Science Fair

 

Composite High Annual School Science Fair

Welcome to our science fair information page!

Overview

Our annual science fairs are a wonderful opportunity for students to reach into the depths of curiosity, the very nature of science. Science has been, and always will be, a venture of exploration. This event is a chance for students to explore whatever topic excites or concerns them. There is no tether of curriculum, just good natured fun!

First and foremost, it is supposed to be both challenging and fun. Students are often most successful with the science fair when they pick a topic that they are interested in. If they pick a topic with the hope of winning, it can be challenging to complete the project as they lose interest. In the end, it is so worth it though. The pride and excitement that comes from a student who has put in all the work, learned so much, and is just excited to show off their efforts is so exhilarating. 

STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics - has become a mantra in global education. So, not only is this type of experience a personally valuable one, but it is practically expected of modern education.

Beginning a Project

Each project will need a logbook. It acts as a paper trail of their findings. Since our goal is to mimic the regional science fair closely, find the logbook on their website. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to look over the fair rules and human and animal use guidelines.

Students select a topic of their choice and begin researching it. Questions naturally pop up, about how something works, or what something will look like. The question is the starting point of the project. From there, they develop one of three types of projects:

Experiment

Students will follow the scientific method to test and probe a certain aspect of their topic. 

The scientific method begins with the question - what are the exploring? This is followed up a hypothesis - an educated guess about what the outcome should look like. Then the variables that have to be considered - 3 types: manipulated, responding, and controlled. Aftewards, they decide on what materials will be needed, and create a procedure to test their hypothesis. Data is collected from experiment (in tables). Results are tabulated (as graphs). Then conclusions are drawn about the results - do the results match your hypothesis? Why or why not? Finished off with a critique of their own experiment, the sources of error.

Study

Students research a particular topic, and report on their findings. Studies are typically on the lower end of the quality of projects, mostly because there is no real need for the student to go outside of their comfort zone. They don't need to actually do anything scientifically. Memorization could be all they need. However, that isn't always true with a study. A high quality study not only involves research, but synthesis of multiple sources. If they can take multiple sites/books/articles and put the ideas together to formulate their own opinion/analysis, then the study can be very impressive.

Innovation

Arguably the most challenging type of project - invent your own device/tool/equipment/etc... This requires a vision for a problem, and an idea of something that could help solve the problem. A solid analysis of the innovation's ability to solve the problem can make or break the project. The kinds of questions they should consider are like: are there other solutions out there? How does mine compare in terms of cost and effectiveness? If no other solution can be found, does this idea introduce a newly discovered element, or is it a combination of previously existing ideas?

Project Restrictions

Some projects need to be scrutinized for ethical considerations. The most common ethical consideration is the use of humans for the experiment. Under no circumstances is the human to come to any potential harm through the science fair - none of us are medical professionals with proper research facilities, we are not authorized to conduct experiments on humans. We CAN do non-invasive testing with humans though. Checking vital signs (WITHOUT doing something to change them, like no feeding energy drinks to see how heart rate is affected), giving questionnaires, testing reflexes, etc... those types of projects are acceptable. Every single human tested needs to fill out a permission form, EVEN IF IT IS ONLY A QUESTIONNAIRE.

Also, any work done on any living organism, ESPECIALLY work with microbes, also needs to be examined for safety and ethics. Some bacteria or fungus are very dangerous. 

School Fair

Typically each student puts their project with all the titles/pictures/information on a sectioned poster board like the ones pictured above.

Each project will be set up in a work space, typically in the gymnasiums, and throughout the day judges will come by to question and listen to the student's findings. These judges are a mixture of community volunteers, teachers, and senior high science students.

If you'd like to see the judging rubric on how you will be judged, click here.

Prizes are given to the top students in each grade, along with various other topic specific prizes, like top environmental project.

Advancing to the Regional Science Fair

Each year, each school is allotted a small number of projects to be invited to the regional science fair. This is typically a very big and exciting event, where the top projects from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo square off. Prizes at the regional fair can be quite substantial, it is not uncommon for several students to win over $1000 in cash prizes at our regional fair.

For more information, visit the Wood Buffalo Youth Science Foundation website here.

Advancing to the National Science Fair

The top four projects from the regional science fair are also invited to go to a national science fair, an all expenses paid trip somewhere in Canada. The 2017 fair was in Regina, where all four of our students won medals and various other awards. This is a wonderful life experience for the hard working students that earn their invite to this fair.

For more information, visit the Canada-Wide Science Fair website here.

 

Contact Info

If you require more information, please contact Jeremy Hiscock: jeremy.hiscock@fmpsd.ab.ca