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ERIC Number: EJ1120469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8555
No Blue Ribbon
Wilsey, Matthew; Kloser, Matthew
Science Teacher, v82 n8 p53-59 Nov 2015
Imagine middle and high school science classes without a science fair. Participation in science fairs is declining (Harmon 2011), a trend that some teachers, parents, and students find disturbing. The authors opine that the decline in science fairs calls for critically reviewing the potential disconnect between the aims and outcomes of science fairs. All science fair providers should ask: Do participants engage in a diverse, creative, social, and exciting scientific community of practice? In the authors' experience, too many science fair projects overemphasize experimental design, underemphasize the development and testing of theoretical models, and unintentionally widen the gap between students from privileged and impoverished backgrounds. To promote reform, this article presents five critiques of traditional science fairs and offers two alternatives that reflect the practices and crosscutting concepts described in "A Framework for K-12 Science Education" (NRC 2012) and the "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS Lead States 2013).
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A