When people think of science fair they often think of kids building exploding volcanoes or 3D models of the solar system. However, at its core, science is much more than dropping Mentos into a bottle of Diet Coke and watching it explode. Science is about using a specific process to ask and then answer questions. This process is one of the most powerful tools we have to find the answers to the problems facing our communities.
When students start out learning about science it should be in a fun and playful way. Our middle school science fair students are encouraged to build exploding volcanoes and bursting Diet Coke fountains. Science is FUN! These younger students are then asked to push their experiments to the next level.
How does temperature affect the height of Diet Coke - Mentos explosion? Is it better to add baking soda to vinegar or vinegar to baking soda. They then set up experiments with a single independent and dependent variable in order to answer their question. This process gives our students an understanding of how scientists tackle more complex questions and how they present their answers to the world.