Science Fair!


Happy New Year Sam Hughes Huskies! Science Fair is just a few weeks around the corner (Feb 12th). The registration form is due Feb 5th. The first step is to help your student decide on a project. A good way to start is by asking a “why” or “how” question on or about a topic that your child is interested in.

Here are a few examples. My son is really into Pokemon cards. He has a new card that he thinks is worth a lot – I suggested that he flip the Pokemon coin again and again, and write down the result. Soon he had data on how many times he gets “heads” before he gets “tails”. This follows a mathematical distribution. He can make a plot of the distribution to show how much each card is worth. This is actually one of the important principles of science that the human brain has a hard time with – probabilistic thinking.

Another example: I explained to my son that he can put out a candle simply by putting a glass container over the candle. Fire needs oxygen, and a candle burns oxygen, so that it will eventually burn itself out. He could use different-sized containers and time (record) how long it takes for a candle to go out (and plot the results)!

And a final example: we went to a restaurant that serves a small bowl of hot (miso) soup. The waitress put the bowls down (on a glass surface), and one of the bowls moved apparently by itself across the table several inches. How? I have no idea, but it was so bizarre and fascinating that I thought to myself, “that there’s a science fair project!”. (My best guess is that the ring around the bottom of the soup bowl was wet, and the air inside that pedestal or “foot” at the bottom of the bowl got heated by the soup, such that it expanded, and pushed the bowl up, so that it could slide on the water…) In any case, look out for something that seems mysterious or surprising in your world around you. How does it work? How is it possible? See the full registration packets available at the front desk for more tips and ideas.


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