Science Fair

January 25th….are you ready for it?

The science and engineering fair is an exciting time for students at North Elementary. They now have access to the Southern Utah University STEM Resource and Tutor Center. Utilizing the science lab and equipment, any student can have access to the tutors and resources they need to succeed at the science and engineering fair.  We would like them to use the NGSS science and engineering practices when putting together their science fair boards which include:

  1. Ask questions and define a problem
  2. Develop models
  3. Plan and carry out an investigation
  4. Analyze and interpret data
  5. Use mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Construct explanations from their evidence
  7. Engage in argument from their evidence
  8. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information

They can also use the 7 crosscutting concepts as tools for their science thinking and reasoning.

  1. Patterns
  2. Cause & effect
  3. Scale, Proportion, & quantity
  4. Systems and system models
  5. Matter & energy
  6. Structure & function
  7. Stability & change

There is a new shift of looking at science as a process, instead of a series of outlined steps like in the scientific method. Finding out what interests the students and what questions they might have about the world around them is the first step in the process that might lead the student down a path of scientific discovery.

Grades K-2 will be emphasizing different aspects of the scientific process and experimenting and drawing conclusions as a whole class demonstration. They will be showcasing their class projects in the spring.

Grades 3-5 will be picking their topic, researching their topic, planning their experiment and using the NGSS practices to prepare to participate in the science and engineering fair in January.

 

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Please start NOW to ensure your child’s project is the best it can be!

Here is a short explanation for each of our “Science and Engineering Practices” and our science “Cross-Cutting Concepts.”  Please read through these carefully!  Most of your child’s project will be judged on​​ how many of these are followed and explained in their interview.

PRACTICE 1: ASKING QUESTIONS AND DEFINING PROBLEMS

Students at any grade level should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations. For engineering, they should ask questions to define the problem to be solved and to elicit ideas that lead to the constraints and specifications for its solution.

PRACTICE 2: DEVELOPING AND USING MODELS

Modeling can begin in the earliest grades, with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and/or physical scale models (e.g., a toy car) to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system. Models include diagrams, physical replicas, mathematical representations, analogies, and computer simulations.

PRACTICE 3: PLANNING AND CARRYING OUT INVESTIGATIONS

Students should have opportunities to plan and carry out several different kinds of investigations during their K–12 years. At all levels, they should engage in investigations that range from those structured by the teacher—in order to expose an issue or question that they would be unlikely to explore on their own (e.g., measuring specific properties of materials)—to those that emerge from students’ own questions.

Scientific investigations may be undertaken to describe a phenomenon or to test a theory or model for how the world works. The purpose of engineering investigations might be to find out how to fix or improve the functioning of a technological system or to compare different solutions to see which best solves a problem.

PRACTICE 4: ANALYZING AND INTERPRETING DATA

Once collected, data must be presented in a form that can reveal any patterns and relationships and that allows results to be communicated to others. Because raw data as such have little meaning, a major practice of scientists is to organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing, or statistical analysis. Such analysis can bring out the meaning of data—and their relevance—so that they may be used as evidence.

Engineers, too, make decisions based on evidence that a given design will work; they rarely rely on trial and error. Engineers often analyze a design by creating a model or prototype and collecting extensive data on how it performs, including under extreme conditions.

PRACTICE 5: USING MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTATIONAL THINKING

Although there are differences in how mathematics and computational thinking are applied in science and in engineering, mathematics often brings these two fields together by enabling engineers to apply the mathematical form of scientific theories and by enabling scientists to use powerful information technologies designed by engineers. Both kinds of professionals can thereby accomplish investigations and analyses and build complex models, which might otherwise be out of the question.

PRACTICE 6: CONSTRUCTING EXPLANATIONS AND DESIGNING SOLUTIONS

The goal of science is to construct explanations for the causes of phenomena. Students are expected to construct their own explanations, as well as apply standard explanations they learn about from their teachers or reading. The Framework states the following about explanations:

The goal of science is the construction of theories that provide explanatory accounts of the world. A theory becomes accepted when it has multiple lines of empirical evidence and greater explanatory power of phenomena than previous theories.

PRACTICE 7: ENGAGING IN ARGUMENT FROM EVIDENCE

The study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such arguments. In that spirit, students should argue for the explanations they construct, defend their interpretations of the associated data, and advocate for the designs they propose.

Argumentation is a process for reaching agreements about explanations and design solutions. In science, reasoning and argument based on evidence are essential in identifying the best explanation for a natural phenomenon. In engineering, reasoning and argument are needed to identify the best solution to a design problem.

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An explanation of Cross-cutting concepts (CCC) in science:

CCC #1 PATTERNS

Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.

CCC #2: CAUSE AND EFFECT

Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.

CCC #3: SCALE, PROPORTION, AND QUANTITY

In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.

CCC #4: SYSTEMS AND SYSTEM MODELS

Defining the system under study—specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system—provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.

CCC #5: ENERGY AND MATTER

Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.

CCC #6: STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.

CCC #7:  STABILITY AND CHANGE

For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study

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Also, PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT RULES!

1. ABSOLUTELY NO LIQUIDS OR LIVING ORGANISMS ARE ALLOWED IN SCIENCE FAIR DISPLAYS.  Any student who brings liquids or living organisms to display on January 25th will, regrettably, be disqualified. TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES INSTEAD!

2. STUDENTS ARE URGED TO USE PICTURES ONLY IN THEIR DISPLAYS.  The reason for this is because of the stringent rules that SUU enforces about displays. There are LOTS of prohibited items on that list.  STUDENTS WILL RECEIVE BONUS POINTS FOR ONLY DISPLAYING PICTURES ON THEIR PROJECT BOARD!  If your child does not have access to a color printer, etc, please contact his/her teacher.

3. No child will be disqualified from participation in science fair because of an inability to buy a project board, science supplies, etc.  WE CAN HELP!  PLEASE DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE DAY OF THE FAIR TO LET US KNOW!

Rules for all projects  Especially check out the related links on the right side.

Forms  For projects, including the ones described above.

Display & Safety Regulations  Including the list of what they are not allowed to bring.
The main page for the science fair.  The Intel fair is only for 9-12 grades, but SUU requires the same rules for the junior fair.

If you need more information about the NGSS science & engineering practices, feel free to click on my tab labeled NGSS and it will take you to their website.

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