Alternative Ideas for a School Project- It Doesn’t Have To Be a Science Fair

What about an”Interest Fair” as alternative ideas for a school project?

 

ideas for a school projectSome schools are gravitating to an Interest Fair instead of a science fair. What teachers have realized is the steps to researching a topic fall in line with the steps to the scientific method, so the topic for an Interest Fair does not have to be science. But uses all the same science investigation steps and ideas for a school project headed to a science fair.

  • Topics can be hobbies like sports or music, you could look into food, sewing, yarn, video games, or famous people. There will always be science things too like fish and bugs and ecology stuff because kids are naturally interested in those things.
  • Kids will still follow the same steps, they come up with a question and make a prediction about their topic. What do they already know, what do the wonder, why predictions can they make. Some times you create an experiment, Which yarn makes the softest scarf? What subject did Peyton Manning study in college? What is the difference in the sound of acoustic and electric instrument? Then then will need to so some research into the topic and write a report. In some cases a sample will be part of the display, other times there will be photos. In the end you will make an awesome display board that will have to show all the steps you took to look deeper into your interest.
  • The advantage of this is that it gives kids who excel in other areas other than science a chance to shine and get excited about something they are interested in. The other advantage it is cross curricular so the librarian and language arts teachers get more involved. You have lots of choices of ideas for a school project this way, not just science.
  • What this really would fall under is a research type of science fair, that will have some elements of experimenting or demonstrating, but focuses on the research steps. You break a topic up into teaching pieces, study it, analyze it and often find the answer to your question, or prove or disprove your predictions.

You will find you do this stuff all the time when your kids are home during holiday vacations, you look into things they are interested in. Kids will get ideas from each other and be able to use them in future fairs.

It might be a good thing to alternate between a science fair one year and an interest fair the next.   There are things about science that really can be made clear with a science experiment and using the scientific method in an investigation is an important skill, so I would never get rid of a science fair! Really, there just are never ending great ideas for a school project, no matter what the subject is!

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Science Projects on the Internet for Eighth Graders

An amazing resource when trying to find the perfect science project for your 8th grader is the internet. It’s important to find a project that is challenging, educational, but also grade level appropriate.  Your student will want a project that is interesting  and internet searches allow for the type of specificity that will help you find a science project that balances all of these crucial elements. 

When you have decided what type of project your child would like to attempt, you can search for projects along with more specific search criteria like their grade level, or the subject matter. For example, “8th grade science project ideas, butterflies.” This should hopefully yield plenty of results. It’s important to narrow your results with criteria like your child’s grade level, age, or a subject matter so that you can be sure you are getting results that will be useful to you. 

If your student isn’t exactly sure what subject matter they want to do a project on, it might be wise to browse an online database of 8th grade science projects, like those found at http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx or http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html, which you can look through by grade level or subject area. Databases like these are full of ideas and instructions, and are easier to use than just a simple general search that might bring you to an unreliable site. Another great resource for one-stop 8th grade science project ideas are the free guides found at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.

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Science Projects for Sixth Graders

Finding the right science project for 6th graders can be a bit difficult. It has to be something they can understand and do mostly for themselves, but also be able to hold their interest, and teach them something. You can help find the perfect 6th grade science project for your student by using some of the resources you have readily at your disposal, including your child’s science teacher, the library, and even resources on the internet. 

Consult with your child’s science teacher when trying to find a good science project idea, especially at the 6th grade level. This way, you’ll be sure to know what the class is currently studying to keep the project relevant but not redundant, and clarify any requirements or deadlines that some 6th graders might not quite know how to manage yet.

Science project books, easily found at the public library, are reliable and easy to use resources for finding and executing a science project. Trying the library is a great way to teach your child to search for books by subject matter, in this case looking for science projects or the subject matter that interests them, and to ask for help from the librarian if you need it. 

Also, the internet is a great place to find huge amounts of 6th grade science project ideas, but you have to know where to look to save yourself time. While you can begin with a general search for science project ideas, it might be a good idea to search more specifically for websites like http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx that are searchable by subject matter or grade level, so that you aren’t finding projects that are too easy or difficult for your student. Another great tool is the free project guides found at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf .

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