While science fair preparations may seem intimidating or even downright overwhelming for students, good planning and some strategic parental guidance can help mitigate the stress. Furthermore, parents can be extremely useful when it comes to choosing a project. “Parents are usually in the best situation to know what fascinates and inspires their kids,” says parent Kathleen Bethel. For some simple yet valuable things parents can do to help during science fair season, read on.
Archive for Middle School Science Fairs
Engage Everett! involves Everett Public School students in grades 6 through 12 in independent science and technology research experience, with the goal of building a culture of research in school districts across the state.
The latest update is exciting: No fewer than 119 seventh and eight grade projects have been entered into the middle school science fair! For comparison’s sake, consider that last year, only about 10 middle school projects were science-fair-bound.
The program was designed through a multifaceted collaboration of professionals, including representatives from MSSEF, the Intel Corporation, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, the Everett Public Schools, and the Marlborough Public School system — the latter as a “mentoring” school district.
MSSEF offers access to key teacher professional development resources and hosts a forum for showcasing student’s efforts: the annual Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair. Engage Everett! provides professional development and teacher support, and brings in both high school mentors and professional scientists to help the students design and execute their projects.
The 2012 Massachusetts State High School Science & Engineering Fair will take place Thursday, May 3 – Saturday, May 5 at MIT. Students in grades 9-12 from all Massachusetts public, private and parochial schools — as well as home-schooled students — are eligible to enter through their schools.
The Massachusetts Middle School Science and Engineering Fair will be held Saturday, June 2, 2012 at Worcester Technical High School.
How the High School Fair Works
Each school may send two outstanding student projects directly to the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF) State Fair: One individual and/or one team project (2 or 3 student members to each team). In addition, the top winners from each school Science Fair can qualify for your Regional Fair, and top Regional winners may also enter the State Fair. See the MSSEF website for Regional Fair information.
How to Apply
Students register online. Registration forms for Massachusetts high schools will be available on the MSSEF website starting on March 1, 2012 (on or after March 1) to log in and register. Please contact the MSSEF office (617-491-1500) if your school does not have access to the Internet.
Online registrations must be completed within five (5) days of your School Fair or Regional Fair (whichever is later), and no registration materials will be accepted after March 26, 2012.
Important! Approvals Needed Before Research Begins
Many student research projects require approval from the Regional Scientific Review Committee (SRC) BEFORE experimentation can begin. These projects include research that involves human subjects, toxic substances, vertebrate animals, work in a non-school setting, etc.
March 1, 2012: MSSEF online registration opens; forms available at www.scifair.com
March 26, 2012: Deadline for online MSSEF Registration is March 26, 2012 at midnight
May 3 – 5, 2012: Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair at MIT, Cambridge
Also: Please check with your Regional Fair SRC director regarding final dates to submit Forms and Research Plan for approval prior to experimentation.
The MSSEF website contains many useful hints and resources, including the High School Manual. We encourage you to read the Manual as it contains important information for teachers and students.
How’s this for an influential science fair project: Last year, Ohio seventh graders Casey Gittelman and Eleanor Bishop investigated how well children and adults could distinguish candy from medicine. This past October, Gittelman traveled to the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference, held in Boston, to present the results. In a nutshell, they found that one in four of the children, and one in five of the teachers had difficulty distinguishing between pills and candy, with SweetTARTS mistaken for Mylanta, and SweeTARTS for Tums, among others. In addition, the girls looked at how people stored their medications. “Only about 10 percent said they stored their medicines appropriately,” said Gittelman. “If people did keep medicines locked up, it would prevent a lot of unintentional ingestions.”
Two honorees from the 2011 MSSEF Middle School Fair were among the 30 finalists to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS competition. Sponsored by the Broadcom Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by Broadcom Corporation, in partnership with Society for Science & the Public (SSP), the Broadcom MASTERS is a national STEM competition for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. The students displayed their projects during Broadcom MASTERS’ week (September 30 – October 4).
First-place MSSEF Middle School Fair winner Emily Sarkisian of Mansfield, MA showcased her project, called “The Relationship Between Space Weather and GPS Accuracy.” Currently a freshman at Mansfield High School, Emily won the MSSEF fair while she was a student at St. Mary’s Catholic School.
Nathan Han of Boston also received first-place honors at MSSEF’s 2011 Middle School Science Fair for his project, “A Study of Somatic Sensory Receptive Fields in Human Skin.” Nathan is now a 7th grade student at Jackson Mann K-8 School in Allston.
“There is a resurgence of project-based competitions due to a growing awareness throughout the United States that our kids, especially middle schoolers, need hands-on learning if we are to create an innovative workforce of scientists and engineers for the future,” said Broadcom Foundation Executive Director Paula Golden. “Broadcom MASTERS creates an exciting opportunity for the finalists to learn about our nation’s capital while showcasing their projects, competing as teams, and developing their skills in communication, collaboration and self-discovery.”
The Broadcom MASTERS’ finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from among 300 semifinalists, who were chosen from a pool of 1,476 applicants in 45 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
About the Sponsors
Broadcom Corporation is a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom® products deliver voice, video, data and multimedia connectivity in the home, office and mobile environments.
The Broadcom Foundation was founded to inspire and enable young people throughout the world to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through partnerships with local schools, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations. Its mission is to advance education in STEM by funding research, recognizing scholarship and increasing opportunity.
Established in 1921, Science for Society & the Public is a membership organization dedicated to building understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its education competitions and its award-winning publications, Science News and Science News for Kids, SSP informs, educates, and inspires.
More good reasons for students to participate in science fairs: In September, the Afterschool Alliance released a new report assessing the impact of STEM learning in afterschool programs. “STEM Learning in Afterschool: An Analysis of Impact and Outcomes” found that the nation’s urgent need for students to learn science, technology, engineering and math skills can get a significant boost from afterschool programs. Specifically, attending high-quality STEM afterschool programs results in improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers, increased STEM knowledge and skills, a higher likelihood of graduation among students.
Winners from among 10,000 entrants in the first-ever Google Science Fair received a once-in-a-lifetime prize: A trip to the Oval Office to meet with the President of the United States. The three students — all girls, ranging in age from 14-17 — also met EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.