Get to know the team behind this year’s Science Fair.
Conceptually, a science fair project is very straightforward. A student chooses a scientific question he or she would like to answer. Then, library and Internet research on the question gives the student the background information he or she needs to formulate a hypothesis and design an experiment.
After writing a report to summarise this research, the student performs the experiment, draws his or her conclusions, and presents the results to teachers and classmates.
However, what makes a science fair project such a great learning experience is that it involves so much more than science. For most students, their research report will most likely be the longest paper they have ever written. The bibliography for the report will also be the first ever for some students.
And, while library research is still important, these reports are a great way to hone computer research skills, as well as to learn the ins and outs of common office programs, such as word processors and spreadsheets.
Most projects also involve a good deal of mathematics, and all students get an opportunity to enhance their presentation skills when they prepare their experimental findings and discuss their projects with the judges.
A science fair project can often provide an opportunity for the discussion of ethical issues, such as plagiarism and falsification of data. Indeed, such a discussion is highly recommended.
Of course, learning about science is at the heart of a science fair project. Our society relies more on science every day, and science fairs are a great way for students to become more knowledgeable about how the world around them works. Every citizen needs sufficient science literacy to make educated decisions about what he or she reads in the media, about health care, and about other every-day problems.
Preparing a science fair project is an excellent example of what education experts call active learning or inquiry (also “hands-on” learning). It is a very effective instructional method; indeed, it is recommended as a cornerstone of successful science teaching.
The Team of Experts Behind Science Fair
Paul Farrell has a Joint Honours in Physics and Education from The University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK. Yang Jie has a Bachelor in Chemistry and a PCGE in Secondary Science. Between Paul, Yang Jie and Ian there is over 40 years of science teaching experience which has proved invaluable to the quality of science delivery at Britannica.
The web development for Science Fair 2020 is led by Laurence Bell, the Director of Technology Learning at Britannica, Shanghai.
Yang Jie Tsang
Director of Technology Learning