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Megan S. Candelaria
Cheerleaders, Supporters and Assistants
No scientist ever works in complete isolation. The role of the parent in a science fair project is to be a supporter, a cheerleader and an assistant to the student conducting the project.
Cheerleader: There will be times that your young scientists will be very excited about their science fair projects and times when they would rather abandon it and do something else. Your role is to share in their excitement when it is there and help rekindle it when it wanes.
Supporter: The most important things a parent can do, no matter what kind of science background you have, are to show interest in your child’s project and to ask questions about it. Just follow your intuition.
- Sometimes a very simple question can help scientists see things about their research that they never saw before.
- Moreover, giving your children a chance to explain their project to you, an adult, will help them later on when they have to present it to the adult judges at the science fair competition.
- Sometimes experimentation requires the help of a lab assistant.
- Sometimes a problem is easier solved when multiple people are thinking and talking about it.
- Sometimes research
participants are needed.
- Sometimes information is needed from research materials or from the teacher.
- The quality of the project should reflect their
capabilities not yours.
- They need to understand and to be able to explain all the aspects of their project to the judges.
- They need to be able to
answer any questions that the judges ask.
The best Cheerleaders, Supporters and Assistants
provide encouragement to their young scientists;
help young scientists be organized, diligent, honest;
assist when needed, but do NOT take over or do the project for their young scientists;
ask thoughtful and challenging questions when necessary;
communicate with teachers when questions arise.