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Project Categories

To make this learning experience in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards, we will continue to emphasize family conversations on STEM at the fair this year. This will be an opportunity for students to talk with others (peers and adults) about what they did, why they did it, what they found out, and what new ideas and questions they have.

COLLECTION (Kindergarten & 1st grade)

You will collect and organize something of interest, answering questions related to observations made while exploring your world. Examples: What kinds of insects can be found in my backyard? What types of tree leaves can be found on my street? 

EXPERIMENT (Kindergarten through 5th grade)

You will conduct an experiment to find the answer to your question/problem. Using The Scientific Method will take you through the correct process of asking a question, doing some preliminary research, making a hypothesis (your best guess at how it will turn out), planning and conducting your experiment, and analyzing your results. 

INVENTION (3rd through 5th grade)

Everyone is an engineer! You will use science, math, and creativity to dream up and design an object or a process to solve a real life problem. Using The Engineering Design Process will take you through all the necessary steps: asking a question, brainstorming, planning, creating, testing, and making it even better.

RESEARCH PROJECT (Kindergarten through 5th grade)

Someone has already found the answer to your question/problem, and you will look for their answer/solution by reading books, talking to experts, and gathering information from other sources such as schools and public libraries. Your display board will have drawings, photographs, charts, graphs, dioramas, etc. Examples: How does a solar cell work? How does a light bulb operate? How do clouds form?

ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATION (Kindergarten through 5th)

Describe an environmental issue in your community. Write a persuasive essay or speech and to convince others the problem that needs to be solved. Make a timeline and point out what is needed in each step. Use pictures and colors along with your essay to persuade the community with your brilliant innovation.

REVERSE ENGINEERING (3rd through 5th grade)

You can select one device to analyze and take apart ie. toaster, can openers, scale, sun glasses, etc. Please get permission from your parent. Using the Purpose method explain how this device works and how it was invented. Use pictures, diagrams, and words to describe how each part is attached to the device. Identify the various engineers, scientists, and artists need to design and produce the device. 

Encouragement and support

Parental support and assistance are essential to your child’s success. A general rule of thumb to go by is: 

  • 4th and 5th graders should be doing almost the entire science project by themselves. 

  • 2nd and 3rd graders should be able to do many parts. 

  • Kindergarteners and 1st graders will need help for most of the project. 

Why should my child participate in this fair?


We are confident the following benefits will result from your child’s participation in the STEM fair: 

  • Reinforcement of grade level science, literacy and math skills 

  • Fostering curiosity, awareness, and creativity

  • Increased scientific knowledge 

  • Learning research techniques 

  • Growth in the ability to work independently 

  • Having fun with science!

Why is the STEM fair putting an emphasis on conversations?

Being able to communicate their thinking and work are practices of science and engineering (NGSS) and math (Common Core). Instructionally, Science and Engineering Practice 8 and Math Practice 3 are the focus. 


It is good for the students to make their own project and be able to talk about it with others. This change is based on significant research across multiple disciplines (education, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive neuroscience etc) that talking is important for learning. 

  • Talking offers learners the opportunity to articulate the speaker's unformed ideas and reflect on their thinking. It requires them to make new neural connections as they string together ideas to form explanations that they then verbalize for others to consider, get feedback, and revise their thinking. Those connections might not make sense or be accurate the first few times we say them out loud, but in speaking them out loud, we can refine them more effectively. 

  • The social aspect of conversations triggers reward responses in our brains that makes the experience memorable and enjoyable. Imagine the future benefit for our children if we can cultivate the association of positive feelings to doing and talking science.


The focus on family conversations gives the student scientists many opportunities to talk with others (peers and adults) about what they did, why they did it, what they found out, and what new ideas and questions they have. Students might have seen their friends’ parents, but they may not have had conversations about their thinking with them. Plus, they likely won’t know everyone so there will be plenty of strangers in the room.

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