Every child eventually has a science assignment, or science fair project, and they may come to you for advice and help. While it is tempting to go all out and do a little more than your share of the work, it is never a good idea to take over the project yourself, regardless of how knowledgeable you are on the subject. Producing a project for a sixth grader that resembles a NASA prototype is pretty much a clear giveaway that they had more than their share of help.
When your child needs to decide on a project, make sure that it is something that they are interested in enough to actually research and experiment with on their own. While they may ask your advice on which one out of many they should choose, ultimately the decision should be their own, unless of course they choose something dangerous or extremely expensive. In most cases, schools tend to avoid these projects anyway.
When they are beginning their project, it might be a good idea to have them set down some agenda and outline what they would like to accomplish and demonstrate, and how they will show their conclusions. In the case of science fairs, it is very important that they have a very good explanation to present to the judges. Once they have a written presentation or notes, they can practice their speech at home before the big event, and you can ask questions that you believe a judge might be interested in knowing.
While you shouldn’t do all the research for them by any means, you can suggest various resources that might be of some help. If you happen to have a friend or relative that is especially talented in their particular field of interest, you might suggest that they get further information from them as well.
If your child isn’t particularly neat in their work, you might show them some examples of posters or diagrams that others have done for their projects. You could suggest that they use stencils or press on lettering to describe what they are trying to illustrate.
At the end of the day, when the science project or assignment is complete and ready to be presented, your child will have the satisfaction of knowing that they did it on their own, and they will have the confidence in having a complete understanding of what they learned.