Every year across the United States, kids dutifully create and show their science fair projects. Science fairs have been around for more than 60 years, and yet there is no real research-based evidence to show what kids learn from them. With support from the National Science Foundation, EDC is conducting Science Fairs Under the ’Scope, the first national study of middle school science fairs in the United States.
EDC researchers are examining if and how science fairs enhance students’ mastery of science and engineering practices, if and how science fairs spark students’ interest in STEM education and careers, and the costs and resources required to implement an effective middle school science fair.
The Science Fairs Under the ’Scope study is a first step in understanding the variety of middle school science fair models taking place across the United States. EDC researchers will share their findings from the study’s two phases:
- In Phase 1: Researchers will conduct a survey of a nationally representative sample of middle school science fair coordinators and will use the results to describe the variety of science fair models taking place in middle schools.
- Phase 2: Researchers will conduct an in-depth study of 40 science fairs in schools across the country.