Proposal Title

Building Self-efficacy in Grade 6 Students through the 4 P’s of the Science Fair Project

Abstract

The science fair competition as it is known today is dated back to 1928 when the American Institute of New York City hosted the first research competition at the American Museum of Natural History (McComas, 2011). Since then the concept of student driven research investigation has grown momentum throughout the country. Through such projects students are engaged in work that is on par with the real world of science. This work includes the 4 P’s: conducting the research experiment Project, creating a Poster board presentation, writing the research paper, and doing the oral presentation. These elements of this project strongly support academic literacy and skills needed for standardized testing.

The subjects for this study were 65 middle school 6th graders who participated in a school wide science fair project in their grade six science class. Students reported that research skills that include writing and oral presentation helped to develop their confidence therefore increasing their self-efficacy. As confidence increased so did their self-efficacy regarding their ability to engage in competition. Therefore, the science fair project and competition fostered the self-efficacy in these students and helped them to and develop skills that they used in other academic arenas such as literacy.

Keywords

science fair projects, literacy, self-efficacy, middle school students

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Building Self-efficacy in Grade 6 Students through the 4 P’s of the Science Fair Project

The science fair competition as it is known today is dated back to 1928 when the American Institute of New York City hosted the first research competition at the American Museum of Natural History (McComas, 2011). Since then the concept of student driven research investigation has grown momentum throughout the country. Through such projects students are engaged in work that is on par with the real world of science. This work includes the 4 P’s: conducting the research experiment Project, creating a Poster board presentation, writing the research paper, and doing the oral presentation. These elements of this project strongly support academic literacy and skills needed for standardized testing.

The subjects for this study were 65 middle school 6th graders who participated in a school wide science fair project in their grade six science class. Students reported that research skills that include writing and oral presentation helped to develop their confidence therefore increasing their self-efficacy. As confidence increased so did their self-efficacy regarding their ability to engage in competition. Therefore, the science fair project and competition fostered the self-efficacy in these students and helped them to and develop skills that they used in other academic arenas such as literacy.