed their experiments at home, some
at school (their choice)
- I would like to book more time in the home-ec room and
science lab (both managed by other teachers) to ensure my
students have more options & all of their supplies)
2*) NOT being sick the day before
* Ok, so this one isn't actually official but I was sick the day
before the science fair, which caused stress for both me and the
- Other than that, I was thrilled with how everything turned out and couldn't be more proud of my Grade 8 students. Tomorrow, I am having them fill out reflections on what they thought of the entire process so I will see what they say and update this list as needed!