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ERIC Number: EJ1114534
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Remaking Science Fairs: Adaptations Create Science Conventions That Avoid the Typical Pitfalls of Science Fair Time
Harshbarger, Dena
Science and Children, v54 n1 p38-45 Sep 2016
In her current role as an elementary science methods instructor at a small midwestern university, Dena Harshbarger wanted to help teachers restructure traditional science fairs into "science conventions" to more accurately reflect how scientists share their findings within a scientific community (Barth 2008). Traditional science fairs convey a festival or carnival atmosphere in which students entertain their audience by repeatedly performing their investigation with little to no emphasis placed upon scientific process or content knowledge. In contrast, the primary goal of "science conventions" is that all students successfully meet the targeted standards and learning objectives. Thus, scientific process and content knowledge is stressed and highlighted throughout the learning experience. During the day of the science convention, participants do not conduct the actual investigation, but instead, repeatedly share the results and conclusions of their investigation in an exposition-type atmosphere similar to that of a "piano recital" (Barth 2008, p. 85). Emphasis is placed upon exposition etiquette, such as being respectful and attentive to participants and learning science from one another. One way for Harshbarger to address the concerns associated with the traditional science fair was to capitalize on the partnership that existed between her university and a local elementary school. She contacted a fifth-grade teacher at the school, who is a strong advocate of inquiry-based instruction, and together she and Harshbarger designed a science convention for the fifth grade class. This article describes their collaborative journey and provides suggestions for planning and facilitating a science convention.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A