After months of preparation, both inside and outside the classroom, all 4th-6th graders displayed their science fair projects this week. We invited a team of judges to evaluate each project, including our wonderful and happily retired teacher Heidi Schacher. The team selected 20 experiments to learn more about by listening to each of the 20 students present. From there, the panel selected ten that will be moving on to the County Science Fair. Congratulations to all students for doing your best work and participating! Students at all grade levels had the opportunity to survey the scene and explore the projects with their class.
Student Take Aways:
Students told me again and again how they bonded with their families over their project. From going to local farms to collect water used to clean heavy equipment to online shopping for phytoplankton, parents were a huge support for their children. Another theme I heard multiple students discuss is how they based this year’s experiment on something they learned from last year’s topic. For example, one student looked at climate change last year and this inspired her to look more closely at desalinization of water. Ultimately, students were very proud of themselves and for good reason.
My Take Aways:
It was so clear to me that teachers supported their students by explicit instruction of the scientific process in the classroom so students internalized it in such a way that they were able to follow the process while also being creative and making it their own. I was also struck by how students could answer my “so why is this important” question and explain the connection between their project and its larger implications in the world. One student told me that he researched fog harvesters in Chili and realized they were not biodegradable so he wanted to use his project as a launching off point for sustainability. Another student explained how taking the Stroop Effect test can detect early onset Alzheimer’s and help people in a very meaningful way. Our vision as a school is to continue supporting students as scientists and 21st century learners through these types of experiences.
Check out the Invention Convention.