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Tuesday, November 10 • 2:35pm - 3:45pm
Understanding the Middle School Science Fair Experience

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Recent science education reforms emphasize the importance of having students do real scientific and engineering work because of the opportunities that “doing” science gives students. Science fairs are designed to give students precisely this experience and they have been promoted by education and industry leaders for over a half century. Supporters claim that they accomplish these goals and more, but little research has been done to examine whether and how much impact they have on students or how much they cost. The National Science Foundation has funded Education Development Center to conduct a four-year, national study to answer questions about science fairs including: What do kids gain from science fairs? What makes some science fair experiences better than others? How much does a good science fair cost?

A study of science fairs of this scope has not been conducted in the U.S. before, and this study offers a potentially high-value bridge between the informal and formal science education worlds. The study’s findings have the potential to increase the effectiveness and reach of science fairs, provide science educators—both formal and informal—with cost-effective ways of bringing the science and engineering practices to their students, and provide researchers with tools for assessing the science and engineering practices. We will present our current findings from this study, including insights into the models and outcomes of science fairs, and offer the audience a chance to reflect on their own science fair experiences and connections to the informal science education community.

Speaker(s)
JD

Jackie DeLisi

Research Scientist, Education Development Center, Inc.
AJ

Abigail Jurist Levy

Principal Research Scientist, Education Development Center, Inc.
MP

Marian Pasquale

Senior Research Scientist, Education Development Center, Inc.


Tuesday November 10, 2015 2:35pm - 3:45pm
Location TBD