by former staffers and current ninth graders Kassie F and Kelsey O
For students at the Middle School, eighth grade is equivalent to one thing: the science project. Every student at the middle school dreads the science project from the time they enter 4th grade. Who could not? The science project takes over your entire eighth grade year. The project runs for more than 4 months, and is worth more than 70% of your 3rd and 4th quarter grades. Though all of this may make the project seem intimidating, it’s not as bad as most may think.
At the moment, eighth graders are celebrating the end of the science project. We just finished presentation week, and we are now spending class time answering questions about the project.
From personal experience this year, I can honestly assure middle school students that the science project is not all that it’s worked up to be. The hardest part is probably picking a topic and figuring out your variables, but teachers help the students with that through and through.
After picking a topic, eighth graders spend about a month solely researching their two variables. All of this background research then goes into a “Background Research Paper,” which is the first real grade for the project. There is nothing to worry about though, students hand in a first draft of the paper, and teachers give you feedback. Plus, students have the chance to go to any of the eighth grade science teachers for help, at any time.
Following the research paper, the experiments start. The experiments themselves are a piece of cake. In class is the only time that is spent working on them, and if all goes well, they can be done in four weeks. The best part of the experiment is: there is never a grade on what happens; the grade is based on the student’s understanding of what occurs. It doesn’t matter if the results are not what was expected; it does matter why.
The lab report is basically a summary of the experiment. Half of it is information that one has already figured out and written (hypothesis, procedure, etc.). The difficult part of the lab report is a) the data analysis, which is basically a summary of the pattern and trends in the data, and b) the conclusion, which is, in short, the science behind why everything happened.
When finished with the lab report, all there is left is the Powerpoint-Presentation. This is the section of the project that people should be least concerned about. All there is to do is copy information from the research paper and lab report, paste it into a Powerpoint, and practice ones public speaking a bit.
When I started the science project, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know about any part of the process except for the presentations. Hopefully, you know a bit more, and are somewhat less nervous about the eighth grade science project!