Science Fair

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CeaSaR
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Science Fair

Post by CeaSaR » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:26 pm

I have been hornswaggled - I mean enlisted to help at my son's Science Fair this coming spring and I would like to hear other people's experiences with such events. I have never been to one before and am curious as to what to possibly expect. I know there are a few veterans of these physcic wars out there...

Let me hear your stories, whatever they may be.

Thanks for the memories...

CeaSaR
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dacflyer
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Re: Science Fair

Post by dacflyer » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:41 am

SCIENCE FAIRS ! they do not exhist here in fayetteville nc no more..haven't seen them since jr. high...ya jr. high doesn't exhist here no more either..it now known as MIDDLE SCHOOL..how cool is that,.ughhhh !
i used to love science fairs.. i used to get banned tho,,kept taking 1st place each year.. i was offered a a+ for the year and so i took that.
but it was still cool to see what all us kids could do..but you could tell also that the parents had a big help in it.. *sigh* kids now days cannot even patch a flat on a bike..

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jollyrgr
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Re: Science Fair

Post by jollyrgr » Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:20 pm

I'll throw in my two cents.

The last science fair I was in was when I was in 7th grade. I built my own projects and demos, did my own report, and did my own signs. I also got last place.

Some of the students had more than help. One girl made a solar house. Not just a converted doll house; this was built from scratch. This looked like an architect model you'd see when a company is proposing to build a new model house. No surprise that her dad was an architect. Other kids had projects you know a 7th grader could not build on their own. I was changing electrical outlets and putting up closet doors where there had not been any at age 12 in addition to working on appliances, lawn equipment and so on. I knew tools and how things worked. I could not duplicate some of the projects these kids brought in. For some reason the teachers could not see this. So my suggestion is make sure the kids present a project that is within their ability to achieve. If a kid brings in a solar house with mitered joints, cut away views, and it looks like a professional made the thing, you are probably right. Ask questions beyond the direct subject. If they have constructed a circuit, ask them what wattage soldering iron they used to make the circuit. Ask them where they bought the tools to make the project. If they say "My mom works for Motorola designing cell phones and has all the tools, enjoy looking at mom's circuit and judge the kid accordingly.

In high school it was a bit different. I refused to participate directly in science fairs but did help a fellow student. He wanted to do KIRLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY as his subject. Junk science now but presented as new science back then. I was into photography and electronics so I helped him with his project from both aspects. Probe kids to see what their influence was, why they chose the subject they did, and what help they received. In my opinion students working together is better than a project made by parents.
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philba
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Re: Science Fair

Post by philba » Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:39 pm

Yeah, this happened to me in the 6th grade. Some kid entered a working model of a windmill tower and pump. The thing was beautifully made. The tower was built with pieces of wood and had excellent craftsmanship, every piece was perfect - from a 12 year old. Funny thing, it didn't really explain or show how the pump worked. He won 1st place. 2nd place was another obviously parent built entry. I won 3rd place with my fish disection that I actually did myself. I pointed out to a judge that one of the judging criteria was how well the science was explained. She told me to mind my own business. I was totally jaded to science fairs after that.

Yerry
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Re: Science Fair

Post by Yerry » Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:10 pm

I judge science fairs, and I don't fall for "dadbuilts". I grill the kids on what they know. In fact, I found out two yeras ago that one of my nicknames was "The Bald Executioner".

There are basically two types of presentations, an explanatory demonstration, and a full walk-through of Scientific Method. Make sure you know the steps of SM; it can be a great decision- and tie-fixer.

pankau42
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Re: Science Fair

Post by pankau42 » Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:08 pm

I love science fairs!!! One year in grade school my father helped me build a wind tunnel, smoke and everything, it used a vacuum cleaner motor. It was loud, smoked and extremely cool, I won, and now I totally have lost respect for the whole event since I didn't learn anything about aerodynamics and could not have answered a single question regarding the subject. The following year I did my own thing, dropped two ping-pong balls with differing weights from an aparatus (Rube golberg style) with a camera and a strobe light aimed at them. This time I came up with a real hypothesis and had real conclusions, although my tests showed that heavy object fall faster. Bottom line, I learned more, I still have the photos, and I am proud of this experiment. I may have received an honorable mention, I forget. You can always have a blast drilling the winner about what he or she doesn't know about the project.

Will
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Re: Science Fair

Post by Will » Sat Dec 24, 2005 1:38 pm

I find it interesting that you were able to observe the falling time differences between the two ping pong balls - Over what distance was the measurement done and what were the observed times ?
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zotdoc
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Re: Science Fair

Post by zotdoc » Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:35 pm

I had similar experiences with those above. I took live chicks and coated their wattles with male and female hormones that my father, a doctor got for me to show the effects and took pictures and posted them on a hand made plywood backdrop. The pictures weren't too good but they did show the effects of the topical hormones and "prooved" my hypothesis. I had to keep all these chicks alilve for one month and by the end I was thouroughly sick of the whole mess. I couldn't saw the plywood very straight and it didn't look so hot. The guy who won brought in a 5 foot tall model of a deep water drilling rig complete with a blue plexiglass to represent the water-obviously from the lobby of an oil company! I still had fun though and wish their were more of them around!

pankau42
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Re: Science Fair

Post by pankau42 » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:20 pm

Will, sorry its been a while.

I just dropped two balls from the ceiling ~ 8 feet in my basement. the aparatus was simply a piece of plywood with two holes in it with another piece of plywood under that could slide away with the pull of a string. I used a strobe light and a camera set to Bulb to catch the falling balls. I filled one ball with some sort of modeling clay and switched sides in the "dropper" to verify the effect. The weight difference must have been 100X or so. ping pong balls are very light. Given the same surface area and drag I can understand now why the light ball was held back. There may have been an inch or two of difference by the time they reached the ground. I had to fine tune the strobe to get 10 exposures or so per trial.

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