What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Science Buddies is a website that provides project ideas, guides, and help for kids studying all kinds of science at nearly any level. Registration isn't required to browse through the many projects, but, with an account, you can save favorites, "Ask an Expert," or participate in discussion boards. There's a lot to look at, and it's a great resource for kids who love science as well as those who need a little extra guidance. However, some of the project-idea links aren't up-to-date and may frustrate kids.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- collecting data
- analyzing evidence
- developing novel solutions
- academic development
- asking questions
Engagement, Approach, Support
Site design is colorful, clear, and thoughtfully organized, albeit text heavy. Project search filters are easy to use, and there's a wizard tool to help kids find topics geared just to them. Career connections will interest many.
Clear instruction on inquiry skills and step-by-step project directions encourage kids' can-do attitudes. By making their own selections, kids will feel empowered as they do hands-on projects that promote deep learning.
The site's main purpose is to help -- there are project guides and instructions for everyone. Ask-an-expert help is available and there’s also a store to buy project supplies. Still, with no audio or video options, some users may miss out.
What's it about?
Science Buddies is a website that provides ideas and support for science fair projects and at-home experiments. You can browse project ideas by topic or take an survey that recommends projects based on what you're interested in (geology, sports science, and robotics are some of the categories to browse). Project ideas are ranked by difficulty, and there are three levels within each section: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Is it any good?
Science Buddies provides a ton of options for kids looking for some clear guidance on science projects. With a huge variety of topics and difficulty levels, from simple wind meters and building towers with Legos to DNA sequencing and digital voice analysis, it's got something for everyone. Project ideas are nicely grouped; you can choose from the sciences, engineering, math, and computers. Within each group, kids can browse by topic of interest, how much time they have to finish the project, and difficulty level. Parents will like the clear safety guidelines and time lines for completing each project. The downside of all this: some projects might give kids so much information that much of the heavy lifting is done for them. In those cases, parents might want to encourage their children to be creative and alter the investigations to get a fresh result.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what kind of scientific investigations sound interesting. Guide kids to the interest survey if they're struggling to pick a project idea. What does your child want to learn more about?
Planning ahead will ensure that your child can actually complete the project. Ask your kid what resources she will need to complete her project. How much time will it take?
Scientists build on each other’s ideas. Discuss with your kids the best way to share what they've learned with others.