Our STEM Fair (Science Fair) is now in full swing. All grade levels have been hard at work thinking like scientists, asking questions, hypothesizing (predicting answers), researching, experimenting, collecting data and observations, analyzing results, drawing conclusions, and sharing their findings on project display boards. Kindergarten through Second Grade students are doing class projects with their teachers, Third Grade students are working on small group (2-5 people) projects in their classrooms, and 4th and 5th grade students are working on individual projects at home with guidance from their parents and teachers.
We will be showcasing our STEM Fair projects this year at our Ballard Family STEM Night at the Museum. This event will be held on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 from 6-8pm at the South Florida Museum downtown. This is a FREE night at the museum open to all Ballard families. Each grade level will have an activity table with a STEM challenge that students can participate in. The Ballard STEM Fair (Science Fair) Committee has been hard at work planning the event for our families, so we cannot say, just yet, what the activities are. Just know they will be fun! And there will be prizes, as well! Each student will receive a passport to use at each of the activity tables. Collect stickers at each of the tables, turn in your passport, and enter to win a cool STEM related prize, like maybe a stomp rocket, or magnetic slime.
STEM Fair Help
Parents looking to support their students with their individual STEM Fair (Science Fair) projects can find ideas, suggestions, and guidelines at the following places:
- Manatee County Elementary Science website (https://manateecountyelementaryscience.weebly.com/stem-competition.html) has a STEM Fair Competition section with the official rules, guidelines, forms, and suggestions
- Science Buddies has a whole section dedicated to elementary STEM fair projects ideas and project guides, with a nice built in wizard to help you find just the right project or topic!
- Education.com – has over 2,000 science fair project ideas set up in a database similar to Pinterest boards.
- Scholastic offers links to videos of science fair projects (40 Cool Science Experiments on the Web)
- WeHaveKids has a page with lots of ideas, howto’s, science fair 101, and even a project interest survey to help guide kids to a project that is right for them
- 25+ Totally Awesome Science Fair Ideas from icanteachmychild.com
- And we couldn’t forget one of my favorite sites – Steve Spangler Science with tons of science fair project ideas, videos, and guides for setting up boards
Please, we ask for no projects on slime, volcanoes, or counting M&Ms (or Skittles). The days of the baking soda and vinegar erupting volcano kits are long gone, not to mention overdone. No new science comes from the home made volcano projects. Also, the DIY slime – everywhere you go has slime kits. I can’t even keep bottled glue in my classroom without it disappearing to would-be-slime enthusiasts. I don’t care how much glitter or essential oil you add to it, it’s not acceptable as a science fair project. The whole point of doing a science fair or STEM fair project is to learn something new about the world around you. Adding stuff to Elmer’s glue and making gooey putty out of it is not a new concept. Also, any of the Borax slime recipes should not be done as they are toxic. Borax contains boric acid which seeps into your skin through the pores in your hands if you are making and playing with that kind of slime. It can also burn your hands after prolong exposure to playing with the slime. (Read more about why making slime with Borax is so dangerous here.)
All 5th Grade STEM Fair (Science Fair) projects are now due! (Were due by Jan. 31) K-3rd Grade projects are due Feb. 7th, and 4th Grade projects are due Feb. 14th. We need time to judge them and notify the district of our winners that will be going to the all-county STEM (fair) Competition by Feb. 16th. (The district STEM Competition event will take place on Mar. 3rd at the South Florida Museum.)