For those teachers who would like an alternative to the tremendous amount of work that goes into a full-fledged science fair, the Classroom Invent-a-Fair could be just the thing. It is a fun event, can be held in the classroom, and can be carried out with a minimum of teacher effort and preparation. It requires real ingenuity and creativity on the part of the participants, in many ways more so than the typical science fair project.
The Classroom Invent-a-Fair can be limited to students in just one class or can involve students from several classes. It can even involve different classes (each working as a unit) competing against other classes, each working as a unit.The following steps outline the basic format for a Classroom Invent-a-Fair:
- Distribute the Invent-a-Fair Introduction sheet to the students. It provides an introduction to the Classroom Invent-a-Fair and a form that the volunteers who wish to participate must fill out.
- Set a date for all prototypes to be turned in and for the actual event to take place.
- Be willing to help students who might need assistance with such things as locating certain materials.
- You may want to arrange for after-school get-togethers during which the "young inventors" can troubleshoot problems with each other as they work on their prototypes.
- Select judges for the activity. These judges might be a combination of science teachers and students as well as qualified people from outside of the school.
- Decide on prizes or awards. The science department budget may have some monies available to cover costs.
- Consider having a local newspaper cover the event. This is excellent public relations.
The Invent-a-Fair Entry Form is an example of a format that students can fill in and turn in with the prototype. These worksheets should be placed beside the prototypes and read by the judges as they judge the entries.Because there are so many variables involved in judging projects such as these, a meeting should be held with the judges for the purpose of designing an evaluation format. The Invent-a-Fair Judging Form is an example of a rating format.
Excerpted from Biology Teacher's Survival Guide.