Who Knew? Google sponsored a world wide science fair, and grade 8 science fair projects qualify!
Recently, Google sponsored their first ever Science Fair and since they are Google, they were able to get plenty of great sponsors like National Geographic,Scientific American, Lego, and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The age range for this event was 13-18 so there was plenty of room for grade 8 science fair projects as they fall into the age range.
Before you think that regular every day kids could never end up at Google, I want to share with you what the 13-14 year old division winners did for an 8th grade project, as proof that quick and easy science fair projects are just as good as the more complicated ones, and in fact they may even help you learn better science and win some awards to boot.
Here is the scoop about the 13-14 age group:
Lauren Hodge, from the USA, won the 13- and 14-year-old age group with her project about marinating chicken. Really! Her hypothesis was that using lemon juice in the marinade will decrease the amount of carcinogens released when cooking the chicken. See what I mean, a simple concept. It all boils down sometimes to how scientific the experiment was. In fact when you look at the Google judging criteria, it should look very familiar, as it is based on the steps to the scientific method to a tee.
Here is a brief look at how Google ran their science fair, and really it is a lot like any middle school science fair you are used, to, except bigger rewards, a a lot more people.
They divided the entries into groups, 13-14 year olds, 15-16 year olds and 17-18 year olds, that came from all over the world. There were initially 7,500 projects entered, but not in a live science fair, their project write ups and a video presentation were submitted. Then a panel of teachers went through and rated each project initially on the powerpoint/video presentation, and then as they whittled it down on eight different scientific criteria, which ended up with 60 semi-finalists. The process continued until the top 15 were flown to the Googleplex where they presented their projects to an all-star panel of judges.
For the complete news article on this topic click here. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-20078967-76/whip-smart-whippersnappers-at-google-science-fair/#ixzz1T7YnER49
Guess what was the make or break piece of the power point/videos? Which is what they used for the first cut….If the question, hypothesis and conclusion were clearly stated. Understanding and applying the scientific method is the core of all grade 8 science fair projects, and all other grades to boot!
With your local science fairs, that are also split into age levels, and the judges will be looking for the same eight criteria as the Google judges, which is all about how well you represent each step of the scientific method, and your enthusiasm, interest, research and quality of the display. Often the top middle school winners go onto a regional science fair, other places it is just self contained.
Now the 13-14 year olds won $25, 000 scholarship money, which a normal school could never do, and the top prize was $50,000. They also got the chance to do cool things the business partners brought with them, but the point is each one of these winning and often simple science fair projects started off in their own school science fair as won the opportunity to go further to regional fairs. At some point they decided or were encouraged to submit to the Google Science Fair.
So you never know how far your grade 8 science fair projects can take you!