Like it or not great science fair projects will include technology!
One of my fears is that with all the techno stuff out there today kids one day will just sit and do great science fair projects from their computers with some kind of virtual gizmo program. Hopefully that is light years away, but there are some things that computers and technology available can do to help kids with the quality and finding the best science fair projects.
Here are five things technology does to help make great science fair projects:
- Labeling: This is when you need to put a label on a picture or hand drawn graph or something. The problem with labeling for elementary school kids has always been sizing. It is simply hard for many elementary students to write small enough in capital letters for a good label. The lables are bigger and longer than the picture! A computer can get it printed out exactly the right size.
- Pictures: Taking pictures of the project or getting pictures from the internet is a breeze, and you don’t have to spend hours looking in magazines and cut and paste pictures rr run and find a 1- hour photo lab to to print them. Your photo-printer will take care of all of that. High quality photos adds an element of polish to any project.
- Data reporting: With spreadsheets you get instant graphs and can do all sorts of comparisons with them and they look great. The point of a graph is to give a visual look at the data, to see the differences you discovered from your data clearly. It doesn’t really help the learning to spend an hour making a graph or pie chart, the data is what it is. With a spreadsheet it just takes one click to tun data into a chart.
- Do overs: Erasing is pain and ultimately and you can never get it totally clear, so you can usually see it, or start over. Measuring wrong to center the title means you have to get a whole new board or poster and do it again. Technology do overs a a breeze, change the font size and print. Go back and spell the word write and print. This way the kids can keep at it until they get it looking professional ( in their minds) without taking up too much time.
- Research: The first four had to do with the final presentation, but this one is the amount of time searches on the Internet can save you when looking for research to use in your final write up and in fact to find great science fair projects to begins with. No more spending hours in the library, you can most of what you need at home, at least for elementary kids!