Tuesday, February 14, 2006
(Note: Following is additional information from Sunnyside High School biology teacher Joyce Starks on other benefits from the Science Fair.)
The Science Fair's impact goes beyond research and contests, to actually tie in with the Inquiry section of the WASL.
Sunnyside High School students will be taking the WASL in April. The long term class projects are basically mini-science projects.
The science WASL is composed of scenarios modeling the three themes of the science EARLS; systems, inquiry and design.
Systems scenarios describe a familiar system including inputs, ouputs, transfers of matter, energy and/or information (content). This comprises 40 percent of the exam.
Inquiry scenarios, comprising about another 40 percent of the exam, describe a scientific investigation. Students are asked about the investigation to write predictions and conclusions.
They are asked to plan a new investigation.
The science WASL's final 20 percent involves design scenarios which require a solution to a human problem.
In order to prepare 9th and 10th grade students for the science WASL, Sunnyside High School has adopted research-based inquiry science curricula.
Long term projects (very similar to the science fair projects) are introduced in the integrated science, and then emphasized in biology.
Ms. Bryson's 9th grade Honor Integrated students are doing science projects in class and will have an opportunity to participate in the local and regional science fair.
The "milk lab" in Biology is the long-term project. Each student writes their research plan (title, purpose, hypothesis, materials and methods) to find out how different conditions affects the freshness of milk.
Working in cooperative groups, each student becomes an expert on their part of the experiment and shares that with the team.
A poster (very similar to the science fair display) is the product of that long range project.
These long-term Biology and Integrated Projects are also being done in Ms. Bryson's, Mr. Beals', Mr. Soule's, Mr. Hind's and Mr.Cone's classes.
In Mrs. Stark's chemistry classes, the long-term project was flood damage or corrosion. Students were looking for ways that water (especially from Hurricane Rita and Katrina) affected metals, batteries, wood, coins, pipes, photographs.
Each student designed and conducted their own investigations and will prepare a poster.
Some of the chemistry students will enter their experiments in the science fair. Keeping a journal is an important part of the long term project and science fair.
There are other students who work on science projects after school. They can earn .5 or one credit in research science and letter in science fair.
Harrison Middle School students are also doing science projects. The middle and high school will hold separate judging.
The high school judging will take place Saturday, Feb. 25, from 1 to 5 p.m. and the awards ceremony will be Monday, Feb 27, at 7 p.m. at the high school.
Projects will be only displayed in the high school library from 7:50 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will be open to the public.