Science fair season is on its way! In order to help your child develop an authentic and self-sustaining interest in their science projects, it’s important to aid them in discovering topics that will spark their curiosity. Read below for three ways to inspire your child to find joy in what they’re exploring, and to help them create their best work.
Embrace technology…to an extent
Science fairs have come a long way from the standard poster and tri-fold affairs. Today, students have access to audio and video, and they may even make use of customized computers like Raspberry Pi and Arduino. While such technology can certainly help present aspects of your child’s project, be careful to not let it overpower the presentation. Instead, supplemental technology should be used to enhance your child’s project, and not distract from it.
Consider the power of STEM role models
Having a relatable role model is essential to a child’s developmental learning, because children who see themselves in others tend to mimic the traits with which they most identify. Looking through the vast archive of National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees is one way a child can discover a figure they can relate to, and identify a subject they would like to pursue further and explore in their science project. For the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in particular, having a figure like this in a student’s life can be particularly helpful, as their role model can represent what they too can achieve.
Focus on storytelling
When your child has decided what type of project or experiment they’re interested in committing to and presenting at their science fair, think about how you can work with them to uncover the context of what they’re exploring. As the oldest form of learning and teaching, our minds are in fact hard-wired to learn in terms of a beginning, middle and end format. For example, if your child’s project involves a chemical reaction, instead of focusing solely on the science behind what’s happening, try learning about the history and influential figures associated with the reaction, and how it was first discovered. This background information will not only increase your child’s interest in their project, but it will also help them present their work to others during the fair itself.