How I Use It
I am the lab teacher and I work closely with the science teacher throughout the time that students are working on their science fair projects. One of the hardest parts of a science fair for students is choosing their topic. I always start the students off on the Science Buddies site with the Topic Selection Wizard tool. It asks a series of questions and it helps narrow down the ideas for the students to look through. As they look through the topic ideas they can explore further by clicking on an idea. Each idea has a section for a summary, background info, materials, procedure, how to make the project more their own, help, and an area to learn more. I love the way the site breaks up these parts to help students focus on each section individually. Once they choose a topic we use the Background Research Plan worksheet to help them generate questions and answers about their topic. They can use this worksheet even if they get their topic from another source. We also use the Laboratory Notebook as described on the site. It helps the students learn how to stay organized, track their project, and collect data all in one place. This also helps as teachers to know where students are in their progress.
For anyone who works with students in creating a science project, this site is a powerhouse of tools. I love that my students can take a survey that helps them narrow down topic ideas. They can easily see the difficulty level of each project as they browse the ideas. Even without doing the survey you can search for ideas in a variety of ways such as general topic or field of study. This site really has it all. There are worksheets to help students gather background information once they choose a topic. There are teacher guides to help you design every aspect of a science fair as well as grading rubrics for 10 different key areas of any science project. There are resources that teachers can use to teach science topics in the classroom. In addition to the section for teachers, there are also sections just for students and parents. You can even create an account to keep track of your ideas and resources on the site. No matter what role you have when it comes to science projects, this site truly has it all!