This portion of the New Haven Public School Science Fair Program is dedicated to enrichment of science education by increasing family awareness of and involvement in the process of learning science. Family Science Nights are held from October to January at targeted New Haven elementary schools and are focused on hands-on, inquiry-based learning for children grades 3-5 and their parents.
At a Family Science Night, an evening of exploration of scientific principles is presented by local STEM students at the participating school. The experiments performed illustrate simple concepts that can be demonstrated using common household items. The aim is to demonstrate the process of scientific inquiry to students and their families.
Through this program, participants learn how to ask a good scientific question, formulate a hypothesis on what the answer might be, and determine the experimental steps to take to answer the question. Then the students and their families perform the experiments, learn the results, compare the results to the hypothesis, and consider why the results and the hypothesis might differ.
These are all important steps in the process required to develop a science fair project, and an understanding of this process by both parents and students will not only result in high quality science fair projects, but will also enhance students' science education experience throughout their lifetime.