Teen Science Fair Sourcebook
by Tanya M. Vickers

Price at time of review: $34.60
160 pp.
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Berkeley Heights, NJ
ISBN: 0766027112

Grade Level: 6-12

Reviewed by Debby Chessin
Associate Professor of Elementary Science and Math Education

This is the "alpha dog" of science fair resources! I recommend this book not only as a science fair guide but as an engaging and readable text that will motivate students to think like a scientist and relate to other young people who have excelled in science research projects.

The chapters are very well organized with clearly marked subsections presented in colored font, which I found especially helpful. The photos and their detailed captions support and enhance the text. The book's contents include several inspirational, true stories of student scientists such as Homer Hickam; he was inspired to design and build model rockets after seeing the Russian satellite, Sputnik, orbit the Earth in 1959. It must have been quite an experience for a teen (born and raised in a small Appalachian town) to work with a technological marvel that surpassed anyone's expectations. Additional chapters include vital information on developing an experimental plan, keeping a project notebook, dealing with data, getting help from mentors, and clearly and concisely writing up a report.

Logistical information about safety, general rules, originality and creativity, consent and the IRB process, science competitions, and presenting the work to judges is easily accessible. The appendices explain how to gather reliable references and background information on the internet; they also give accurate, up-to-date information from governmental sources, television news and public stations, journals, magazines, and other education information. Appendix 2 lists science supply companies, has a comprehensive glossary, suggests further reading, and provides a helpful index.

This book will appeal to a wider audience than middle school students and their teachers. I recommend it for high school teachers and pre-service teacher educators who wish to help students explore the wonder of the natural world through experiences and experiments. The author inspired me with the possibilities that exist for young people to discover, innovate, and create knowledge and technology that can benefit society. It inspired me to keep learning ways to better enable my pre-service and in-service teachers to transmit the love of "good science" to their students. It's a keeper on my bookshelf!

Review posted on 5/20/2009

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