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Mini Display Boards for Science Experiments

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Completed display board.

Completed display board.

Teaching children the scientific process is something that should be done at an early age and continued to be reinforced all year long. Unfortunately many times teachers wait until a science fair to teach students this process. It is then taught in isolation and students do not remember the process at all. Using these mini display boards in not only fun for students but it will help them to retain the process much more completely.

The Scientific Process

The scientific process is used by scientists to investigate a problem. They begin with a question which then formulates into a hypothesis which is tested in an investigation and conclusions are then drawn from the investigation. This is an important process to teach our young scientists as this procedure is how scientists test ideas and then share them with other scientists to replicate their work. In addition to teaching the process, it is important for students to understand that accuracy is very important in this process.

The Scientific Process

StepsDefinition

Question

This is the idea that will be investigated. It is put into question form.

Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a form of a prediction. The prediction is put into an If, then statement. For example: If I put vinegar over the egg, then.... (this is where the prediciton is inserted.)

Materials

This is a list of all of the materials that your investigation will use.

Procedure

The procedure provides a step by step guide to replicatiing the investigation. Students need to be reminded that accuracy in these steps is critical.

Data

The data are the observations that are collected during the process. I encourage my students to use their five senses. The data can be shared in the form of written word, drawings, photos, and more.

Results

What happened in your investigation? This will provide information about what occurred. It is a sort of summary of the observations.

Conclusion

The conclusion evaluates the hypothesis based on the results. Was the hypothesis correct or incorrect and why?

Materials Needed

one manila file folder for each student or group

two 3 1/2 x 5 index cards

markers or colored pencils to decorate the boards (optional)

materials needed for the experiment of your choice

To create the board, simply fold each side of the folder into the middle crease. This will create four individual panels. It should resemble what you would find for a large, three panel display board made of foam board.

Purpose of the Mini Science Boards

To demonstrate the scientific process to my students, we do a group investigation. My purpose is not for them to have a great scientific investigation, but to guide them through through the steps of the scientific process by creating a quality question, teaching them how to construct a hypothesis, having a conversation about how to collect data as well as how to analyze the results and write a conclusion. Once they are able to learn these skills, then they can go off on their own and develop fantastic science projects. The mini boards are just a fun way to display our information and allow each student to have a chance to create one of their own.

Our Investigation

The investigation that we did in our class was a simple on that involved just three days. This was a guided activity so we all participated in it together. I modeled the information and students recreated it on their own boards. Although I modeled this for my students, I did not "give" them the information. We came to a class consensus when creating our question and then each student created their own hypothesis, observations, results, and conclusions.

Question

What will happen to an egg if it covered in vinegar for three days?

Hypothesis

If we cover an egg with vinegar, then... This is where each student had an opportunity to individualize his or her hypothesis. We talked about what we thought would "make sense" in regards to our hypothesis. For example, I would not predict that it would sprout wings and begin to fly. That wouldn't be logical. So in this sense I guided the children to create a hypothesis that was relevant.

Materials

one uncooked egg

one plastic cup

vinegar to cover the egg

Procedure

  1. Place an uncooked egg in a plastic cup.
  2. Pour vinegar over the egg in the cup.
  3. Record your observations.
  4. Each day, for three days, record your observations.

Observations

This is where the information is again individualized. We labeled our boards, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. Many students drew pictures in addition to writing out their observations. I require in fourth grade that they must have written observations but may add pictures to clarify their thinking.

Some observations from Day 2 included: "The shell is coming off." "It is soft." "It looks kind of yellow."

Results

Again this part was based on what each student observed individually. They each wrote their own conclusion, however I reminded them that this is a sort of summary of what they observed.

Conclusion

I remind my students that this is where they really put on their scientist hats. They are to now think about what they originally thought would happen and decide were they correct or not. This is where they analyze their hypothesis. I guide them to start with "My hypothesis was correct or incorrect because... and then allow them to give evidence of why it was correct or incorrect. We talk a lot in my classroom about proving your thinking in every area of our learning so this was not new to them. Simply stated, how do you know? What proof do you have that it was correct or incorrect.


My students had a great time creating these boards. I typically try to do this type of display two to three times a year. With each time, I let my students do a little more independently. By the time they are ready to produce an investigation for the Science Fair, they have a much greater understanding of how to create their investigation and display board.

Scientific Process in the Classroom

Additional Resources for Experiment Ideas

Although we know the wealth of information that the internet provides us, you can find a lot of great activities and experiments in books that are designed specifically for science projects and investigations. These selections are a great starting point for your next science adventure!

Fun With Science

I hope that these mini display boards help to inspire you and your students to have fun investigating science questions as well as allowing your students to better understand the scientific process. Of course we want learning to take place in science, but it must be fun too! If you decide to try this idea out, come back and share with me how your students or your own children enjoyed it!

Comments

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 28, 2012:

I'm glad that you found the idea helpful sadie423 and I hope that you give it a try! Notebooks are an excellent tool to use as well. However, for the practice of the presentation, these folders work great. Thanks for your visit and comment!

sadie423 from North Carolina on May 25, 2012:

I agree the scientific method is important to learn at an early age, any science related activity we do here we go through this process. I never thought about using folders like that- it's a great idea. We use notebooks and lapbooks but this would be great for individual experiments.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

So glad Ibrahim Vet, thanks!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Thank you so much for your kind words Eric. Teachers have a lot on their plates with all that is required these days but it is important for children to have hands on learning experiences. Yes, if you check out the video, the egg does become pickled but what the kids really enjoy is seeing it bounce. No one asked to taste it but I wouldn't have let them anyway! :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Thanks livingpah2004. Glad you had a chance to read and comment.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Wow, I am overwhelmed by your enthusiasm Cyndi! :) I so appreciate your very kind words and visit.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Yes J.S., I don't think that method is going anywhere and the sooner our young people learn it, the better off they will be! Thanks so much for your visit and congrats, I appreciate it.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Awww, you are so sweet Marlene! The kids were very blown away as well. They really couldn't believe that it could bounce! Thanks for the congrats and visit.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

I'm so glad that you found it useful vimier. I wish that you would have had something like this when you were working on your project as well. Hopefully it will be helpful to some other students who are working on this now. Thanks so much for stopping by.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Thanks so much for your visit and encouraging words urmilashukla23. I hope that my students feel the same way. :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2012:

Thanks so much dbuddhika. I appreciate your kind comments and hope that my students feel the same way. :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

LOL, thanks Klara! I really appreciate your enthusiastic encouragement!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

That happens a lot Mary. Parents end up doing the work for their kids because it seems easier than trying to teach them how to do the project. By learning the process earlier on, kids should be able to complete these projects when the time comes for the science fair. And I don't think that we have the bookmarks anymore. :(

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

Thanks so much for reading and commenting makeupoohlala.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

So glad that you will be able to use the information here Steph. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

Thanks so much Alissa. I really appreciate your kind words and congrats. Have a great day.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

Wow John, thanks for sharing that. I never would have thought of that but I'm glad that you have found another creative use for them. Good luck on that exam!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

It is funny seeing that egg bounce isn't it? Especially when you aren't expecting it! Thanks so much for the visit and congrats Gail. I really appreciate your support!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

Many thanks Rose. Glad you found it useful!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

Thanks, it was a nice surprise! :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

Glad you enjoyed it Pinkchic18. I appreciate your visit.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 19, 2012:

You are so kind RTalloni! I hope that your grandson has a blast exploring with all of his great science stuff. He obviously has some awesome grandparents! :) I'm glad that amazon is making the problem right. It's good to hear that they will take care of problems like that as they arise. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Ibrahim Vet from Egypt on May 18, 2012:

I loved it really :)

Eric Calderwood from USA on May 18, 2012:

Great idea from a teacher who obviously cares about having her students learn when they are taught. More teachers should take the time to get their students to participate in the classroom. Just out of curiosity, is the result of this experiment pickled eggs? And did any of your students take a bite?

Milli from USA on May 18, 2012:

Awesome Hub.

Congrats on HOTD!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on May 18, 2012:

Awesome! Awesome hub from the most awesome teacher ever who also happens to be the most awesome mom ever!! Congratulations on your Hub of the Day!!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

Most definitely Dawnrichard, the more fun we can make it, the more they will learn without even realizing it. I appreciate your visit and comments!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

That is so wonderful that you are teaching this process so young, not all schools do that. Maybe you can share this with your teachers and they would want to try this for their students. The understanding truly is a *process* that does lead to much greater understanding. Thanks so much for your congrats and your comments.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

Thanks for your visit and kind comments vespawoolf!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

That is so funny sunshine! Isn't it interesting the way life works! Thanks so much for the congrats and stopping by.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

Thanks ktrapp, it is something that I feel is really just forced on our kids at the last minute for those science fairs. We really can teach them this process and these skills much earlier and in a more simplified way for the younger kids. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on May 18, 2012:

I remember going through this process in middle school, high school and then college! I think the Scientific Method is a time tested approach to solving problems. Kudos to you and all other teachers that teach this concept to prepare our future to be able to effectively solve problems!

Congratulations on the Hub of the Day! Very well deserved! Nice job. Up and shared!

JSMatthew~

Marlene Bertrand from USA on May 18, 2012:

I wish I could have had you as a teacher. The video is amazing. I had no hypothesis about the egg, but when I saw the video I was blown away. Excellent hub. By the way, congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day!

vimier from Chicago, IL, United States on May 18, 2012:

This is a really great outline for middle school science projects and even for high school science displays. It gives a clear outline of the information and isn't cluttered.

I really wish that I had a layout like this in my mind back when I had to do a project involving a board in 7th grade. It was very tedious, and something like this would have definitely helped.

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on May 18, 2012:

What an excellent teacher. Kids are lucky to have you in their class. Great job. Keep it up!

Congratulations on Hub of the day award!

dbuddhika on May 18, 2012:

Congrats on getting Hub of the Day & You have some very lucky students.

thanks for sharing this! Voted up

klarawieck on May 18, 2012:

HOTD!!! Woooohoooo!!! Congratulations, girl! So proud of you! You must be an excellent teacher. You'll do great teaching kids or adults.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 18, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD. I wish my kids had teachers like yourself when they were in school. We (the kid and me) hated these science fair projects. Seems like I was the one to do all the work. My fault, I'll admit! I see someone is going to bookmark this Hub....do we still have those????? I voted this UP, etc.etc.

makeupoohlala on May 18, 2012:

High is like centuries ago to me...I do not miss it...all the best the kids still in school :D

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on May 18, 2012:

This is a great hub! I went on my 3rd grader's field trip last month and they had a pair of really great instructors working with the kids and teaching the scientific method. Definitely bookmarking this hub. As a scout leader, this is super helpful and interesting! Congrats on HOTD, Steph

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on May 18, 2012:

Awesome hub Cara! And what a great idea to prepare your students ahead of time so when the science fair comes around they are sure to produce an outstanding project! Congratulations on a well deserved hub of the day! :)

John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on May 18, 2012:

With my math exam upcoming, I found that these kind of boards really help in terms of revision. I know your Hub talks mostly about science experiments, but I find that with financial calculations, a lot of the notes can be made and in be in front of me, which makes it a lot easier to comprehend. Voted up, useful and interesting.

And in the words of Jin'do the Godbreaker, "Hey, gratz mon!"

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on May 18, 2012:

Congrats on earning Hub of the Day on this outstanding article! You've packed a wealth of information into it with fun links, excellent illustrations and a cool video.

Voted up across the board including funny because I laughed when I saw that egg bounce!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 18, 2012:

Congrats on getting Hub of the Day for this awesome, useful article!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on May 18, 2012:

Congratulations, Cara, on your 'Hub of the Day'. Two thumbs up to you. :)

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on May 18, 2012:

Wonderful hub you've put together here! Very neat! And congrats on the hub of the day :)

RTalloni on May 18, 2012:

Congrats on a super Hub of the Day! This comprehensive look at teaching the scientific process using mini display boards is going to be an ongoing help to a wide variety of people. Your simple project with your method of teaching it is a stellar example for parents and teachers alike.

We just purchased some fun summer science stuff for our grandson and are looking forward to hearing about his escapades with it. The praying mantis life cycle kit was opened by someone in the post office, but Amazon is making it right so I'm sending out a bravo on their behalf. :)

Dawnrichard on May 18, 2012:

Thanks Cardelean for sharing such an informative hub. Yes for kids we have find such a method where they can understand the study and it will treat them as a game. Kids always love game so we have to find such methods for them.

Nice hub and congratulations for being Hub Of The Day.

Dawnrichard

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 18, 2012:

So glad to see you posted this. Even in kindergarten we began teaching the scientific process. The understanding that comes from that evolves into greater understanding as subsequent science is learned. Congratulations on hub of the day.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on May 18, 2012:

What a beautiful hub! Congrats on Hub of the Day.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 18, 2012:

I just seen these boards at Michael's yesterday and thought they would be so useful for teachers and students...what are the chances this would be HOTD?!? :)

Congrats to you!!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

When a process is brand new to children, keeping it simple is important. My students loved making these mini display boards to get them thinking about what the scientific process is and how to conduct an investigation. They weren't all pretty, but that wasn't the point. Now as they grow older, the understanding will be there and they can spend more time creating a more appealing display. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading jpcmc!

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on May 18, 2012:

I like how you are building the foundation for true science fair projects (the ones that are judged) that take place in older grades. The whole concept of science fair was new to my kids when they first encountered it in 7th grade. I can see how truly beneficial hands-on lessons, such as you describe, can be in the younger grades. You have some very lucky students. Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

Thanks for the share Nare Anthony! Glad you found it fun. :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on May 18, 2012:

Thanks so much Kelley! It was a great surprise!

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 18, 2012:

This is a simple yet creative way to teach children. The visual cues will definitely be helpful. Science is not for everyone - some hate it others adore it. By making it simple and understandable, you can definitely help them learn faster.

Nare Gevorgyan on May 18, 2012:

Great and fun hub, Cara. Congrats, gonna share it with my friends :)

kelleyward on May 18, 2012:

Outstanding Article Cardelean! Congrats on HOTD!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 11, 2012:

Thank you so much for the kind words Docmo. It has been a rough year and I'm not feeling much like a patient, practical and inspiring teacher right now. I'm glad that you found it easy to follow and hope that others can use it in their classrooms.

Mohan Kumar from UK on February 11, 2012:

You are a wonderful teacher: patient, practical and purely inspiring. I love the way you broke down the concepts that make it easy for children to grasp. ( and teachers!) . voted up!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 11, 2012:

I agree that critical thinking is so important. This seems to be an area that many children are lacking in these days. Thanks for your feedback!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on February 09, 2012:

Hi Cara-I love the hub! You are such a thorough teacher and your work here reflects that. Very easy to follow what you are explaining and the importance of teaching the scientific process early on. So much depends on acquiring critical thinking skills at the grade school level. I see the lack of it in the high school that J attends. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 08, 2012:

Thanks Simone. I wish you were one of my students too! :) I can only imagine the wonderful contributions you would make to our class discussions!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 08, 2012:

Thanks KrystalD. Hopefully you can use this in your classroom too! It's not for a final science fair project, just to get the process down. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on February 08, 2012:

Another fabulous lesson, Cara! I totally wish I were a student in one of your classes. They must be so much fun!

Krystal from Los Angeles on February 07, 2012:

The scientific process is vital. I enjoyed the way you made it easily understandable and accessible for all learners. Posters are a great way for students of all ages to show their learning. I enjoy the trifolds for organization. Another successful hub!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

Thanks for the info ScienceFairLady.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

:( Sorry to hear that TFScientist. Maybe there's some way that you can tie it into your curriculum. Best of luck to you and thanks for reading and commenting.

ScienceFairLady on February 06, 2012:

Actually, if you do a search in Google with this phrase, science fair projects, there are 3 or 4 science fair display boards on display in the search engine.

Also, if you click on a link in one of my Hub Pages, I have a lot of science fair display boards that kids sent me.

You can download them or show them on the computer to your students.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

Yes kj force, we are not all the monsters that the media makes us out to be at times! I'm glad to hear that you had some great teachers along the way and hope that my students feel like I have positively impacted their lives. This was a much needed compliment today...thanks!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

Thanks so much MsDora. I really enjoy hearing that since we don't hear it that often. It is a lot of work but worth it when they get it!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

It soooo important to have critical thinking skills in every area. Building on natural questioning just makes the most sense. Thanks so much for your comments!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

I know our parents are always really challenged with helping their kids with their projects. This is a great starting point so that they can work a little more independently. Thanks for the compliment (I really needed it today!) And you know my son would LOVE that. We gave him a mini marshmallow shooter last year and it was a hit!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

Thanks so much thebookmom. I bet you're girls would love using this in their science activities!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 06, 2012:

You are very welcome dipless. I'm glad that you found it clear and useful!

Rhys Baker from Peterborough, UK on February 06, 2012:

It is for this reason I wish I taught in the US - I would have so much more freedom to try things like this out. Our courseworks must be completed in a set manner, and any prac work we do must contribute to practising this.

I am inspired, however, and will try to use this great idea. Thanks for sharing!

kjforce from Florida on February 05, 2012:

It's very rewarding knowing there are teachers like you still out there..I had some great ones as I grew up and they made a real difference, which made my decision to go into the Medical field.

Thank you on behalf of my grandchildren, who by the way have a great " appetitie and thirst" for knowledge for the world around us.Great article...

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 05, 2012:

I have great admiration for you teacher, and all the other talented and all your other committed colleagues. It takes so much work beginning with the lesson plan and display board.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on February 05, 2012:

I love this! I actually can't wait for my boys to do science fair projects - the mini boards are a wonderful way to show the scientific process! I'm not a teacher, but I do have a biochemistry degree and worked in research for a while. I'm a big fan of teaching critical thinking and logical approaches to investigating questions, and the scientific method certainly provides students with that experience!

Danette Watt from Illinois on February 05, 2012:

Cara, you are such a wonderful and creative teacher! I love this idea of using manila folders for students to start learning the scientific method. A great hands-on lesson. Of course this brought to mind all those science fairs the kids had to do, especially Sam with this potato gun experiments that he tweaked for several years! I think I still have all the equipment he made for it. I'll pass it along to Alex sometime. LOL

thebookmom from Nebraska on February 05, 2012:

What a great idea, I never thought of mini-boards, they really give purpose to the experiment and the steps of the process. I thought the pictures and table in this hub were especially helpful. GREAT job!

dipless from Manchester on February 05, 2012:

This is a great idea and clear and simple well laid out study aids like this help children lean. Voted up and useful. Thank you for this resource.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 05, 2012:

Thanks georgiecarlos! The kids really find it exciting to create their own boards. Glad you liked it.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 05, 2012:

I agree ScienceFairLady, thanks for your comment.

georgiecarlos from Philippines on February 05, 2012:

This is a great idea!Especially when introducing kids to the scientific method

ScienceFairLady on February 05, 2012:

Yes, it is a process. The most important thing is that are doing it.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 05, 2012:

It is a process indeed Millionaire Tips. Our students need a lot of guidance and confidence building as you state. They really enjoy the activity and look forward to creating it again. Thanks so much for your time in reading and commenting.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on February 05, 2012:

Thank you for your comments ScienceFairLady. Unfortunately as a teacher in an urban school district, our students are often on a steep learning curve. Our display boards are reflective of where our students are at in their learning at this time. The only way to show a better display the first time around would be for me to complete it myself and this would not show the authenticity of the hub. I appreciate your feedback!

Shasta Matova from USA on February 05, 2012:

This is a great idea! I too think it is good to teach the scientific process first, and how to document it as you have shown, before science fair time when they need to focus on their experiment. It will make them feel much more confident.

ScienceFairLady on February 05, 2012:

The article is outstanding. The board is not a good example to show parents and kids. You need to find another completed display board to illustrate what one is supposed to look like.