Special Activities

Science Fair Project Exploration and Extra Help

The GK-12 fellows are leading afterschool workshops in preparation for the Science Fair in March. Fellows are available for afterschool help and brainstorming with students. In addition, several days a week different fellows present possible topic areas for science fair projects. Below you will find some of the materials fellows have prepared for these topic exploration sessions. In addition, we've aggregated a few other useful resources for identifying and executing science fair projects.

Science Fair Project Exploration Materials

  • Students may wish to conduct a human survey exploring an issue of interest to them for their science fair project. Doing a survey project requires choosing a topic, designing and testing a survey, administering the survey, and analysing and presenting the results. The following materials give guidance in each of these areas.
  • Students interested in how their cell phones and other electronic devices work will want to check out these handouts and project ideas:
    • Intro to Radio Propagation: Gives a brief introduction to how communication takes places across a wireless channel. The concepts of multi-path and constructive/destructive interference of radio waves are used to describe why wireless communication is so difficult to do reliably.
    • How Wi-Fi Works: Gives an overall discussion of the functioning of wireless local areas.
    • How Cell Phones Work: Gives an overview of how cellular telephones work, from splitting coverage area into cells to the different techniques that have been standardized for use in cellular systems. A discussion is made about legacy (analog) systems and the migration to digital systems
    • Wireless-related Science Fair Project Ideas
  • If you are interested in how your computer and other machines work, the following science fair readings, acvitivities and project ideas will interest you:
    • Bits and Bytes: Gives an explanation of the way that computers represent numbers and files in terms of base-2 (binary) numbers. A discussion is also made of the representation of characters using their ASCII representations. This document is meant as a precursor to the following document.
    • Boolean Logic: Using the information presented in the preceding document, Boolean Logic is introduced through truth-tables given for simple (NOT, AND, OR) gates. It is then shown how more complicated functions may be produced using these elementary gates (an example of a full-binary adder is given). The document is concluded with a discussion of the function of a flip-flop (latch).
    • Logic-related Science Fair Project Ideas
  • Ideas for Science Fair Projects

Other Useful Science Fair Links

GK-12 RFID Summer Camp 2004

In July 2004, Harvard GK-12 hosted 4 students from local middle and high schools to conduct a project on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology on campus. The camp was an opportunity to immerse the students in the environment that graduate students work in: hands-on access to cutting-edge technology. Read this description of the RFID Summer Camp Program for a more in-depth view of the Summer Camp curriculum and its great success.

Collaboration with TELS: Using Computers to Enhance Science Learning

TELS (Technology Enhanced Learning in Science) is another grant program that pairs researchers with schools to improve science education. The project helps introduce technology and computer-based learning into classroom education. CRLS is a participant in the TELS project and for the first time this year has 2 physics teachers and 1 biology teacher doing online units generated as part of the TELS project.

Learning new technologies for use in the classroom can be challenging for any teacher, so we're collaborating with the TELS project to provide the necessary support to the teachers to help them get the technology-mediated learning off the ground. Rebecca Nesson, our fellow in computer science, has helped teachers organize a dedicated science computer lab to house the computers donated by the TELS grant. In addition, she is working with teachers to get comfortable with the TELS online software and to prepare the teachers to use it in their classes. She will also be providing classroom support.

As a future project, we are planning to use the TELS software to generate new, original technology-mediated modules in all of the science areas. These modules will adhere to the Teaching for Understanding framework and will give the teachers a way to generate and keep track of online curricular materials for use in their own classes.

Field Trips and Lab Visits

Transit Of Venus

On June 8, 2004 Mark Hartman, a GK-12 fellow, led 30 teachers and students in viewing the transit of Venus. Here is the advertisement he used to entice students to get out of bed for the 6:00AM event! And below are a few pictures taken during the transit: