Science Fair

The Science Fair is a PTA sponsored enrichment event open to K-5 students. Students work on a science or engineering project of their choice and make a poster about it. On Science Fair Night, students share their projects with the school community. A scientist-parent visits each poster and talks with the students about it. Every student receives a participation ribbon (no judged prizes). It’s a fun, confidence-building event!

Important dates:

  • Thursday, March 2, 2017 – REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Turn in registration forms to your teacher
  • Monday, March 6, 2017: Receive team assignments via backpack mail
  • 3/6-4/6/2017: FREE tri-fold poster boards available in office; Classrooms open after school for team meetings
  • Thursday, April 6, 2017 – SCIENCE FAIR DAY: Bring posters to MUR at drop-off; Come to the Science Fair 6-8pm!

 

 

Get excited

Science fair isn't just for those kids who already love science classes. Participating in the science fair can help all kids be confident about their ability to do and understand science. It will also help those kids grow into adults who can make good decisions about their health, the environment, energy use and other issues having to do with science.

Register

We ask you to register for the Science Fair so that:

  1. We can help to organize teams. Our goal is for all students who want to participate to have the opportunity to join a team.
  2. We know how many projects to expect. This allows us to (a) provide the right number of poster boards and (b) plan the right number of classrooms to open for displaying projects on Science Fair Night.

Registration forms will be sent home via backpack mail approximately one week before they are due. Please indicate on your registration form if your child needs to find a team to work with. We also need parents to volunteer to lead teams after school. (See the Science Fair FAQ for what lead parents do.) Projects completed as part of the Amigos program will be included in the Science Fair. Castro students are also welcome to submit projects. If you plan to participate in the Science Fair (even if someone else listed you on their team), please fill out a registration form. Return registration forms to your teacher by the registration deadline listed above.

If you miss the registration deadline, you can still do a project for the Science Fair – either individually or with a team that you organize.

Meet with your team

If you are working on a team, you will need to find a time and place where all of you can meet. If you asked for help in forming a team when you registered, we will suggest a day of the week when all team members are available, and an open classroom where you can work for an hour or so after school. The open classroom schedule will also be available in the office. Please note that teachers will not be responsible for supervision after school. A parent must be present in the classroom to supervise the team's work. Teams sometimes choose to meet outside if the weather is nice.

Ask a question

Next, it’s time to think up a question about the world around us. There is no limit to what kind of question your team may ask. The important thing is that the kids are interested in it. Here is a list of project ideas from the Science Fair organizers that might interest the Mistral and Castro community, and some project topics from past Science Fairs. Projects don’t have to be complicated; in past years, some students have repeated an experiment from class, but using different materials.

Then, to explore their topic or question, the team should do a hands-on investigation. Here are some major categories of investigations that they might do:

  • make a collection (Ex: what kinds of wildflowers grow in Mountain View?)
  • survey the distribution of an item or characteristic (Ex: who has the fastest heartbeat in your family?)
  • observe/document a natural process (Ex: caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis)
  • demonstrate a science principle (Ex: how are rainbows formed?)
  • do an experiment (Ex: what types of liquids cause a penny to turn blue?)
  • take something apart to learn about it (Ex: dissect a squid from the supermarket)
  • build a model (Ex: build a dinosaur skeleton kit)
  • design/engineer something (Ex: what paper airplane design flies farthest?)

Here are some useful links to more science project ideas and other information:

Books:
  • Super Sensational science Fair Projects, M. DiSpezio
  • Any science book by Janice Van Cleave
  • Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method

Explore, Experiment, Design!

Now for the fun part: doing your project! Your team gets to be scientists and/or engineers. As you explore, experiment, and/or design to address your topic or question, try to use one or more of the science and engineering practices listed below:

  • Observing (such as making drawings, taking photos, and writing notes)
  • Comparing different items or conditions (including “controls” where you don't change anything)
  • Coming up with a “test” that you will use to get your results (an experimental procedure)
  • Counting or measuring (collecting numbers that show your results--such as counting "how many?", measuring length/distance, temperature, time, weight or volume--and making a table or graph)
  • Collecting enough results to make a conclusion that is accurate and meaningful
  • Making predictions (and testing them)

Your science fair project is an opportunity to be a creative thinker and put your math skills into action. You will also practice your language arts, communication, and visual arts skills as you do your project and make your poster.

Make a poster

After (or better yet, while) doing the project, teams put together a poster or "project board" showing the question they asked, what they did, and the results. FREE tri-fold project boards are available thanks to the PTA and a grant from Synopsys. Boards can be picked up from the office any time starting approximately 4 weeks before the Science Fair (see dates listed above). *Please write all team members’ names and grade levels on the identification sticker on the back of your poster.*

This science fair blog has great resources for making your poster: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/blog/science-fair-secrets/science-fair-911-display-boards/

poster-format.jpg

Science fair board layout

Come to the fair

On the morning of the Science Fair, kids should bring their completed posters to the MUR stage. We’ll set them up in the MUR and surrounding classrooms.

In the evening, the entire Mistral and Castro community is invited to attend the Science Fair. Starting at 6:00, the event will feature:

  • Community viewing of science fair projects
  • An engineering activity for all students
  • Delicious tacos for sale

Starting at 6:30, parent volunteers will be talking to all participants about their projects and handing out ribbons to those kids who are present. Kids should stand by their posters by grade level according to the schedule below. Check posted signs for the location of your child’s project (MUR or nearby classroom):

  • 6:30-7: K & 1st
  • 7-7:30: 2nd & 3rd
  • 7:30-8: 4th & 5th

We hope you will come to the Science Fair, whether or not you did a project. Come see what your classmates did and get excited for next year!

 

If you have questions or want to volunteer, email Susanna Mlynarczyk-Evans: smlynev@gmail.com.