George Lucas Educational Foundation

Bright Idea: Digital Science Fair

Barbara Tannenbaum
Managing Editor at Edutopia
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If Albert Einstein had to illustrate his theories at a local science fair, he would surely have appreciated the efforts of eighth-grade science teacher Maya Garcia. At Hardy Middle School, in Washington, DC, Garcia took on the task of creating an all-digital science fair. Here is her prize-winning blueprint.

Why: The school started out with three goals: 1) Be environmentally conscious. 2) Teach students how to use computer programs. 3) Share projects globally with other students.

How: Students posted their projects online using Google Docs and received feedback from judges all over the country. They used Microsoft PowerPoint to create slide shows and learned how to embed video in their presentations. The school's science department held workshops and tutorials for any student who did not have home access to the software.

Next Steps: The faculty is already brainstorming new ways to improve the digital science fair format. Next year, they'll offer workshops on topics like slide design and video editing.

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Mr. Malloy's picture
Mr. Malloy

I really like the idea of opening up the projects globally! It will also be nice to see what other students are doing around the country and world!

Marsha Nodeen's picture

You got me thinking. Just talked with our science teacher and we're going to explore using Photo Story 3 to make movies of the photos the kids take - and then THEY can narrate the story themselves. Cool program that then makes a Windows Media Video that we'll be able to share online!

Monica CAbarcas's picture

I am very interested in the blueprint article featured in Edutopia's April/May magazine. Does Ms. Garcia have a class website or a site where all of the projects were featured? I'm dying to look at them and share ideas with colleagues in a PLC. Please share this info!!! Thanks! :)

Dr Pearl Lewis's picture
Dr Pearl Lewis
Science education consultant:

This style of project presentation is a great way to expose students to new technologies. I like the idea of encouraging students to use traditional presentation software like Microsoft Powerpoint. This is the kind of software that can be used extensively beyond school, so these students are being equipped, perhaps without realizing it, for achieving long term career goals.

Science Mom's picture
Science Mom
<a href="">24 Hour Science Projects</a>

This is a great idea! I hadn't even thought of it until now, but it would work out perfectly if executed!

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