We are New Jersey Home Educators, a group founded 20+ years ago in order to host an annual science fair for homeschool students living in Camden, Burlington and nearby counties.
Each February, we host the science fair at a local venue. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are very welcome to join. Students in 6th grade and above are eligible to participate in another fair hosted by Coriell Institute for Medical Research if they achieve a high enough ranking at the homeschool fair. Families are responsible to register with Coriell, and this is typically done in the prior Fall. All our students are eligible for awards and prizes, often generously contributed by local businesses. And, for new students, we offer an orientation session to introduce them and their parents to the science fair and to give them an opportunity to ask questions.
Projects range from biology to engineering, computer projects to chemistry. Generally, projects follow the traditional scientific method and begin by asking a question and formulating a hypothesis. For example, does using purified water or simple tap water result in better plant growth? From the question and hypothesis, the student should seek to measure the effect of one variable (at a time) on his or her results. Keeping a science journal, measuring results, and coming to conclusions are all part of the process. Showing that your hypothesis is right is not the primary goal – the primary goal is coming to a conclusion which can lead to further scientific inquiry.
Students not only learn about the scientific method, they also learn to defend their projects by presenting a display board in front of judges. This helps to build the student’s presentation skills and confidence level. Science can be hard work, but there’s also a lot of fun to be had doing the experiments and meeting new friends along the way. Upper grade students are also exposed to colleges looking for science-oriented students.
If you or your student is wondering why they should participate in a science fair, allow us to share the perspective of some of our students, including those who have gone on to the Intel International Science Fair:
At science fair, it’s a great feeling to talk to kids who really get my project and understand what I’m about. At the Intel Science Fair, it was a great feeling to talk to the top 1500 high school scientists in the world. And we had the chance to inspire middle school students who were allowed to come in and observe our projects. Plus we got to meet possible future employers and college recruiters.
Need more information? Please click on the link for the Homeschool Fair Brochure to the left, or click on “Contact Us” above.