Maine State Science Fair (MSSF) is a great opportunity for high school students to get experience doing original, independent research. MSSF is coordinated by MMSA and The Jackson Laboratory. Visit maine-state-science-fair.com to learn about the process and our MSSF project page for more resources.
As school begins again, our first piece of advice for teachers is to get students started on their projects early. Registration opens on October 1, and students should submit their research plans as soon as they know what they’ll be doing. Some projects require pre-approval before experimentation. If any questions arise about the nature of a student’s project, talk to one of the Science Fair staff for clarification.
As for students here are 10 things they probably didn’t know about the Science Fair:
1. You can choose almost any topic. Are you into engineering? Math? Environmental science? One of the top areas for projects is psychology. What excites you?
2. You don’t need to collect your own data. Instead, use info that’s already available. For example, you could map the spread of Lyme disease in Maine, using data from the Centers for Disease Control, and predict how fast it is moving north and the role climate change may play.
3. It’s up to you: you can choose projects that mesh with your own interests. For instance, if you like sports, you could do a project on factors that enhance an athlete’s performance.
4. You choose who: if you like to work with a team or partner, you can. If you like working by yourself, go for it!
5. You could win one of over 60 awards at the Fair. You can write about your work and your awards on your college application.
6. You have a shot of going to the national competition in May all expenses paid.
7. You choose where: you don’t need to do it at school. You can do it at home, in the ?eld, or as part of a club like scouts or 4-H.
8. It doesn’t take hundreds of hours, nor do you have to be a “science person.” But it does take persistence and the willingness to deal with the ups and downs that scientists find exhilarating.
9. You can work with a mentor: someone who’s actually doing a STEM job. It could be a professor, an engineer or psychologist, among others. We can help match you with the right person.
10. You get to work on a question that no one else has answered! How cool is that?
You can download 10 Things You Didn’t Know posters here to post in your classroom. Visit the project page to find information about how students can use MSSF to demonstrate proficiency in Guiding Principles, and for additional poster sizes for download.