Science fair revised 2011 2012

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					Highland Mill Montessori

Science Fair Handbook

Dear Highland Mill Montessori Family,

       We are hosting our second official science fair this school year for our
Upper Elementary students. We hope that the guidelines that you find in this
handbook will help you guiding your child through the necessary steps in
completing submission of a successful science fair project and all of its component

       This year all of our fourth, fifth and sixth grade students are expected to
participate in the science fair. The project will be a large portion of their second
quarter grade. There are benchmarks listed in this handbook to help guide the
student in being successful.

       Science fair projects will be finished and presented in the science lab, library
and other areas of the school on January 18-20, 2012. The school presentations
and judging will be during these days. The projects will be scored by the
classroom teacher at the same time using a scoring rubric for a grade. The scoring
of the school wide science fair will be by staff members of Highland Mill
Montessori School, community partners and other educators. The honorees of
the school wide fair will go on to the Regional Science Fair hosted by UNCC in
early February.

       Please read the entire booklet for information, dates and rubrics. If you
have any questions concerning the science fair please be in touch with your child’s
classroom teacher or Mr. Russell Long < >

       There are many resources on websites which can help you with
brainstorming a topic. One that site often used is
                           Project Benchmarks

Each step of the project must be turned into your teacher on the specified date.
The teacher will provide feedback to help clarify and improve the project.

Meeting these benchmarks will count towards the overall grade given to the

  Date                  Benchmark                          Complete
                                                      (Teacher’s Signature)

              Present your Topic Choice to your
             Turn in your Research Report and
 11/30/11    share your Testable Question with
                        you teacher
            Complete your Project Proposal and
 12/8/11    turn in your Research Plan Approval
 12/15/11          First Check of Log Book
              Complete your Project Progress
            Report and share it with your teacher
 1/17/12           Final Check of Log Book

The Highland Mill Montessori Science Fair January 18-20, 2012

                                  Steps to Success

Step 1: Start a Logbook

The first step in doing your project is doing what real scientist do. They write everything

down. The logbook can be a composition book, a spiral notebook, or a notebook. A

completed logbook is necessary for obtaining the highest points. Please date all your

entries. You can put down that you read this handbook and the different topics you are

thinking about doing. Do not erase or tear anything out of your logbook.

Your logbook should include the following items:

           How you brainstormed to find your topic and question

           Research notes

           Rough drafts of your writing

           Put in a list of all your resources

           Observations and data from your experiment

           Rough drafts of charts and graphs

           Your conclusions

           How you want to display your project

          Your logbook is due on January 18th as part of your project.

Step 2 Pick a General Choice to Study

Please try to stay within the topic areas for your grade level.
Due on 11/ 14/2011

Fourth Grade

Observe and describe how all living and nonliving things affect the life of a particular animal including:

         Other animals.
         Plants.
         Weather.
         Climate.

 Observe and record how animals of the same kind differ in some of their characteristics and discuss possible
advantages and disadvantages of this variation.

Observe and discuss how behaviors and body structures help animals survive in a particular habitat.
Explain and discuss how humans and other animals can adapt their behavior to live in changing habitats.
Recognize that humans can understand themselves better by learning about other animals.

Describe and evaluate the properties of several minerals.
Recognize that minerals have a definite chemical composition and structure, resulting in specific physical properties

         Hardness.
         Streak color.
         Luster.
         Magnetism.

Explain how rocks are composed of minerals.
Show that different rocks have different properties.
Discuss and communicate the uses of rocks and minerals.
Classify rocks and rock-forming minerals using student-made rules.
Identify and discuss different rocks and minerals in North Carolina including their role in geologic formations and
distinguishing geologic regions.

Observe and investigate the pull of magnets on all materials made of iron and the pushes or pulls on other magnets.
Describe and demonstrate how magnetism can be used to generate electricity.
Design and test an electric circuit as a closed pathway including an energy source, energy conductor, and an energy
Explain how magnetism is related to electricity.
Describe and explain the parts of a light bulb.
Describe and identify materials that are conductors and nonconductors of electricity.
Observe and investigate that parallel and series circuits have different characteristics.
Observe and investigate the ability of electric circuits to produce light, heat, sound, and magnetic effects.
Recognize lightning as an electrical discharge and show proper safety behavior when lightning occurs.

Explain why organisms require energy to live and grow.
Show how calories can be used to compare the chemical energy of different foods.
Discuss how foods provide both energy and nutrients for living organisms.
Identify starches and sugars as carbohydrates.
Determine that foods are made up of a variety of components:
Fifth Grade

Describe and compare several common ecosystems (communities of organisms and their interaction with the
Identify and analyze the functions of organisms within the population of the ecosystem:

         Producers.
         Consumers.
         Decomposers.

Explain why an ecosystem can support a variety of organisms.
Discuss and determine the role of light, temperature, and soil composition in an ecosystem's capacity to support life.
Determine the interaction of organisms within an ecosystem.
Explain and evaluate some ways that humans affect ecosystems.

         Habitat reduction due to development.
         Pollutants.
         Increased nutrients.

Determine how materials are recycled in nature.

Identify and analyze forces that cause change in landforms over time including.

         Water and Ice.
         Wind.
         Gravity.

Investigate and discuss the role of the water cycle and how movement of water over and through the landscape helps
shape land forms.
Discuss and consider the wearing away and movement of rock and soil in erosion and its importance in forming:

         Canyons.
         Valleys.
         Meanders.
         Tributaries.

Describe the deposition of eroded material and its importance in establishing landforms including:

         Deltas.
         Flood Plains.

Discuss how the flow of water and the slope of the land affect erosion.
Identify and use models, maps, and aerial photographs as ways of representing landforms.
Discuss and analyze how humans influence erosion and deposition in local communities, including school grounds,
as a result of:

         Clearing land.
         Planting vegetation.
         Building dams.

Investigate the water cycle including the processes of:

         Evaporation.
         Condensation.
         Precipitation.
         Run-off.

Discuss and determine how the following are affected by predictable patterns of weather:

         Temperature.
         Wind direction and speed.
         Precipitation.
         Cloud cover.
         Air pressure.

Describe and analyze the formation of various types of clouds and discuss their relation to weather systems.
Explain how global atmospheric movement patterns affect local weather.
Compile and use weather data to establish a climate record and reveal any trends.
Discuss and determine the influence of geography on weather and climate:

         Mountains
         Sea breezes
         Water bodies.

Determine the motion of an object by following and measuring its position over time.
Evaluate how pushing or pulling forces can change the position and motion of an object.
Explain how energy is needed to make machines move.

         Moving air.
         Gravity.

Determine that an unbalanced force is needed to move an object or change its direction.
Determine factors that affect motion including:

         Force
         Friction.
         Inertia.
         Momentum

Build and use a model to solve a mechanical design problem.

         Devise a test for the model.
         Evaluate the results of test.

Determine how people use simple machines to solve problems.
Sixth Grade

Identify and create questions and hypotheses that can be answered through scientific investigations.
Develop appropriate experimental procedures for:

         Given questions.
         Student generated questions.

Apply safety procedures in the laboratory and in field studies:

         Recognize potential hazards.
         Manipulate materials and equipment.
         Conduct appropriate procedures.

Analyze variables in scientific investigations:

         Identify dependent and independent.
         Use of a control.
         Manipulate.
         Describe relationships between.
         Define operationally.

Analyze evidence to:

         Explain observations.
         Make inferences and predictions.
         Develop the relationship between evidence and explanation.

Use mathematics to gather, organize, and present quantitative data resulting from scientific investigations:

         Measurement.
         Analysis of data.
         Graphing.
         Prediction models.

Prepare models and/or computer simulations to:

         Test hypotheses.
         Evaluate how data fit.

Use oral and written language to:

         Communicate findings.
         Defend conclusions of scientific investigations.

Use technologies and information systems to:
         Research.
         Gather and analyze data.
         Visualize data.
         Disseminate findings to others.

Analyze and evaluate information from a scientifically literate viewpoint by reading, hearing, and/or viewing:

         Scientific text.
         Articles.
         Events in the popular press.

Explore evidence that "technology" has many definitions.

         Artifact or hardware.
         Methodology or technique.
         System of production.
         Social-technical system.

Use information systems to:

         Identify scientific needs, human needs, or problems that are subject to technological solution.
         Locate resources to obtain and test ideas.

Evaluate technological designs for:

         Application of scientific principles.
         Risks and benefits.
         Constraints of design.
         Consistent testing protocols.

Apply tenets of technological design to make informed consumer decisions about:

         Products.
         Processes.
         Systems.

Evaluate the forces that shape the lithosphere including:

         Crustal plate movement.
         Folding and faulting.
         Deposition.
         Volcanic Activity.
         Earthquakes.

Examine earthquake and volcano patterns.
Explain the model for the interior of the earth.
Describe the processes which form and the uses of earth materials.
         Rock cycle.
         Minerals.
         Characteristics of rocks.
         Economic use of rocks and minerals.
         Value of gems and precious metals.
         Common gems, minerals, precious metals and rocks found in N.C.

Analyze soil properties that can be observed and measured to predict soil quality including:

         Color.
         Horizon profile.
         Infiltration.
         Soil temperature.
         Structure.
         Consistency.
         Texture.
         Particle size.
         pH.
         Fertility.
         Soil moisture.

Evaluate ways in which human activities have affected Earth's pedosphere and the measures taken to control the

         Vegetative cover.
         Agriculture.
         Land use.
         Nutrient balance.
         Soil as a vector.

Assess the use of technology and information systems in monitoring lithospheric phenomenon.
Conclude that the good health of environments and organisms requires:

         Monitoring of the pedosphere.
         Taking steps to maintain soil quality.
         Stewardship.

Describe the flow of energy and matter in natural systems:

         Energy flows through ecosystems in one direction, from the sun through producers to consumers to
         Matter is transferred from one organism to another and between organisms and their environments.
         Water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen are substances cycled between the living and non-living

Evaluate the significant role of decomposers.
Examine evidence that green plants make food.

         Photosynthesis is a process carried on by green plants and other organisms containing chlorophyll.
         During photosynthesis, light energy is converted into stored energy which the plant, in turn, uses to carry
          out its life processes.

Evaluate the significance of photosynthesis to other organisms:

         The major source of atmospheric oxygen is photosynthesis.
         Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and oxygen is released during photosynthesis.
         Green plants are the producers of food that is used directly or indirectly by consumers.

Evaluate designed systems for ability to enable growth of certain plants and animals.


Determine how convection and radiation transfer energy.
Analyze heat flow through materials or across space from warm objects to cooler objects until both objects are at
Analyze sound as an example that vibrating materials generate waves that transfer energy.

         Frequency.
         Amplitude.
         Loudness.
         How sound travels through different material.
         Form and function of the human ear.

Evaluate data for qualitative and quantitative relationships associated with energy transfer and/or transformation.
Analyze the physical interactions of light and matter:

         Absorption.
         Scattering.
         Color perception.
         Form and function of the human eye.

Analyze response to heat to determine the suitability of materials for use in technological design:

         Conduction.
         Expansion.
         Contraction.

Analyze the Law of Conservation of Energy:

         Conclude that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another.
         Conclude that the amount of energy stays the same, although within the process some energy is always
          converted to heat.
         Some systems transform energy with less loss of heat than others.

Describe ways in which organisms interact with each other and with non-living parts of the environment:

         Coexistence/Cooperation/Competition.
         Symbiosis.
         Mutual dependence.

Investigate factors that determine the growth and survival of organisms including:

         Light.
         Temperature range.
         Mineral availability.
         Soil/rock type.
         Water.
         Energy.

Explain how changes in habitat may affect organisms.
Evaluate data related to human population growth, along with problems and solutions:

         Waste disposal.
         Food supplies.
         Resource availability.
         Transportation.
         Socio-economic patterns.

Examine evidence that overpopulation by any species impacts the environment.
Investigate processes which, operating over long periods of time, have resulted in the diversity of plant and animal
life present today:

         Natural selection.
         Adaptation.

Step 3 One-Page Research Report and Testable Question

In this step you are going to share with your teacher what you have learned about your

topic. You don’t need to include everything you have learned, but you need to highlight

the important things about your topic. Use complete sentences, good grammar and

correct spelling. The rough draft of this report will be in your logbook. Your final draft

should be typed or very neatly written on loose paper (please do not write the edited

copy of your report in your logbook!)
The testable question is the one question you would like to have answered. Your

question needs to be something you are interested in and will enjoy researching.

The testable question is written first in your logbook. In fact, it would be to your

advantage to have several rough copied testable questions listed in your logbook.

Pick the one question you want to do and write it in edited form on a separate piece of


This is due on 11/30/2011

Step 4 Fill out the Project Proposal Approval form

This form is in the back of this handbook and it should be turned in by


         You will have to follow additional guidelines if your project involves live animals

         or humans!

Step 5 Design and Do Your Investigation

Tell your teacher how you are going to find the answer to your question. What

investigation will you do to find your answer?

         You need to clearly write the procedures you are using into your logbook.

         Anyone should be able to read your procedures and repeat what you did. You

         need to include specific amounts, times and types of materials.
Prove your answer THREE OR MORE TIMES! The project doesn’t have to work

the way you predicted, but it must work three times or not work three times.

Record all your data in your logbook!

Take pictures or draw pictures for your notes and display.

Using charts and graph makes understanding your data easier.

Please do all measurements using the metric system (centimeters, meters,

grams, etc).

Step 6 Draw your Conclusions

Your conclusion sums up your findings. Write a rough draft in your logbook of

what your discovered.

Step 7 Write your report

      Follow this format:

               Title Page: include the title of your project, your name, grade level,

               and date

               Research Report: What is your research?

               Testable Question: State the question you are trying to answer.

               Purpose: Why is this question important to you?

               Hypothesis: What was your prediction of the outcome of your
                            “I think__________because_______.”

                     Materials: List all the materials you used

                     Procedure: Give the step-by-step directions of what you did.

                     Observation: What did you see, hear, and/or measure? Just give

                     the facts and not your opinion.

                     Results/Data: Here is the place for those charts or graphs.

                     Conclusions: What were the results of your works?

                     Future Studies: What would be the next possible investigation you

                     do with this data?

                     References: Give all the references you used to help you do your


                     Acknowledgements: Here you thank all those that helped you.

Step 8 Have your log book checked by your teacher on December 15, 2011 and

January 17, 2012.

Step 9 Design Your Display Board:

Your display board is the first thing people will notice. You cannot tell everything on your

board. Your display needs to highlight the questions, the process and the results.

The display should be a free-standing project board. Use coloring and lettering that

makes your information easy to read and stand out! It needs to be neat and organized.

Your logbook, report and any materials you want exhibit will be displayed in the front of
your board.
Step 10: Practice Your Presentation and Interview

Practice explaining your project and answering questions in a brief period of time.

       You will need to be able to explain what you did and why your question is

       important to you.

       How you came to your question and what was your hypothesis?

       What you discovered doing your research?

Special notes:

This science fair project will be a collaboration between home and school. Mr. Byers

and Ms. Suzanne will be guiding the research and report writing at school. Students will

be doing their project and display board at home. It is ultimately the student’s

responsibility to choose his/her project, complete the logbook, reports, research project
and display board. Research and report writing can be done with support at school. The

research project and the display board will need to be conducted at home

                 Project Proposal Approval

Describe the scope of your research. What are you going to do and how are you going

about your research? You need to list the materials you are going to use in your project.

Student Signature:____________________________________ Date:_______________

Parent Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________
Teacher Signature: ___________________________________ Date: ______________

This form is due on or before December 8, 2011.

   Date                  Benchmark                    Complete     Points     Points
                                                     (Teacher’s   Possible    Earned
              Present your Topic Choice to your
              Turn in your Research Report and
              share your Testable Question with
                          you teacher
             Complete your Project Proposal and
             turn in your Research Plan Approval
               Have your logbook checked twice                      10

                       during the project.
               Complete your Project Progress
             Report and share it with your teacher

                  SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT                              50
                   See the Rubric for scoring

                           ON TIME                                  10

                       TOTAL POINTS
Name:________________________________________ Grade 4___ 5___ 6___ Teacher K ___ S ___ R ___

             Rubric for Highland Mill Montessori Science Fair
                         Attempted                                    Proficient                                 Advanced



                                1                                           3                                           5

 Problem         The problem is stated in                    The problem is stated as a                  The problem is stated as a
                 question that is vague. The                 question. However, there is                 question. There is evidence
  Factor         problem is stated in manner                 limited learning opportunity in             that it comes from the
                 that reveals the student’s                  the manner that the question                personal interests or
                 prior knowledge. There is no                is stated.                                  experiences. There is genuine
                 question stated.                                                                        learning opportunity.
Preliminary      No source cited, or one                     Cites two or more sources                   Cites two or more sources.
                 source is cited. Not written in             from one or more types of                   Different types of sources are
 Research        the student’s own words.                    resources (encyclopedia,                    cited. The student is clearly
                 Little or no connection to the              magazines, interviews or the                connecting the research to
                 problem.                                    Internet correctly. (Internet               the problem using his/her
                                                             search engines are not a                    own words.
                                                             resource!) There is evidence
                                                             that writing is in the student’s
                                                             own words.
Hypothesis       The hypothesis is not related               The hypothesis is brief and                 The hypothesis is well stated.
                 to the problem. The                         complete. The hypothesis is                 There is a clear connection to
  Factor         hypothesis is not testable.                 related to the problem. There               the problem. There are clear
                 There is limited connection to              is limited connection to the                connections to the research.
                 the research.                               problem.
Procedure        The experimental design does                The experimental design                     The experimental design is
                 not match the hypothesis.                   addresses the hypothesis.                   well structured and it clearly
& Materials      The procedures are                          There may be some                           addresses the hypothesis. The
                 incomplete or unclear. There                unanswered questions                        procedures are clear, step-by-
                 is no materials list or the list            present. The procedures are                 step and repeatable. There is
                 is marginal.                                clear but there may be gaps                 a complete materials list.
                                                             between steps. There is a
                                                             materials list.
  Results        Performed the experiment                    Performed the experiment                    Performed the experiment
                 only once and the data is not               one or more times. The                      three or more times. The
                 summarized clearly. There is                results are presented using                 data is presented in clear
                 no discussion of the                        graphs or charts. There is one              ways using graphs or charts.
                 relationships between                       relationship noted between                  The relationships between
                 variables, patterns or trends               variables, patterns and trends.             variables, patterns and trends
                                                                                                         are clearly stated.
Conclusions      The conclusion does not                     The conclusion answers the                  The conclusion completely
                 answer the problem. There is                problem. The hypothesis was                 answers the problem. There
                 no reference to the                         supported or dismissed and                  is clear evidence why the
                 hypothesis.                                 there were attempts to                      hypothesis was confirmed or
                                                             explain why.                                rejected.
                 Display is worth 10                         Display is worth 15                         Display is worth 20
                 points.                                     points.                                     points
Visual Quality   The project is not engaging.                The project is appealing and                The project is engaging. It is
of the Display   The information is not clearly              neat. It is organized and clear.            well organized and clear.
                 organized or presented.                     The visuals are                             There is good use of visuals.
    Factor       There are major mistakes in                 understandable. There are                   The language and spelling are
                 language or spelling                        few language or spelling                    faultless.

    Bonus        It is clear that the majority of            It is clear that the majority of            It is clear that the majority of
5 extra points   the work has been hand done                 the work has been hand done                 the work has been hand done
                 by the student.                             by the student.                             by the student.


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