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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Science Fair! Where to get ideas and inspiration

Unfortunately, we don't have science fairs at our school, which is too bad since my daughter wants to be a marine biologist and my son an engineer. We talk a lot at home about science and the proper way to do experiments (hubby is a scientist).

We're now part of the Netflix Stream Team, which means I'll bringing you monthly topical posts, paired with ideas where you can get additional ideas (a hint - some of them will be on Netflix). This post is about science!

Where do you go for science experiment ideas? When I was in middle school, we had to do presentations in class about our experiment - it was a great lesson in public speaking that stays with me to this day. My favorite experiment was making rock candy. You can read about how to make rock candy here (and see photos).

I'm big on chocolate, and you might know that if it isn't melted properly, chocolate doesn't turn out well. So here are a couple of chocolate activities - I'm sure you can find a way to incorporate these into a science fair project!
--chocolate covered crackers with candy
--chocolate with Pop Rocks (the science potential here is great)
--chocolate dipped pretzels
--matzah covered chocolate toffee

For local inspiration, visit some of the Bay Area museums, including:
--the newly renovated/located Exploratorium
--we reviewed their new book Exploralab, which has lots of ideas
--the California Academy of Science
--the Lawrence Hall of Science (Berkeley), The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose) and the Computer History Museum
That list is not exhaustive.

For some online help, look at Science Buddies, Energy Kids (U.S. Energy Information Center),, and many others.

If you're looking for inspiration on TV, some shows to consider are: Mythbusters, How Stuff Works, Build it Bigger, How do they do it?

Commonsense Media has some tips for motivating, informing and teaching your kid something about science fair projects.

What science fair projects have you done? What lessons have you learned from the process? Please share in the comments section.

Disclosure: all writing and opinions are my own.

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