The focus was on the scientific method--you know, lite stuff. Each week we explored another step of the process. If you've forgotten, it goes like this (with small semantic variances): Problem, Research, Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment (within which lies Materials, Procedure, and Data collection), Results, and Conclusion.
The kids in my group were between 3rd and 6th grade. We had lots of fun (I think) doing experiments and discussing the progress of our projects. I made sure we made messes and blew things up. But in the end, I was not sure if the fair would fly or fail.
MeiWei was very gung ho with a hypothesis of her own making after a subject near and dear to her heart: doing laundry. She postulated that clothes hung outside would fade at the same rate as clothes in the dryer.
The materials were purchased: a half dozen t-shirts in an array of colors, cut up into pieces that would be divided between line-drying and machine-drying. But after a couple of loads, the scientist ran into weather problems that prevented collecting enough data. The trending forecast was not good. With a week to go it was time to bail.
Experiment 2 was out of a God-send of a book entitled Last-Minute Science Fair Projects (Scholastic): When Your Bunsen's Not Burning but the Clock's Really Ticking . She chose (with a little urging by Mom who thought the mommies would be interested) "Young and Lovely: Does Vitamin E Really Prevent Aging?" Three rose petals were treated to either a dip in water, a smear of vitamin E oil, or plain old air and then baggied.
Sho' nuff! After several days the "E" petal was still fresh while the others had shriveled to brown little wormy things.
Research showed it's best to apply topically, so I'm headed to that health food store and get me some youth in a bottle!
Like MomR always says, "You never stop learning!"