A standard part of the 10th grade Biology curriculum at my school is designing, conducting and presenting scientific research at the science fair. This serves as an excellent opportunity for students to work through the process of the scientific method thinking creatively and independently as they design their experiment.
Since, for most students, this is their first inquiry based science fair project, versus building a model… like a volcano (classic), they are constantly supported throughout the process. Multiple instances of formative assessment as they first design their experimental question and hypothesis, continue on to the development and completion of the experimental procedure, and finally during the analysis and discussion of the result. They receive feedback and suggestions at each step, as well a guidance and deadlines to try to defeat the terrible foe: procrastination.
As we start this process as a class I have put together some of my favorite experimental questions as posed by my 10th grade students. These are favorites because of the creativity, the topics, or it is based on something that significantly piqued my interested as well. The wording is their own after having adjusted it based on the original set of feedback I provided.
My science fair top picks for 2012:
- Are green detergents actually less harmful to the environment?
- Do weather conditions impact deer movement?
- Does playing video games stimulate your brain in way to do math problem quicker?
- Does the price of bottled water influence people’s decision on which water tastes better?
- Does snacking prior to reading increase reading rate?
- Which denomination of US Dollar bill has more bacteria on it?
With all students having created questions, the next step is determining, how will they test them? What will they learn? I’ll keep you posted.