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Tips to Get Started
- To get your program up and running, select students you believe are diligent, responsible, and motivated. Academic achievement is only one aspect. Students need to be able to see their project through from inception to completion.
- Don't try to conquer the world all at once! Limit numbers of students to available resources and mentor time.
- Be flexible: some students will come as referrals to the program; others will be self-selected.
- Use multiple criteria for judgment: academic achievement in any subject, faculty recommendations, writing skills, commitment, etc.
- Reward participants at every opportunity, including prior to any contest, at contest submission, and, of course, when winning at any level.
- Take advantage of any publicity generated by a student's contest participation to recruit - at school assemblies, graduation award ceremonies, faculty and department meetings presentations, PTA presentations, Board of Education presentations, through school publications, and on your school's web site.
- Get permission from your principal or department chairperson to start.
- Sell your idea by generating interest and support from administrators, faculty, parents, students and community.
- Develop immediate and long-term objectives that suit your needs and situation. Focus on specifics.
- Become familiar with competition requirements and rules; plan your initial program and calendar around them.
- Assess your resources and needs. Make use of existing materials.
- Curriculum: Link research contests to national and local standards.
- Funding: Even a little can go a long way in beginning.
- Personnel: You'll need to connect to faculty specialists within your community and at regional colleges.
- Facilities: Any unused space will do - a classroom, a closet, or a corner.
- Interest: Give it time to ignite the spark. Don't give up!
- Network by developing links to community resources such as universities, colleges, libraries, research facilities, hospitals and agricultural and environmental agencies. You'll also gain access to most items you'll need.
- Organize trips to local competitions and science fairs.
- Invite research scientists and student researchers to speak to your class.
- Initiate science project work as a part of an existing course.
- Organize a science exposition or research fair and build upon this.
- Develop a budget based on reasonable expectations.
- Explore funding through the school, community or business donations, grant-writing and fund-raising activities.
- Identify up and coming students through recommendations from your fellow professionals, course achievement, and project work in courses and science fairs.
- Network with science research advisors and mentors through e-mail.
- Use student researchers as mentors for younger students.