Letters to Parents

Letters in reverse chronological order:


1/15/14
Hi everyone.  I have now received all the reports and they are all in the hands of our judges.  I have some people working in all the workshops land I have 2 people to help in registration and a few offer to clean up after the fair for about 30 minutes.  Is there anywhere that can help to set up.  I will be at the church from 12:30-1:30 and from 2:45-4pm.  If you can help at any of those times, even for a little while it would help.   Although the tables are set, I need chairs set up at all of them for the students and for the awards ceremony.  I also have to have all the workshops set up with what they need and I need to move a few tables into our narthex so that parents will have a nice place for coffee, some dunkin munchkins and conversation.  Our judges room  needs to be set up and our registration table needs to be set up. 
The last thing is that we will be photocopying our program at the church so they will have to be assembled.  The church is going to show me how to use the huge coffee pots so that both parents and judges have coffee on Saturday morning.  Please let me know if you can even come for a half hour. 

The church is located at 217 Dowlin Forge Road in Exton.  It is at Calvary Chapel.  Please do not mix it up with Calvary Fellowship which is right on Route 113.  Calvary chapel is off Route 113 on Dowlin Forge Road.  Please mapquest for directions or get on the Calvary Chapel Chester Springs website   

I am encouraging parents to encourage the students to go to the workshops.  The scientists and volunteers in these rooms have given up their Saturday for your children. Your judges have too.  Remind your children to say "Thank You".  Our judges are always amazed at how polite our students are.  Many of our volunteers come back every year because they find our children delightful.  I actually had letters from 2 judges from last year that felt bad that they could not come back this year due to business trips.  

I hope that your kids have learned alot about something that they love.  Each year it amazes me that these students have come up with some of the most creative projects that I have ever seen.  I have been praying for your kids this week not to be nervous, to stay healthy and that everyone has safe travels to and from the fair.  You all are truly wonderful parents and students.  I will be happy to see you all on Saturday between 8:15-8:45.

It used to be that there was a snack bar at the fair.  One of the few things this church has asked is that we do not change money in the church .  We have honored that request.  If you want a snack back and have not ordered one yet, please let me know.  I will pack one for your child and you can send me the $3 in the mail later.  I will be putting in chips, piece of fruit and beverage, which will be an ice tea or lemonade.   Of course, we are continuing the free donut tradition.  I will have some limited apples if someone has a gluten allergy.  

I am really excited for all your students.  I can't wait until Saturday.  The medals are in, the prizes are in, the goody bags are all assembled.  Things are getting ready for another year.  When you come on Saturday morning, please bring my number with you.  I will be on my cell from 6 am til fair time if you need to reach me.  The number is 610-790-3789.  If you get a message that says my mom doesn't know how to pick up her messages, please pay attention to that and just try calling back in a few minutes.  Sometimes, I just accidentally figure it out and sometimes I can't get my messages, so please call back.  


Yeah, Science Fair!!!

Peggy Greene


1/13/14
As I am waiting for papers to roll in to send off to our judges, I thought I would send an email about what to expect on Saturday.  
First of all, to let you know what is happening to your papers, they are being whisked via email to your judges so that they can think of questions to ask about your project to learn more about it.    This way they can read all about your work in their spare time this week.  

You should be at the fair between 8:15 and 8:45 to register, get your table number and set up your project.   When  you come in you will be told where to set up your project.  Your number will be on the table.  If there is no one at registration to help, please just look for the card number which has the project number on it.  You will get that at registration along with a coupon for a Dunkin Donut and a paper with your judging times on it.  Please show this to your parents so they can remind you if you forget or lose the paper......Otherwise you have to find me and I will be running all over the place on Saturday morning.  

I will be giving an orientation talk to the judges around 8:45 and they will take a few minutes to look at projects about 8:50.  Some parents have asked if there is going to be prayer before the fair.  Not all people that attend the fair have the same faith.  However, if anyone feels led to pray, please feel free to gather in narthex of the church at 8:50.  At 9:00am the judging starts.   The judging will be in 15 minute increments.  If your child is signed up not to be judged, please know they still have a judging time.  Someone will still come and give your child the attention they should have after completing such a large endeavor.  They will just come to talk , not to score;  so tell your child not to worry.  

Your child should be at their boards at the times stated on the paper they were given.  Other than that every 15 minutes there are workshops starting.
There will be flower dissection if you come out of the fellowship hall (where the projects are) and it is the first room on the right.  If you go to where the big couches are and turn left and go down the corridor, there will be a room where you are to do some chromotography using crayola markers versus Sharpie markers.  It really is pretty cool but you will be around isopropyl alcohol so please pay attention to the scientist in the room so you don't get any on your clothes.  This is the same as rubbing alcohol for parents who want to know and there will be safety precautions.  If you go back down the hall to the couches and go down the hall the other way you will come to the Narthex where your parents will be hanging out.  Off to the side is a room.  This is where you will be building a roller coaster in teams of two or three so bring some friends.   The radioactive ping pong ball workshop will be in the other half of fellowship hall so  you cannot be too loud in that one in case you disturb people being judged.  

At around 11:15, the fair is open to the public.  There may be a few people still being judged , so please if you see someone with a judge tag talking to someone , go look at someone else's project.  Sometimes we do run a little late if three are many kids in one category.  Friends and family can come and look at the projects.  This is where we are in the tabulation room.  The judges scores are added and we assign kids ribbons in ranks.  There is a first rank, a second rank and a third rank.  Kids that are in 4th grade and up that have expressed interest will find out whether they are going to the county fair.  The kids will get a goody bag of science things that have been donated by various science organizations.  The child that scores the highest score in their grade will get the outstanding project prize.    There will also be two special prizes one for grades K-5 and one for grades 6-12.  The awards will start at around 12noon and we should be done by 12:30.

About volunteers,  we need a few people to help out in various ways as Lora and I cannot do everything ourselves.  If you can help out for a while , please email me and tell me what you would like to do.

We need help in flower dissection,  we need two people willing to be in the radioactive ping pong ball room (especially if you have an engineering background),  someone could be in the chromotography room for about an hour in the beginning of the fair.    I have someone to run the kitchen and that is a big help.
I also need help of two people that can help in the tabulation room as the judges finish up.   This would be around 11:15 to make sure that all the forms are added correctly and the correct names are put on the correct ribbons.     Lastly, if I could have 6-8 people help at the very end , I will not have to be there until 3pm like last year.  I would love for these people to stay for no longer than 20-30 minutes to help.  That way I can get some lunch with my kids who will also be helping out all day or in the fair.   If someone thinks they can be there early, I could use help in registration as I have to spend time with judges.  It just involves giving people their papers and helping them find their places.  

Thanks everyone.  I hope that you all have a wonderful time on Saturday.  I have come a long way from someone who was kicked out of chemistry class because i caused a bad odor on one floor of our high school......My mom was asked to have me switch to Earth Science.  Now I teach science and run a science fair.  Science is fun.  It is exciting.  Although most things in science are predictable, there is that one time--well it's just thrilling.  I hope  you all have a great time at the fair.  

One more note:  If you did not guess what would happen or your hypothesis was wrong, please remember scientists learn just as much from being wrong as being right.  You still did a great job.

If you need me, please email me.  If you need me on fair morning I will be up and running by 6 am going to the stores to get the judges food and your donuts.  My phone number is 610-790-3789.  If I don't answer right away, I probably just can't get to my phone in time.  The phone will say my mom does not know how to pick up messages so please call back in a few minutes.  That does happen to be true, so please do call back in a few minutes.  

I will pray for you all this week as you continue working and for safe travels on Saturday.  Below is a link that has some great last minute info and questions that judges may ask.  



Peggy Greene





2013 letter
Hi parents,

Now that you have registered for the science fair, I just wanted to give you a few updates. The first is about the report and log book. Everyone should keep a log book or a list of what they did when---kind of like a timeline for your project. Next is the report and the board. The report and the board are basically going to be the same information. Your board font size for printing will just be larger so that people can read it from a distance. Your report should have the following sections:

REPORTS

Abstract--This is a 250 word or less summary of your project. The following tells you how to write an abstract.



Abstract

One of the main requirements for students who are entering our competition is to write an abstract about their research. The abstract must follow these guidelines:

After finishing research and experimentation, students are required to write a (maximum) 250 word, one-page abstract. The abstract should include the following:

a) purpose of the experiment

b) procedure

c) data

d) conclusions

It may also include any possible research applications. Only minimal reference to previous work may be included.



An abstract must not include the following:

a) acknowledgments (including naming the research institution and/ or

mentor with which you were working), or self-promotions and external endorsements

b) work or procedures done by the mentor


Introduction and Purpose--what is your question, what is your hypothesis and why did you choose your project. Older students grades 4-12 should include some background information.
It should be general in nature and include things that the judge may need to know to get up to speed in learning about your project.

Materials--Just a list of your materials that you used. Be specific if you can.

Procedures--Another list. Just number the steps that you did to complete your experiment or do your engineering project.

Results--These are any charts or graphs that you made about what happened with your experiment. Results for engineering students should be about problems you may have encountered and how you fixed any issues.

Discussion--For non engineering projects-- tell in words about your charts and graphs. eg. Test 1 showed a height of 1" but Test 2 with the baking powder had a height of 3"

Conclusion--It can be as basic as one line. "My hypothesis was correct" or "My hypothesis was incorrect". You may want to include another sentence or two to close your paper.

Most importantly, scientists do not use a lot of extra words or flowery writing. Include as many details as you can.

Last is your bibliography. Include any websites you used for background information, list people you talked to or places you visited for more info about your project. If it involved using a certain product include the website for that particular product.

*****The most important thing about your report is that I should have your student's paper one week in advance so that judges can read it and have questions ready for your student. You may email me this paper, but bring a copy that day with you.

If you need display boards--Staples and other office supplies have them and Showboard (internet based) has different colors online. It is best not to build your own because there are height and width limitations. Also on your board--take plenty of pictures of your scientist doing his/her work. Judges love that. Please you cannot bring food or chemicals of any kind---not even water to the fair as part of your display. If you need a laptop make sure it is fully charged. We cannot guarantee that there will be a place to plug it in. If you are hoping to advance to the next fair, electricity is not available.

DAY OF THE FAIR
On fair day, your students will be given a slip of paper with the times that they will be judged. Your student should be at their board when the judge arrives so promptness is important.
Also on fair day, there will be a number of workshops for your students to attend. There will be different workshops for different grade levels.

Also I could use some help on fair day. Usually there are a number of parents who stick around on fair day. There will be coffee and tea available for the parents. I would love it if I could have some parents volunteer to help on fair day. There is a lounge area for parents to congregate and relax. I need the following help:

Kitchen Help--Someone to come early and help with making coffee and cutting bagels for the judges breakfast. I would need that person to come around 8am.

Workshop Help--Owl Pellet workshop--I can tell someone how to do this and it comes with instructions. We have owl pellets to dissect and need someone to be in charge of helping the kids get it set up.
Once they are told what to do, everything goes smoothly. There will be bags to put their bones in that they find. There will be gloves for the students to use and all the owl pellets have been sterilized. It is perfectly safe. It will take about an hour of your time.

Cleanup--If you think that you can stay a little late and help cleanup, that would be great. We are not paying for this facility and they asked only two things. The first is that we clean up after ourselves. If 4-5 people can give me about 30 minutes of help, I will not have to spend all afternoon cleaning.

Registration--I will need someone to hand out table assignments and judging times to the kids. It will all be printed on a sheet of paper for each kid. Also if judges come in, please point them down the hall to the judging area. This will probably take about 45 minutes.

There will be a timeline of fair day coming up. After the judging is completed, people may come in and see all the projects. If you have grandparents or other relatives that would like to come, they should come at this time. Even though I do not know the official schedule yet, it will probably be around 11:15-

The awards should be ready to go by 12noon.

Snack Bar--The last few years there has been a snack bar at the fair with things for sale. The facility that we are using is asking us that we not sell snacks. Next year, we will probably sell snack bags in advance to help cover the extra cost of food, but this year we are providing a snack bag to all the children free of charge. These will probably consist of a donut, a piece of fruit and a bottle of water. We are trying to keep only clear liquids in our fellowship hall to make for easier cleanup. If you have a student that cannot have some of the snack, let us know.

On a related note, if anyone has a latex allergy, also let us know. Some of the workshops involve using gloves.


Peggy Greene
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