Friday, April 23, 2010

Science Lesson: Celebrating Science Fair Projects with Twitter

Lesson Overview:
Science fair judges will use Twitter tags to share meaningful feedback at a school science fair.

Tools Used:

Lesson Description:

This lesson brings science fairs into the 21st century using Twitter. Traditional science fairs consist of judges going around from project to project often with student creators never really knowing what those looking at their projects are thinking about their work or the work of their classmates. What's more, parents/families rarely find out what was showcased and have little opportunity to join in on the experience. This lesson changes all of that.

During the science fairs student reporters armed with cell phones are assigned and stationed throughout the fair. They may be in individual booths, stations, or dispersed throughout. These students are assigned to the "Science Fair Tweet Beat" where they will interview judges about the science fair projects asking questions such as:
-"What projects had surprising findings?"
-"What project made you go, WOW! And why?"
-"What project made you go Hmmmm....And why?"
-"What project has the most potentiall for impacting the environment? Explain."

Of Note:
  • You will work with your students and colleagues to determine other relevant questions as well.
  • If student personal learning devices are banned at you school, then selected teachers would each hand over their cell phone to the student reporters to capture the Tweet Beat.

When students tweet they will use the short school Twitter tag in their message as well as the Twitter username of the person's project being discussed. For example the tag for Susan B Anthony High School in Los Angeles, California might be "SBALA." The tweet could be, "@Innovativeedu's project at the SBALA's science fair will allow any garden to grow tropical fruit from egg shells!"

This way students can follow what is happening with their projects, the school will have an updated Science fair stream which they can publish to their website, and interested parents, friends, family, can join in on the conversation tweeting feedback, reactions, questions, and thoughts. As individual students follow the Tweets about them, they should be encouraged to respond and keep the conversation going.

Here's how to get started:
Your students will need an acad
emic Twitter account (discuss consequences for inappropriate use) and the school will need to have a tag established for this lesson. Cell phones used will need to have Twitter entered in their phone (40404) and be enabled to receive text updates which can be set up at

If the school is planning to run a feed on their website or blog there are numerous ways to do this on a variety of hosts. To find what is right for you Google "twitter feed on website."

Tweets can be searched by placing the search term in Twitter or another tool like or

How lesson was enriched with tech:
Using Twitter to capture a Science Fair Tweet Beat enables students to get a deeper glimpse into the heads of attendees. It also provides a home school connection enabling parents and family members who can't be present at the school to follow how their child's project is going and even create their own Tweets to join the conversation. Hosting a Tweet Beat science fair enables students to celebrate their work not only with the judges, but with parents, family, and the world.

NETS Student Standards Addressed (see:
  • Creativity and Innovation - Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • Communication and Collaboration - Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
  • Digital Citizenship - Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

NETS Teacher Standards Addressed (see:
  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
  • Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
  • Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

What research-based instructional strategies are used in this lesson?
  • Summarizing and note taking
  • Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
  • Setting objectives and providing feedback

If you try this lesson, share how it went at
For more lessons visit Harnessing the Power of Cell Phones in Class Lesson Plans

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