Elementary Tips

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Mold the minds of elementary students.

Elementary students are ready to embrace a life-long love of science. They may need additional help in a few areas, but they have everything else needed to register for ExploraVision — imagination and creativity.

K – 3 grade success story

A few years ago the winning team from Discovery Montessori School in Edinburg, Texas set its sights on windshields with its i.streets project. The students proposed a highly advanced windshield that would sense hazardous conditions in order to produce the correct traffic command for the driver.

If you are looking for a mentor, please contact exploravision@nsta.org.

Keep in mind:

  • Students at this level may need some help from you to learn how to think abstractly in order to answer "how?" and "what if...?" questions
  • Your students may need you or the mentor to help them research and type their entry, but it can and should be in their own words
  • Younger students may need extra help thinking abstractly and projecting beyond the immediate future
  • Help them with their understanding of the use of tools to solve problems, even if they do not yet entirely understand the science behind their designs
  • K – 3 projects are typically shorter in length than projects at other grade levels; K – 3 projects that have descriptions that are 4 – 6 pages in length are perfectly acceptable (there is NO minimum length)
  • The sample web pages are to demonstrate how your students imagine a website for their product would look like (NO need to create a website before you become a Regional winner.)

See a sample winning project from the Grades K – 3 category

4 – 6 grade success story

The Heads Up! Helmet from Virginia Virtual Academy in Herndon, Virginia was last year's 4 – 6 grade winner. The team envisioned a military helmet formed with micro layers of impact-resistant, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene sheets spun and covered with highly sensitive temperature and air pressure sensors to detect concussive force and keep soldiers safe.

Organizing an Elementary School ExploraVision Team

Click here for general tips on helping students of all levels.

1. Develop Teams.

Some coaches choose a single student team while others use the competition as a class project. Either way it's important to enlist parental commitments because few elementary students can take on the responsibility of a contest alone and, naturally, the teams will need transportation, places to meet outside school and other regular support.

2. Brainstorm To Select A Topic.

Lower elementary students best connect with technologies we use every day. Have them think about why these technologies were invented and identify the problems they solve. Why do we have clocks? Cars? What if Edison had not invented the electric light bulb?

3. Research The Technology.

Technical literature written at the elementary level may be hard to find. A local professional or university professor may be able to help explain the basics of a technology to your students. Depending on your students' abilities, you may be able to work with them to find materials, make notes and collect their information.

4. Complete The Project.

The team should then agree on a title and start the sample Web pages. If you are using ExploraVision as a class project, you might have the students present their projects in class or even to another class. Be sure to submit every ExploraVision project in your class, so that all students will receive a recognition gift and certificate of participation.

Content Standard E: Science and Technology

As a result of activities, students should develop:

  • Abilities of technological design
    1. Identify a simple problem
    2. Propose a solution
    3. Implement proposed solution
    4. Evaluate a product or design
    5. Communicate a problem, design and solution 
  • Understandings about science and technology

From the National Science Education Standards National Research Council, 1996

Note: The sample web pages are to demonstrate how your students imagine a website for their product would look like (NO need to create a website before you become a Regional winner.)

See a sample winning project from the grades 4 – 6 category