The past 8 weeks in Upper Elementary have been busy, to say the least. In addition to your children receiving new lessons, we’ve also been preparing for the Science Fair. This is a study that happens once during the three-year cycle of the Upper Elementary program. Beginning in January, we discussed the scientific method, its history, and the people important in its development and refinement. Using a demonstration experiment, we explored how to move from an experimental question to a hypothesis and how to design and conduct an experiment to test that hypothesis incorporating dependent and independent variables.
Gathering Data & Developing a Hypothesis
Students picked their topics, formed their experimental questions, and conducted background research in order to develop a hypothesis. Each student then developed a specific procedure to test that hypothesis. Careful observation and other data collection strategies were introduced and students then learned how to create tables and/or graphs to analyze their data. Based on these observations students drew conclusions as to the viability of their hypothesis. Many conversations focused on the idea that a “failed” hypothesis is actually an opportunity to ask another question, and many students incorporated ideas for further research in their conclusions.
The Presentation of Findings
The array of topics chosen was impressive, and these last weeks the hum in the classroom was palpable as each student worked industriously on their presentation. This included creating presentation cards, designing final lab reports, trifold boards outlining their experiments, as well as rehearsing and presenting their project for parents and the Quest Community. It was a great opportunity for students to overcome fears, explore their creative side, and employ some deductive reasoning.
This morning students held their fair in the barn. Parents, grandparents and students filtered through the space to hear from students and to see their work. It was another exciting event, we are so proud of all of the work our students put into this unit!