One of the goals of our middle school science program is to engage students in inquiry-based science with the intent of publishing their high-quality work in a prestigious journal tailored to the skills and abilities of middle and high school students–the Journal of Emerging Investigators. We don’t always meet this goal, and that’s acceptable, but it is one to which we aspire nevertheless.
To this end, a number of our assignments are designed to create opportunities for students to develop their own research and scientific questions, submit work for review(s), and receive critical feedback from peers, teachers, and even trained scientists. In summary, it is the explicit intent of Dr. Merritt’s courses to promote authentic, inquiry-based science education in which science students develop questions and generate, as well as test, hypotheses. One of the ways in which we aim to meet this goal is to engage our students in SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS (SFPs).
Each SFP will take the form of a three-part poster similar to the ones presented by college graduate students at professional scientific meetings. During the presentation, the middle school student will stand near the poster to explain their work to visitors and answer questions. The expectations and criteria for the poster will be tailored to (among other factors) a student’s age or grade-level, linguistic background, learning difficulties, and/or experience/ability.
Each science student in Dr. Merritt’s class will undertake and complete one authentic, inquiry-driven Science Fair Project during each semester. This means that each three-year middle school student will complete a total of six SFPs while a student at TASIS.
In middle school, the SFPs will be related to the following general topics:
|Grade||1st SEMESTER||2nd SEMESTER|
|6||Life Science||Physical Science|
|7||Life Science||Physical Science|
|8||Integrated Science||Student Choice|
- Some middle school students may desire to extend or expand the ideas developed in one of their earlier science fair projects during a later grade. In these cases, teacher approval must be given.