Science Fairs Can Be The Beginning Of Science Careers
Educators in the United States have long bemoaned the state of science education in our schools. And for good reason; kids in the country often rank relatively low to kids from other industrialized nations with well-established educational systems. This is one reason why so many educators promote science fairs as way of encouraging kids to become interested in science.
And science fairs have a long history of doing just that. Science fair project winners have gone on to important careers in various area of science. But more than that, they have gone on to have a better understanding of the methods common to most scientific inquiry, and at the end of the day, this is important process to learn. Fundamentally, scientific inquiry is about objective problem-solving, and learning those skills will help students throughout their lives, irrespective of the career path they take.
And creating science fair projects can be just plain fun as well. Science does not have to be thought of as rigid set of rules about how to understand the world around us. More creativity and originality goes into science than we might think. And there some areas of science where this type of innovation is very central to further understanding; for example, there are some areas of physics where we have more questions than answers.
But even in the more mundane and established areas of science, like biology and astrology, we are still learning new things everyday and these news things are learned by applying the same scientific principles that at play in science fair projects. For example, we are just now learning that the moon contains water and ice, a fact that fundamentally changes how we look at the moon, and the Earth’s relationship to the moon. And new planets are discovered every day, even though we have been looking at the sky with telescopes for hundreds of years.
So, science is as much about innovation as it is about the methods established to understand those innovations and new ways of thinking.
Much of the cultural and economic progress that man has experienced has come through technological innovation, much if based on scientific discovery. And this will continue to be the case.
The important things to keep in mind when thinking about your science fair project is how to come up with the most interesting question that can be tested. All you need to do is look at the world around you and ask why you see what you see, or what makes this thing work better than that thing, or why will this work under one set of conditions but not another. These basic questions have always been the fundamental questions asked that have led to new discoveries.
Start with a good question, think about what you think the answer to the question is, and then figure out a way to test your assumption to see if you are right or wrong. And don’t forget, you can be wrong about your assumption and still create a worthwhile science fair project. Many successful experiments ended up disproving the original hypotheses of the experimenters.