We sure had a blast at the 3rd annual homeschooling science fair last week. This was our second year and the first year for Lydia, who loved it. My friend Marcela has organized this 3 years in a row (she has great photos on her blog) and I am so grateful—it's so much fun and such a great way for the kids, parents, friends, and family to come together and see these little scientists at work. Sadie did research on minerals and gemstones, Delia documented an experiment measuring viscosity, and Lydia explained some color theory.
I know Marcela does a lot of work to get it together, but it feels pretty seamless. She's got a perfect program, I think, to making it work out and creating an extra special event with no chaos. There were no rules here—the kids could do any kind of experiment, any age could participate, and two kids could share a board if they like, or do more than one project, whatever works for the kids. Here's some more details if you all would like to try something like this:
- Marcella found a space for free, kindly donated. We needed to bring our own tables for our boards. A folding card table and chair work fine for displaying our boards.
- The time for was 6:30-8pm on a weeknight night. This was great, it allowed many more friends and family to come after work and didn't cut into weekends. It was a potluck too, so dinner was available. Early set up was at 6 and clean up ended at 8:30pm. Super easy.
- The format was, come set up the boards and experiments (if any), and then she asked all the kids to hang out by their projects to answer questions while friends and family looked around. Then, after 30 minutes, all the kids could circulate and ask each other about their projects.
- There were blank comment sheets at each table, so the kids could take home feedback about their experiments.
- At the end every participant got called up to receive a certificate of recognition with their name on it along with a big round of applause.
I think she sends out an e-mail around 3-4 months before, just giving an idea of when it will happen and to get a sense of how many families are interested. This also gives plenty of time for experiments. She has a list of homeschooling families she sent an e-mail out to and then we checked in, volunteered to bring food and help set up and clean up, and helped our kids work on their projects. The experiments were so imaginative and fun to learn about. 'd say the ages this year were about 4-13 years old.