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Last minute advice for presenting?

Postby fsm » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:32 pm

This is our very first experience of science fair as we never did it in the UK. Our daughter is a 3rd grader and she wanted to do a genetics based experiment because her Dad is a geneticist. We let her do a project involving extracting DNA and discovering blood type. It seemed okay at the time and we were pleased at how well she understood it all as some of his under grads have trouble with some of the stuff she was doing. Then we realised we had missed the point of science fair entirely and it was supposed to be a simple experiment with variables, bar graphs etc that she could perform at home, not in a lab. She managed to do a bar graph, but it is kind of forced, just type of allele, number of alleles for each subject - her results weren't really displayable in the way the guidelines wanted. She has her results in the gel photos, punnet square etc.

We feel bad for her because she worked so hard on the project and it seems she will get 0 points for the sections she couldn't display, like variables, even though her project worked through the Scientific method nicely and seemed like a perfectly good experiment to us. We also worry about what the presenting bit is meant to involve - should she go through everything in detail, or more generally and just allow them to question her about it? She does better at the questioning as she understands everything she did really well, but when she tries to explain all the steps it comes out so long winded as she refuses to skip a single ethanol wash or name of a buffer...

Whatever happens tomorrow, we are proud of her and she is proud of herself and it has given her so much confidence and a real passion for science that she didn't have before, so it is a great experience, but I am just feeling guilty that we may have got it all wrong. I wish I had found this site sooner!

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Re: Last minute advice for presenting?

Postby HeatherL » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:21 am

Hi fsm,

I am incredibly amazed at your 3rd grade daughter's ability to grasp concepts that confuse undergraduates! No matter what happens at the fair, you should be incredibly proud of her.

I am sorry that you did not receive a response until now, and I hope it went well. I would be interested to hear an update.

For future reference, I think your daughter's project should have met the guidelines even though it was more advanced. I would have suggested a bar graph comparing the alleles, or the prevalence of the alleles among her subjects. If she is able to explain what the gel photos mean, I imagine she must have wowed the judges.

You have no reason to feel guilty, and it's so exciting that your daughter got a sense of pride from her project. We would love to help her with her project for next year!


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