Science Fair Winners February 4, 2006Posted by Michael McVey in Information, Students.
For the fourth year in a row my daughter won a First Prize ribbon at her school’s Science Fair. In stark contrast to last year’s year-long construction of a huge analemma outside her school, she decided to work with her friends on a Team Project over the course of two weekends.
When we first began doing Science Fair projects, her school’s cafeteria was filled with projects from front to back. The next year, that number was halved and halved again the next year. This year there were barely twenty projects on the school’s stage. Teachers decided, overwhelmingly, not to do projects this year. They cited concerns about the projects cutting into their regular curriculum. I actually thought the exploration of the Scientific Method was part of the curriculum.
In fact, there are six strands of Science articulated over grade levels. Knowing this and remembering the hundreds of Science Fair projects in the school in years past, I can only wonder about the reason for the dip. My daughter suggested that school leadership might have been the cause but her teacher, a person who has my full support, suggested otherwise.
I asked my friend, the spouse of one of the city-wide Science Fair organizers, about the dip. She suggested it was cyclical and that the school will likely ramp up interest in the Fairs again. But, she said, nationally speaking, Tucson’s support for Science Fairs is huge. We do a great deal to support Science education in the state and SARSEF (The Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair) has so many active members and Tucson sends so many student winners to the International Science Fair, that we have become nationally recognized.
Even more importantly, a week ago my daughter expressed interest in becoming more involved in space science. She doesn’t want to be an astronaut, but she is interested in something to do with space, perhaps robotics, possibly satellites. She’s not sure, but knows that she is intrigued by space. Where she differs from so many kids is that she sees herself as a scientist. She tries to build things and if they don’t work she makes notes about what went wrong. She learned that from creating Science Fair projects, from learning about the lives of scientists, and from four years of support for her efforts from caring teachers and Science Fair organizers.