Broadcom Junior Varsity Pilot
Engaging Middle School Youth in Scientific Inquiry


Thank you for your participation in the Broadcom Junior Varsity Project.  Following, you will find the step-by-step instructions for success.

Listen to the program web-based professional development session (one hour with audio and visuals) and/or access the powerpoint presentation for participating programs (top right corner).

Step 1: Planning

  • Plan which youth you will engage, and which staff will participate.  It is likely best to begin with a group of 10-20 youth in the program rotation / structure, or a particular program club.
  • Inform Science Teachers, Principals, and relevant District / County Office partners.
  • Connect with Regional Science Fair Coordinators (see contact sheet in the top right hand side of this page).  They will be a strong and supportive asset in this process.   
  • Decide which science inquiry activities you will offer in the program and when.
  • Assess District Transportation policies and create a plan for transportation.
  • Understand how to obtain the necessary parent permission (i.e. permission slips) and other school policies around field trips.   

Step 2: Implement inquiry activities with participating youtth

  • Materials for the activities are provided by your local Power of Discovery: STEMRegional Innovation Support Provider.  These activities are to get the youth started in understanding the scientific process, and are not the science fair project itself.  
  • Activities do not require scientific knowledge.  It is the process of asking and investigating the answers to the questions that is at the heart of the activities.  Use the scientific method sheet to guide the process.
  • At the conclusion of each activity, use the creating a powerful conclusion sheet to assist youth in creating their conclusion.
  • For the final inquiry activity, have students create a sample science fair board.   

Step 3: Watch a science fair video to get youth excited

  • Watch a video on how to support your students through the scientific process.

Step 4: Assess youth interest

Step 5: Create teams of 3 youth with similar interests

  • Teams of three agree as a team on their science fair project selection.

Step 6: Support students as they conduct their experiment  

  • Ensure the necessary time and support are offered to youth as they complete their projects.
  • Acquire materials to make the science fair boards.  Program leaders will  be provided a $25 gift card from Elmers that is redeemable at Wal-Mart for supplies to make their science fair boards.    

Step 7: If Feasible, Work with (Broadcom or other) Mentors to support students

  • Mentors can attend professional development session with program staff.
  • Mentors and program staff should plan activities, and be clear on roles of mentors when they visit the program.  This should take place prior to mentors entering the site.
  • Utilize the Role Model Guide and Videos to support mentors in working with out-of-school time staff and students.
  • Schedule time for mentors to come to sites to observe and offer support, especially when the inquiry activities (outlined above) are being implemented.
  • Work with Mentors to attend science fair together and celebrate youth achievement.

Step 8: Attend Regional Science Fair

  • It is possible that some teams may not complete their projects.  The projects that are selected as science-fair-ready projects must be complete projects that follow the scientific method.
  • Bring completed projects and the boards to the local science fair for display and participation.  
  • Ensure all necessary transportation logistics have been arranged.

Step 9: Celebrate Youth and Staff Participation

  • Participating youth will be offered a certificate of participation, and additional incentives determined between the program and Regional Innovation Support Provider.  One idea is taking youth out to pizza (or other healthy food alternative) following the fair.
  • A great way to bring the science fair back to your site is to offer participating youth the opportunity to each take photos of the fair, including photos of other projects they may be interested in doing in the future.  Pictures are also a great way to communicate the experience of the youth to parents that were not able to attend.  

Step 10: Showcase and acknowledge accomplishments on site

  • Family showcases, an on-site celebration and slide show, etc. are great ways to celebrate youth participation in the science fair.
  • Work with the school to display youth science boards, pictures, etc. publicly.  

Step 11: Plan to deepen efforts next year!

  • Stay connected with your Regional Science Fair leadership.
  • Deepen your program plan to incorporate science fair participation in years to come.  You can begin these efforts as early as this summer, or the first day of school next year!

Regional Innovation Support Provider Resources for Broadcom Junior Varsity