I had a long conversation over dinner this week with a Canada Research Chair in the behavioural sciences who isthe mother of two sons still in elementary school. She recounted the tale of her sons preparing science projects for their classes, which were something like Grade 4 and 7.
In both cases the boys did their own projects. But when the mother went to theclass presentations it was obvious to her that parents had been involved extensively in most of the presentations (for example,some items have been welded!)
Others who were presentjumped in to say that was also the case with science fairs which they had attended attheirlocal schools and in the community. Isaid that my own experience, at the CWSF last year inPeterborough, was that overwhelmingly theparticipants had done their own work (as required). In many cases, Isaid, the parents likely didn't grasp the complexity of the science beingpresented.
I suspectthat science fairs often suffer from the (mis)conception that a lot of the work on entries is actuallydone by parents but that thisbelief stems from classroom or school fairs, which is what most people are exposed to. I don't have a solution but I think this is an image problem which needs addressing.