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Do you think it is better to give students a topic for science fair projects or is it better to let them choose their own?
380 Activity Points
I think it would be fun to do two science fairs if possible. The first one could be teacher-led where the teacher gives students a topic, and maybe even students can do this together. This way they have the help of getting started and are guided through what is expected as a class overall. This can help set the students up for a second science fair that they are allowed to create over a topic of their choosing. By then, they should have knowledge on what to do and creative ways on how to do things. I think both would be beneficial to help them be successful when they choose the topic on their own. Otherwise, I've seen many teachers create of list of options/topics and randomly draw names of students who then have the choice of choosing on their own still.
3719 Activity Points
I think it depends on the age of the students. For younger grades I would give them at first a topic or at least some guidelines for picking one. This will help them understand the concept and development of science projects. For younger students, they will need more step by step instructions and planning to get them started. For older students, I would let them choose their own topic. Obviously, there should be some guidelines and instructions for them to follow. They also would benefit from a model so the expectations are clear. Overall, I think allowing students to have choice will peak their engagement and keep them interested. I also think it will give them an opportunity to demonstrate their skills because they won't feel restricted.
3410 Activity Points
I believe students in higher elementary grades should have the choice to explore a topic that interest them; therefore allowing them to create their own interest in science. Students in younger grades may need more support when it comes to long term projects so maybe the teacher can provide a general concept or topic and the students explore questions that relate to the concept or maybe the teacher can have a list of topics/questions and allow the students to choice a project that interest them?
I believe giving the students a choice can increase interest in science. I remember have a great time presenting my projects in the science fair because I was interested and passionate about the topic. But the teacher still provides an important role. Nonetheless, all students should be given a rubric beforehand to adjust their projects and to meet all requirements; they should be encouraged to ask for guidance.
3600 Activity Points
I agree with the above at a younger grade level students are not ready to pick their topic solely on their own. I think that students could choose from a list of already given ideas. I know that we want our students to explore their imagination, however I think that some times students get crazy with their ideas and keeping them at bay is helpful when we are contributing to their learning.
Older students however I think understand the reality of their options a little bit clearer and could come up with some thing that they were interested in as well as it contributing to their learning in a big way. This is also a great opportunity to make ideas their own and explore through their own ideas and and misconceptions.
I think regardless of whether the students are picking their topics or not this is a huge area for learning and growing in students thinking and exploration.
3658 Activity Points
I agree with everything that has been said, from having the older grades pick their topics to even having two science fairs where there is one teacher led and one student led. I also agree with Kia in the sense of how this is a huge area of learning. I think that no matter which way you look at it, a science fair is going to be a beneficial part of a students learning whether they pick their topic or have theirs chosen. I know in 7th grade we did a science fair and everyone got to pick their own topics, but there were some groups with the same topic so some people got docked points because there were others with the same topic, so maybe in that sense it would be better to have a list of topics or ideas generated and have the students pick from that list in order to make sure there was only one of each of the presented topics.
3025 Activity Points
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