Junior High Tips

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Celebrate science in middle school and junior high.

Let ExploraVision harness your students' imaginations. You'll see the sparks of new interest in other areas as you move through your science curriculum. You can even make the project a major part of the team's science and language arts curriculum for several months.

Middle school and junior high success story

The Subway Smart System was created by a team at Horace Middle School in the Bronx, New York and it went on to win first place in the middle school division. The team envisioned a subway system that would extract energy from the wind produced as a train moves down the tracks.

Organizing a middle or junior high team

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

1. Develop A Team Of Two To Four Students.

At this age level you can select students who show interest or open the competition up to the entire class and have students create their own teams. While you're describing the program's rewards you should also explain that the contest requires work outside regular class time. It's a smart idea to have interested students commit to the weekly time required.

2. Brainstorm To Select a Topic.

Help the team select a topic that is clever and actually in the realm of possibility 20 years from now. This process may take a few weeks or more. Guide students to look at technologies they see every day, as this age group can readily identify with things that are part of their lives. But once they get rolling, stay in the background. The students need to "own" the work, to see that it is theirs and not just another part of the required schoolwork.

3. Research The Technology.

First, find an expert. No matter how good your students' research skills, most will find contact with someone in the field they are studying to be the best source of information. This person will probably also be able to suggest other sources for research. You or your mentor may need to set up the initial contact and go with students to their first meeting. You might even be able to establish an e-mail dialogue that's mutually beneficial.

Next, tell your students to hit the library, museums and utilize the Internet. There's a lot of information out there just waiting to be found.

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

4. Complete The Project.

During the process, touch base to ensure that every team member is making progress on his or her contribution and will have it ready in time for the entry deadline. Check the students' work to make sure that all the pieces are ready, then have them prepare the abstract, description and Web page graphics. Please note: The students should do all of the writing.

Don't let the team's hard work go to waste because its project gets disqualified. Make sure that the students actually complete their submissions and mail them on time. Go through the checklist with the team members to ensure rules and directions have been followed to the letter.

Content Standard E: Science and Technology

As a result of activities in grades 5 – 8, all students should develop:

  • Abilities of technological design
    1. Identify appropriate problems for technological design
    2. Design a solution or product
    3. Implement a proposed design
    4. Evaluate completed technological designs or products
    5. Communicate the process of technological design
  • Understandings about science and technology

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 7 – 9 category