Technical Advisors

Lessons Learned

The Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) involves preparation, action, and completion. The guidelines also require that students reflect on the experience when they complete their projects. One element of this reflection is "Lessons Learned," which the students incorporate as part of their final project websites.

Elementary School

Below are two examples of reflective passages elementary school students wrote about the lessons they learned:

1. Teamwork is key to success. This project takes a lot of teamwork to be successful. 2. Every individual who commits to a project should follow through the commitment they made. 3. It is good to be connected with the outside world when you do a project. Having a technical advisor who comes and helps you with specific needs is very helpful. Going on a field trip is a good way to get information from the outside, and you get a good look at what you are researching.

The three lessons that our team learned during this project was how to do research on the internet, to work as a team, and to stay focused. Using the internet for research was not always easy. Sometimes we needed to re-word what we were looking for when we were searching the net. We had to learn how to ask the same question in a different way. That was not always an easy thing to do. Another lesson that our team learned during this project was to work as a team. Teamwork is a very valuable lesson to learn. At first we had a little trouble co-operating and working together, but soon we found out that we had to work together to get the job done. Lastly, we learned to stay focused. Staying focused was very difficult at times, but we tried hard to stay on track and not go off in different directions. This project has taught our team a lot of things we might never had learned if we hadn't been a part of it. 

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Middle School

Below are four examples of reflective passages middle school students wrote about the lessons they learned:

We learned that when we work together, we can get a lot more done than when we try to do every thing by ourselves. We learned how important communication is in a group and we learned when we communicated more our work was more consistent. We learned that we all have different talents, and when we use our talents to our advantage, we can get a lot more work done.

The three lessons that our team learned was teamwork, responsibility, and dedication. Most importantly we all learned to work together and listen to each other's ideas. One person couldn't lead the group, everyone had to work together to put input into the project. We also learned the responsibility of completing assignments and components for the project. If we didn't complete the components, we knew we weren't looking at a good project. We also learned that we had to work hard to create a great project.

Always work together. Never be afraid to ask for help. The slightest detail does matter

Collaboration cooperation and support from one’s teammates is crucial to the success of one’s project. As we all came to recognize each other’s strengths, the project gradually began to take form and the entire group began to coalesce and function as a single unit. Perseverance and motivation are important aspects in every project, for without a common goal in mind and without determination, nothing would be accomplished. We almost lost hope when we could not find an advisor, but in the end we ended up with an amazing advisor who helped us as much as he could. Time management is probably one of the most important aspects for long term projects; for one cannot leave a whole website/invention to the last several weeks as one can a quiz. It was important for our team to set ‘benchmarks’ for each other so we would get the work done on time.

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High School

Below are three examples of reflective passages high school students wrote about the lessons they learned:

During our project, we learned several lessons. The first and most important thing we learned was to be aggressive in trying to find a technical advisor for our project. The second lesson we learned is that everyone needs to participate and do his or her fair share of work. The last thing we learned was not to put things off to the last minute because there was always a lot of work to do.

Through the duration of the program, the group learned three lessons. 1. It is important to start a project early. Deciding on a topic took several tries and had we not started early, we would have been behind. 2. Communicating through the entire project is important because it keeps pushing the project to be better. 3. It is important to be open to ideas in project assignments similar to this one. Experimenting and thinking through several ideas is important to find an idea that works.

We learned many lessons during the completion of this project. Three of the main ones were to keep focus, to communicate regularly, and to keep a steady pace while working. We had a very difficult time keeping focused during the course of our project. It was difficult to choose a topic at the beginning, and after our initial focus we did not keep our end goal in mind. We had to redo our component one because we completed it incorrectly. This made us learn our lesson to stay focused. Another lesson that we learned was to communicate regularly. Because we did not have good communication with our technical advisors, we lost valuable help that they could have given us. The final lesson we learned was to keep a steady pace. It is better to get small things accomplished over a long period of time than to try to cram a huge part in a short time. Our teachers set up dates for us to turn in parts of our project. This helped us to keep paced, but we still had problems with procrastination.

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