For students, the school science fair often sets the stage for the most involved and intellectually challenging projects of the year. From exploding volcanoes to deteriorating ozone layers, a single project sometimes can take months to complete, says Chicago-area educator Madeline Binder, who recently launched a new web site designed to help middle and high school students through the science fair process. Using a cartoon character named Detective ThinkMore, Binder leads learners through the steps of conducting a successful science fair project. For instance, by clicking on the “Secret Files” button, students get a list of potential projects, topics, ideas, and experiments, as well as additional resources for continued research and exploration. Plus, an online timeline helps students stay on task and finish their projects on time. Students also can learn how to map a project timeline, keep a science log, choose a category and topic, research a project, complete all six steps of the scientific method, write a project report and abstract, make a display board, give an oral presentation about their project, and more. For parents, a guide explains how to coach a child during this process while avoiding the temptation of taking over the project themselves. In addition, a teacher’s resource page contains links to several instructional resources and planning guides designed to help facilitate the process.

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