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Goggles: Tips for Arizona parents to help kids with science projects

PHOENIX — As the school year progresses, some Arizona students will be given the annual — and sometimes dreaded — task of coming up with a science fair project.

While the projects are assigned to students, some parents may be tempted to lend a helping hand to get it done, especially for those who procrastinate.

Tara Dale, a science and social studies teacher at Akimel A-al Middle School in Ahwatukee, said it’s a good idea for parents to guide their children through the course of a big project.

“The No. 1 thing you have to remember is time management,” she said. “You don’t want to let your children wait until the very last minute.”

Dale said some experiments can take days or weeks and it’s important for parents to setup a timeline with their child on when certain things will be done.

However, Dale said it’s important parents don’t get too involved with the project.

“Let the kid do the work,” she said. “Let them come to you with the questions. When they get stuck or when there’s a piece of the direction they don’t know, just be open and available for them.”

The teacher recommended finding a project that a child would be interested in, rather than forcing them to build a volcano.

“This shouldn’t be tortuous for you,” she said. “This should be something that kids really get dirty about and that they really enjoy doing.”

For inspiration, parents may want to consider taking kids to the Arizona SCITECH Festival, which runs through March.

Dale said the science fair, which is the third-largest in the nation, has about 1,000 displays focused heavily on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

About 400,000 people are expected to attend the event and its many hands-on events.

KTAR’s Corbin Carson contributed to this report.

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