Teacher's Guide to Science Projects
The Teacher's Guide to Science Projects was developed to provide teachers with everything they need to assign, manage, and evaluate a science project program in the classroom, including lots of tips to make a science project a fun educational experience. While this guide was designed for teachers who have never assigned a science project, it also offers a variety of tools and tips that seasoned teachers will find useful. Some of the key elements included in the guide:
- Benefits of a Science Project: An explanation of the benefits of doing a science project and how they map to the science education standards.
- Teacher Timeline: Steps to help teachers guide students and plan additional activities.
- Safety Guidelines: How and when teachers should review student science projects for safety concerns.
- Student Science Project Schedule: A timeline for students to follow with reading and homework assignments.
- A Parent Guide to Science Projects: A letter introducing parents to the science project, plus tips on how to effectively help a student on a project.
- Printable Assignment Worksheets: for key steps of the science project
Download Science Fair Schedule Worksheet (Word doc): This worksheet is a handy tool to help construct a schedule for science fair assignment due dates. In contrast to the timelines and schedules included in our Teacher's Guide to Science Projects, these worksheets are not tied directly to the resources in our online Science Project Guide and can be helpful for teachers who are planning a science project but might be using materials other than those provided on our website.
Science Fair Project Grading Rubrics
Grading rubrics are an important component of the science project to ensure that all projects are graded fairly and on the same fundamental concepts. Science Buddies has developed a set of teacher-vetted rubrics in PDF format for each step of the science project as detailed on the Science Buddies website. The rubrics cover:
- The Question
- Research Plan
- Research Paper
- Variables & Hypothesis
- Materials and Procedures
- Data Analysis & Graphs
- Final Report
- Display Board
Draft grading/judging rubric for computer science projects:
Computer science projects are a perfect fit for the interests of many students, but they don't really fit the model of the scientific method. This draft article explains the differences and provides guidelines for computer science projects. Please send us your comments.
Other Classroom Resources
- Science Projects mapped to NGSS Core Teaching Standards: Use this guide to see how Science Buddies resources and hands-on science projects align to the Next Generation Science Standards.
- Teachers Guide to Student Resources on Science Buddies: Use this guide to help you identify the best way to use Science Buddies online resources with your students.
- Printable Copies of our Science Fair Project Guide Webpages: PDF versions of each of the pages in our Science Fair Project Guide
Scientific Method Classroom Poster:
Our 36" x 20" classroom poster provides an overview of the six steps of the scientific method, as described on the Science Buddies website. Anyone interested in printing their own copies may download the PDF.
A poster-sized version of the Science Buddies scientific method poster is available for purchase.
- Comparison of the Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process: side-by-side comparison of the two methods, suitable for printing as a classroom poster.
Success Stories from Teachers and Students
We love hearing from teachers who have been using Science Buddies materials in their classrooms. Our collection of Teacher Testimonials is inspiring, as are stories of successful student and teacher projects inspired and assisted by Science Buddies resources and project ideas.
Sign-Up for a Free Science NewsletterInterested in being the first to learn about new project ideas, teacher content, and our useful tips and tricks for students and teachers? If so, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, and you'll be entered to win our quarterly teacher grant of project display boards for your whole classroom. Already signed up? Then complete our teacher survey and you'll also be entered to win. View drawing details. Visit our Newsletter Archive to browse past issues.
A Guide to Planning a Science Fair
Planning your school's science fair? New to the process or just looking for a more organized approach? We've developed the documents below to help you put on a successful science fair, from start to finish. The documents go hand in hand and offer many options that you can tailor to your school's fair.
- A Guide to Planning a Science Fair (pdf) This step-by-step guide walks you through every step of planning your school science fair—from setting goals for the fair, to recruiting and training volunteers and judges, to announcing the winners. The companion judging documents are also referenced throughout and are available for download below.
- Judging Guide (pdf) This guide includes an introduction to the teacher, as well as thorough instructions to print out for the judges' training on the day of the fair. Features include grade-level expectations, responsibilities, and scoring guidelines. This guide will also prepare them for using the Judging Scorecards below. After reviewing the descriptions below, select and print the scorecard that you feel is most appropriate for your students.
- Judging Scorecard (pdf) This scorecard assumes students understand dependent, independent, and controlled variables. If this scorecard is the appropriate target for your fair, please print and hand out copies to the judges on the day of the fair.
- Judging Scorecard: Engineering (pdf) This scorecard is designed to enable scoring of projects that follow the Engineering Design Process. If this scorecard is the appropriate target for some participants at your fair, please print and hand out copies to the judges on the day of the fair.
- Judging Scorecard: Basic (pdf) This scorecard assumes students understand the concept of a fair test, but do not have knowledge of dependent, independent, and controlled variables. If this scorecard is the appropriate target for your fair, please print and hand out copies to the judges on the day of the fair.
- Judging Scorecard: Elementary (pdf) This scorecard makes few assumptions about student knowledge. They should be able to follow the basic steps of an experiment and make observations to answer a question. Advanced students will be able to make measurements. If this scorecard is the appropriate target for your fair, please print and hand out copies to the judges on the day of the fair.
- Project Tracking Spreadsheet Sample (xls) This spreadsheet includes a sample, as well as a template that can be modified and used to track your students' projects, from registration through the judging process.
- Science Fair Certificate Sample (Word doc) This is a sample template of a Science Fair award certificate.
- Best Practices for Growing City or County-level Science Fair Participation
*NEW* Classroom Activities
Science Buddies is now adapting some of our more popular project ideas into at-home, in-class, or after-school activities. Each activity comes with student instructions, and a facilitator guide with just enough information to help anyone lead a good discussion on the science behind the activity.
Science Enrichment Tools: Encourage Science
Science Buddies wants you and your students to get the most out of the science fair project experience, and we're confident that these Science Project Enrichment Tools will help. Each tool features grade-level applicability, implementation instructions, and direct benefits for your students. Please visit each link, some of which include supplementary tools for you to download and print for use in your classroom.
- Resources for STEM Education Through Video Game & Animation Creation: Incorporating game-making and/or animation-making in your classroom or as an after-school activity may be a successful way of teaching programming and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) content.
- Family Science Night: Show students and their families that science is fun! By setting up several science activities for everyone in the family, parents will experience the type of hands-on, inquiry-based learning that their children are receiving. This tool also fosters interaction between parents, teachers, and students.
- Extra Credit: Boost science fair attendance by providing extra credit to students who bring a family member or mentor to the fair.
- Science Fair Information Night: This tool goes hand in hand with the Science Buddies Teacher's Guide to Science Projects. Hold a Science Fair Information Night for parents at your school and present this dynamic PowerPoint presentation, which explains the process, goals, parent-teacher involvement, and student benefits.
- In-Class Science Project: Employ scientific inquiry in your classroom by guiding students through a hands-on trial run of a single classroom science project before they tackle their own.
- Black Box: Give students assignments related to their science projects, grade them according to set rubrics, and then offer students the chance to improve at each step.
- Science Fair Passports: Organize a passport activity to increase fair attendance and encourage visiting students to enjoy learning from the fair, communicating with fair participants, and being inspired by their peers' projects.
- Peer Review: Have students interview each other about their science fair projects to help them build confidence, enhance presentation skills, and learn to evaluate and implement feedback.
- Project Clinic: Level the playing field for students who do not have access to knowledgeable mentors who can assist them in conceptualizing and completing their science projects.
- More, coming soon!