Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Planning a STEM Fair - part 1

When I started teaching science 13 years ago I held my own science fair for my classes.  Our district did not host a science fair, but I saw value in the opportunity to let students discover their own learning through the development and creation of a science fair project.  Students were able to explore topics of interest and asked to present a research question along with their research and conclusions.  It was fun and some students really enjoyed having the opportunity to explore their own interests.  We had a panel of judges and I used my classroom budget to provide cash prizes and certificates for participation. Students researched and presented information on enzymes and laundry detergents, motor operation and fat content in fast food.  After a couple of years I stopped requiring this project for my students as it was a lot of extra work to try an accomplish all by myself.

In my current role as educational technology coordinator I wear many hats including serving as project director for a couple of grants and implementing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in addition to provide support and professional development for technology integration into the classroom.  Sharing my passion for learning about science has taken a back seat to my other duties recently and so I was excited yesterday when I received an email from a corporation wishing to donate science project supplies to teachers in our district.  I sent an email out to all teachers informing them how to apply to receive these materials and added a small statement at the end of the email asking anyone interested in supporting STEM education and helping coordinate a district-wide science fair to contact me.  Several teachers replied that they had wanted to do something like this at their sites but felt it was too much for one person to organize.

So, now I have done it, I need to figure out how to plan and hold a STEM fair in our district.  This post will be part 1 of my STEM fair journey.  I will write new posts as I move along in the planning of our first STEM fair.  If you are planning a similar event at your school or in your district I would love to hear from you.


1.  Acquire STEM fair resources

San Mateo County Office of Education STEM fair resources

Need Help Planning a Science Fair Project - Edudemic blog

Prepare for the science fair - by Kevin Temmer

Teachers Guide to Science Projects

STEM Fair - Baltimore County Public Schools

2.  Meet with committee to select date and decide on event format

  • venue
  • dates
  • guidelines, format, submissions
  • judging
  • teacher resources, support, mentoring
  • sponsors?
  • website

3.  Consult PLN for input

Hey! You can be part of my personal learning network (PLN), please add your information to via the STEM Science Fair Form below.  Thanks!

See the form results here