Dear Parents and Guardians,
Beakers and volcanoes and electromagnets, oh my! The time has once again come for the Polaris Science Fair. We call our evening celebration event “Salute to Scientists” and is scheduled this year for Thursday, December 7th from 6:00-7:30pm. This event is designed to teach children how to really think like a scientist and how to utilize the Scientific Method in their research and development of a science fair project. It is the goal of our school to have every Polaris student participate in this incredible learning opportunity in some way. First and second grades will conduct various experiments in their classrooms prior to Science Fair. Students in these grades are welcome to operate their own inquiry-based projects independently or in a group setting. Students in grades three through five will be required to design their own Science Fair project. Students are expected to stand by their science fair boards and share their scientific findings during the following times: 6:00-6:30 pm (3rd Grade), 6:30-7:00 pm (4th Grade), 7:00-7:30 pm (5th Grade). During other times, students should investigate their peers’ work. To help model this behavior for our children, we also encourage any parent visitors to talk with a variety of students about their science fair boards. Community judges (academic scientists from Denver area universities) will be present to talk with the Polaris young scientists. The intention behind the community judges is to give the students an opportunity to share all that they have learned with “real” scientists. In previous years, this aspect of our event has been a real highlight for both the community judges and the students.
This project is meant to be experimental in nature and centered on the Scientific Method model, not a demonstration. If a student wants to study sports, he or she can fashion experiments to test whether a particular pre-game preparation improves the percentage of shots scored. If a student wants to study the heart, he or she could conduct an experiment on how caffeine affects heart rate (following reasonable safety considerations and parent supervision, of course). Developing a scientific and testable question has proven to be one of the more challenging steps in the Scientific Method for elementary students; students in 3rd-5th grade received a lesson on this topic the week of October 23rd in school. For additional support, students were given the option of submitting their question or hypothesis to be reviewed by the science fair committee. Students who submitted their questions/hypotheses by the deadline of November 1st met with a member of the science fair committee during the school day. During these one-on-one sessions, students received feedback on their question/hypothesis and plans on how to proceed with a strong experimental design were discussed. If students would like additional help, Peggy Batchelor has a limited number of slots available after school on Mondays and Thursdays as well as some lunchtime slots on Wednesday.
We have assembled a packet to help your child in their experimental project (with a suggested timeline to keep students on track and prevent an unpleasant Thanksgiving Break). This packet was distributed to students the week of October 23rd. A pdf copy can be found on the science fair website. This packet is intended as a guide. If your child wants to veer from this packet, let them. We encourage you to support your student when asked, but PLEASE refrain from being overly involved. Please see the Science Fair Do’s and Don’ts pdf on the Science Fair website for guidance on appropriate parent involvement. Students are to design, conduct, and record their experiments on their own and also create a science fair display board, which are on sale now in the Polaris front office for $5.00. Please purchase one with a color corresponding to your child’s grade level: 5th-black, 4th-blue, and 3rd-red. There are a limited number of white boards available for 1st and 2nd graders who are interested in doing an optional independent science fair project. (NOT MANDATORY FOR THESE GRADES). This display board does not have to look like it has been professionally done; it is okay to let children hand write sections of the display board (a pdf of an example layout is available on the Science Fair website).
One great way to be involved in your student’s science fair project is to volunteer to be a parent listener. Students LOVE to share their work with a willing audience. Please see this sign-up genius to sign-up for a parent listener spot or volunteer to help set-up or clean-up for the Salute to Scientists event.
Thank you for your support,
The Science Fair Committee
Ian Hodges (5th grade teacher)
Kim Rebholtz (5th grade teacher)
Lynn Richards (3rd grade teacher)
Peggy Batchelor (parent volunteer)