This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

St Augustine Science Fair

More than two dozen students at St. Augustine School presented projects at a science fair today (Wednesday). I knew about it and attended because I was asked to help judge it.

You might wonder what kinds of science projects grade school kids do. The projects were all supposed to test a hypothesis with some kind of experiment. The students then were to write up the results in a paper and present it with a poster. Examples of the sorts of questions they were asking were:
What cleaners remove stains best?
Do crickets chirp more when they are warm or when they are cold?
How do various liquids degrade egg shells (which are similar to teeth)?
Will mud bricks be stronger if sand, gravel, or hay is added?
How does adrenalin affect the heart rate of water fleas?
What brand of paper towels is more absorbent?
What disinfectant kills bacteria best?
Does matte nail polish last longer than glossy?
What foods mold most quickly?
A lot of the ideas came from the Internet.

 The posters ranged in quality from rudimentary to very elaborate. Some of them were better than the average of those I saw at the SJC Student Colloquium a month or two ago. (I did not post on the Colloquium this year, but I did a few years ago.)
A few of the exhibits even showed what happened in their experiements, such as the one below that was looking at the effects of fabric softener on the flammability of fabrics.
In addition to giving students some understanding of how much of science is done, this project is also trying to develop some skill for giving short explanations or presentations. Here many of the students struggled--they wanted to read the presentation that was on the poster. Those who could speak without the poster stood out. However, they all did a better job than I did. I messed up my evaluation forms so that I doubt if my input helped much. Fortunately, there were four other judges who did not mess up their forms.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Photos and explanatory text are "just right".
As science fairs go, this one seems to have been very successful. Kudos to the students of St. Augustine School.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymouse. This is nice to see.

CarbonPig said...

Great post on the science fair. I appreciate the short descriptions of each of the projects. We are hosting a science fair soon and one of the kids has embarked on a similar topic about stain removal (http://remove-stain.com/remove-fabric-softener-stains) that one of the projects you covered did. Anyhow, if you have any suggestions, then please let me know.