Teacher Opinions Concerning Science Projects and Science Fairs

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A 20-question Likert scale and a brief questionnaire concerning science projects and science fairs were sent to approximately 600 randomly-selected high school science department chairpersons in Ohio. Slightly over 30% of the sample returned the survey. Respondents preferred having students do projects as individuals, although working in pairs was nearly as acceptable. Respondents strongly supported preservice training in structuring independent science research projects for students. A large majority of respondents felt that doing science research projects taught lessons that could not be duplicated by classroom instruction. A slight majority agreed that science projects are valuable, but that judging them in a science fair setting is counterproductive. At the same time, respondents said science fairs promote enthusiasm about science, give students experience in communication skills, and give students the opportunity to interact with other students interested in science. Respondents also indicated that science fairs were more appropriate at the junior high level than at the high school level, although a majority indicated that independent research projects are a more appropriate activity for high school students.


Author Institution: Department of Education, Wesleyan University



The Ohio Journal of Science. v95, n4 (September, 1995), 274-277