Science fair projects are traditionally started one or two months before the school science fair is planned. However, this doesn’t mean that as a teacher you are limited to only teaching lesson plans that relate to science fairs during these months. In fact, you can teach science fair project related lessons at any time during the year because the completion of a science fair project requires knowledge of many different science concepts.
The first lesson plans that you develop to prepare your students for a science fair project will deal with literature research. These lesson plans will teach students how to find authoritative sources, textbooks, reference books and other background information at school, public and online libraries. Lesson plans can include activities that teach students how to use keywords to find information, how to search through article directories, how to take notes and how to create a bibliography.
Topic Selection and Hypothesis Development
The next group of lesson plans will deal with selecting a topic and developing a hypothesis. Obviously you will want to explore the various subjects in science to help students narrow down their topic options. Your lesson plans can include brainstorming activities, group activities and more library time or computer lab time. Next you will move on to the hypothesis. You will need to explain what a hypothesis is, how it is used in a science fair project and what parts make up a hypothesis.
The third group of lesson plans will cover how to design and execute an experiment. These lesson plans will start out with activities that examine the creation of an experiment utilizing the information in a hypothesis. Then will move on to in-class experiment activities. Finally you will walk students through lesson plans that lead to the development of unique experiments.
Data collection and analysis activities will make up the next set of lesson plans. You will need to go over the various types of data, data collection methodologies and data analysis methodologies with your students. You will also need to introduce the concept of statistics and statistical analysis. Most likely you will focus on basic statistics like the mean, mode, median and standard deviations.
The final set of lesson plans will examine how students can draw conclusions from their data analyses. These lesson plans will walk students through the steps required for making scientific conclusions. You will want to make sure that you explain the concept of scientific “proof.” For example, you can explain that while proving a hypothesis is false is easy to do, that proving a hypothesis is true is nearly impossible.