Markeeta Clayton, eighth grade teacher and coordinator of Oak Hill’s qualifying science fair, was proud of the middle school’s 28 students making regionals. It’s preparing them to be confident, independent young people.
“We need thinkers,” she said. “A science fair is all about choosing and putting together an organized way to think through a process and come up with viable conclusions. Your conclusion can be viable and respected based on the research that you did.”
Also as part of the fair, students competed in the parachute design challenge, where they learn how to apply STEM principles. Participants attached washers to the constructed parachute, and the longest drop time wins.
“You see them solve their issues based on trials performed,” Clayton said. “We are trying to give them that power.”
Baldwin High junior Keleigh McGill said her project ‘Kundt’s Tube Molar Mass Detector’ taught organizational skills.
“We’d do labs in class and have this information, but I’d never know what to do with it,” McGill said. “It was a learning experience to get my data out there so others could learn as well.”
These successful projects don’t look bad on a college application either.
McGill would love to go into a mechanical engineering field. The BHS junior said this regional fair exposure shows universities work ethic put into a project.
“It’s gotten my name out in the college world,” the junior said.
The top middle and high school projects will advance to the state competition in March. The high school winners can also move on to compete in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.
The junior/senior division awards ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. today (Saturday, Feb. 1) in Magnolia Ballroom.
Regional commitment to STEM related expertise could turn counties like Baldwin around.