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Promoting Student Research with Science Fairs: Case Studies of Exemplary Programs


  • Peter Rillero

    () (Arizona State University)


There is increased discussion and recognition of the importance of project-based learning in education (Chin & Chia, 2004; Krajcik, Czerniak, & Berger, 1998; Lam, Cheng, & Ma, 2009). Full-inquiry science research projects develop science content and develop and assess all of the standards-based science process skills and inquiry skills. In the dawn of project-based learning moving beyond talk and into implementation, full-inquiry science research should be the gold standard of independent project work.We propose that policy people, leaders, and teachers have the following three main goals for science fairs: (a) Winning Goal, (b) Quantity Goal, and (c) Quality Goal. These goals may not be explicitly stated but they do shape behavior. The winning goal is common but focusing efforts on elite students doing elite projects may limit the amount of students participating. For this research we selected programs that were exemplary in maximizing participation but yet were interested in quality research. Case study analyses of science research programs in Costa Rica, Ireland, and Marlborough, Massachusetts were conducted. Interviews of leaders, supporters, and students were conducted. These interviews and supporting documents were analyzed. Each of these case studies is described and conclusions from comparing programs are presented. The research can inform existing science research programs and places seeking to establish science research programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Rillero, 2016. "Promoting Student Research with Science Fairs: Case Studies of Exemplary Programs," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 3305611, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:sek:iacpro:3305611

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    Inquiry; student research; science education;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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