Science Fair Alumni Mentorship Program Orientation 2008 November 24, 2008
Agenda Introduction Patti Leigh - Science Fair Foundation BC Ross Waddell - BC Innovation Council Guidelines and Project Tips Dr. Geoff Gabbott - Sir Winston Churchill Secondary Angus Liao - BC Institute of Technology Dinner and project discussions
Piloted: Greater Vancouver in 2006/2007 Now: Greater Vancouver South Fraser Vancouver Island Northern BC Central Okanagan Connects students, teachers, and researchers
Program Goals Resources to address a specific question Encourage students doing project-based science Encourage scientific discussion among students, teachers, and researchers Connect science fair alumni - continued science fair involvement
Program Participants Students grades 9-12 Alumni Mentors Professional Mentors Teachers Parents Science Fair Supporters
Timeline Nov 21, 2008 Most mentor matches completed Feb-Mar, 2009 School and district science fairs Feb 6, 2009 Progress Report #1 due Mar-Apr, 2009 Regional Science Fairs May 22, 2009 Progress Report #2 and Feedback form due
Patti Leigh Executive Director Science Fair Foundation BC
Ross Waddell Director, Programs BC Innovation Council
Why mentorship? - an example “Science” was building aliens out of paper-mâché and learning about salmon I wasn’t very good with aliens I didn’t like fish Then I heard about science fairs... Back in Grade 6...
Why mentorship? - an example Challenges for an aspiring grade 9 immunologist: My parents didn’t know the answers! Limited access to literature and expertise Limited laboratory skills Difficult to understand specialized language Discouragement - “Wait until Grad School…” Money and equipment - you can’t do tissue culture in your bedroom! My school didn’t “do” science fairs
Why mentorship? - an example Important resources: My parents Scientists at the NIH Genetics camp at UBC Grad students and faculty at UBC Supervisors at QLT Inc.
Mentorship Program Guidelines This program includes 2 kinds of mentors: –CWSF alumni –University/Industry Professional Mentors –Pre-agreement: time commitment meeting location type of mentorship
Suggested mentorship CWSF Alumni Mentors General science questions Email/phone/in person Requested journal articles Project presentation and judging Competitive poster board
Suggested mentorship University/Industry Professional Mentors Science and technology-related questions Email/phone/in person Technical advice Requested journal articles Provide technical assistance and laboratory equipment (if appropriate)
Expectations of Students Responsibility for project – outline project goals, timeline, etc. Regular communication Respectful of time No more than one email in a day Supervision if working in lab Respectful of physical/intellectual property Everything must be your own work!!
Science fair project tips Choosing a topic Choose something you really care about! Significance - why does it matter? Originality - has it been done before? Creativity - is your approach unique? Feasibility - are your goals realistic?
Science fair project tips Developing a hypothesis or objective Understand what is known about your subject area (basic principles!) Provide a clear rationale Not all projects have “hypotheses” Ensure your hypothesis or objective is sufficiently narrow in scope - eg. no “curing” cancer!
Science fair project tips Experimentation / Development Try to eliminate extraneous variables Choose the simpler method Perform multiple trials Improvise; create your own tools Keep an up-to-date logbook - standard of reproducibility
Science fair project tips Analysis Critical component of a strong project If you created something, test it thoroughly (includes engineering, computing) Consider as many explanations as possible - it’s ok for your hypothesis to be wrong! Use statistics where appropriate - consult a math teacher for guidance
Science fair project tips Presentation Typical display board includes background, hypothesis/objective, materials/methods, results, conclusions, future work, acknowledgements (many are possible!) Use figures when possible Provide graphs for quick visual reference - describe axes clearly Be familiar with every aspect of your work!
Dr. Geoff Gabbott International Baccalaureate Programme Coordinator Sir Winston Churchill Secondary, Vancouver
Angus Liao BSc/DplT Operations Management UBC and BCIT
More Information Program-related questions and concerns: http://www.sciencefairs.ca/mentorship.html firstname.lastname@example.org Project tips, CWSF judging sheet, safety and ethics guidelines: http://www.ysf.ca/SMARTS/support Taneille Johnson - BC Provincial SMARTS Coordinator BC Innovation Council www.bcic.ca Patti Leigh email@example.com