Student Designed Investigations Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair
Grade level(s):Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5
Topic:Presenting findings of an investigation to a wider audience
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.
See vocabulary words taught in previous lessons of this unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?"
attractive, audience, illustration
What you need:
Making Posters: For every pair of students: a poster board, glue, scissors, construction paper of different colors, white lined paper, drawing paper, pictures taken of students as they performed their investigation, "Science Presentation Board" evaluation sheet. Each pair should also have their filled out investigation plan, original data collected, and any pictures, charts or graphs that they drew to illustrate the data.
Science Fair rehearsal: Student posters, living things investigated, any materials needed to be displayed with poster(i.e. experimental set up, tools used) and tables to display them on.
Science Fair: Student posters, living things investigated, any materials needed to be displayed with poster(i.e. experimental set up, tools used) and tables to display posters on. Display of aliens and their habitat drawings if you did extension activity.
Making Posters: classroom or a large space like the auditorium or long hall
Science Fair rehearsal: classroom or a large space like the auditorium
Science Fair: classroom or a large space like the auditorium
Making Posters: one 2 hour period or 2 one hour periods
Science Fair rehearsal: 1 hour
Science Fair: 1 evening for 2 hours, or half day with two classrooms coming in every 15 to 20 minutes.
This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of their investigation for a grade level science fair.
In this particular lesson, students create Poster presentations explaining their investigations. They use the posters to help them present their investigations to an audience of adults and children at a science fair.
A prerequisite to teaching this lesson is to teach the previous lessons in this unit.
UNIT: What is Life and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?
1) What Do Living Things Have in Common?
2) Living or Non-living?
3) Introducing Cells
4) Introducing the Process of Investigation Science
5) Student Designed Investigations Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4- A Living Thing Responds to Its Environment
Part 1 - Observation
Part 2 - Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials, and Procedures
Part 3 - Collection Data and Drawing Conclusions
Part 4 - Poster Presentations/Science Fair
Students will be able to create a poster presentation that effectively explains their scientific investigations to an audience of students and adults.
Students will practice explaining their investigations and using evidence to back up their inferences drawn from the data collected during their investigation. Whenever possible, they will be able to answer questions posed by others by refering to evidence gathered during their investigation.
Students will display critical thinking when asking questions about the investigations by fellow students
Making Posters: If possible, do this activity in two groups because it requires a lot of room. I usually have a few pairs working outside the classroom door in the hallway. A parent volunteer is also helpful. The auditorium is another possibility. Gather materials and plan for storage of the poster boards so that they don't touch each other until the glue on them dries.
Science Fair: Procure a space and time for the fair. I plan the fair for mid-May, after Standardized Testing. We invite two classrooms to come to the fair for 15-20 minute intervals and run the fair until lunch. We also send invitations to parents and school personnel.
Lesson Implementation / Outline
Making the Posters: Explain to students that they will get an opportunity to share all their hard work as scientists with the rest of the school and their parents during a special science fair at the school. Let them know that one way that scientists and science students share their work is through poster presentations.
If you have a poster from a previous science fair, share it with the class. Explain how science posters are used to share the scientist's testable question, investigation, data, and conclusions with other people. Tell them that you are going to share some tips about how to make a great presentation using a poster board.
Making the Posters:
1.Hand out a "Science Presentation Poster " sheet (attachment) to each student. Go over the criteria that will be used to assess their poster presentation: Neatly printed, Easy to read, Attractive, Scientists' Names, Title (reflects the big idea of the investigation), Testable Question, Procedure, Illustration, Table, or Graph of Data, Summary of Data, Conclusion based on evidence from the data, Ideas for improving the investigation. If you are using this sheet for evaluation of the presentation, explain the point system.
2. Hand out posters and have students write their name on the back. Hand out each pair's investigation plan. Show students the materials they can use to decorate their poster and which paper to use to recopy each section of their investigation plan in large, neatly printed letters.
3. Have students arrange all the material on their boards and then check with an adult before glueing anything. Emphasize arranging the different parts of the investigation in order so that the process of doing the investigation is clear to the reader.
4.Students who finish early, can work on ways of making their poster more attractive so that more people will want to read it.
Rehearsing for Science Fair
A day or two before the science fair, set the posters up in the classroom. Have one of each pair stay by the poster and have the other person role play being different students or adults who are coming to the science fair (ex: 1st grader, 5th grader, parent, principal). Have the role players go to each poster and ask questions that they think the person that they are role playing would ask to the student at the poster. After 15- 20 minutes, partners exchange who is staying at the poster and who is role playing.
Host a poster presentation science fair!
Extensions and Reflections
See "Draw an Alien in its Natural Environment" lesson.
My students love participating in the science fair. They have expressed great satisfaction in feeling like the expert or teacher when explaining the investigation that they devised and the data that they collected. One student said the best part of the fair was having the younger students admire him. Another said that "We learned something about slugs from our investigation that not even the fifth graders knew."
NOTE: I recycled the poster boards every year by tracing the outside of the poster on fadeless bulletin board paper and then stapling around the edges of the poster. Then students glue their own work onto the fadeless paper. It took more time but didn't waste poster board and was less expensive than buying boards every year.
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