UT Elementary School students are among the estimated 10 million K-12 students who participate in science fairs each year, and judging by this year’s project’s, the focus on STEAM at UTES is paying off.
Projects drew on a variety of disciplines–physics, chemistry, computer science and biology; while topics bordered on trendy (How many germs are found on scooters that are being rented on sidewalks city-wide) to the more traditional (What cleans pennies the best?). During the judging process on Jan. 24, students in grades 3-5 had the opportunity to speak with at least three judges about their project. Students in the lower grades completed projects in their classrooms with one special award given to a kindergarten student, proving that even the youngest student can find the scientist within.
Later that day, families came together in the auditorium to learn the winners of the 2019 Science Fair competition and then had time to visit classrooms to participate in hands-on STEAM activities. “A family who learns together sets the example for leadership and continued prioritization in education of all disciplines,” said STEAM teacher Scarlett Calvin. She gave an example of the Martinez family who videotaped their daughter Eliana’s experiments for her project creating vessels for dropping an egg off a bridge. “This family was overjoyed in the videos, outside at a beautiful park, and surprised with the results of every egg drop. I will remember their experience forever and so will they,” she said.
While some parents may grumble about science fair projects and the amount of time students must devote to the projects, Calvin said, “Students learn a multitude of critical thinking skills while carrying out science fair projects. They integrate testing the natural world with quantitative data collection and measurement. They are challenged to make sense of their data and draw conclusions while citing evidence.” She also explained that students who work in collaborative groups on the projects learn about teamwork, how to compromise, and meet deadlines.
Another interesting aspect of science fair participation involves the development of students’ science identity, or how students relate to science and see themselves as future scientists or engineers. UT graduate student Michele Mann recently completed a study of how UT Elementary School students develop science identities. She found that participation in science fair was part of the work that contributed to the science identity among UTES students.
Kudos to all of our UT Elementary School students for their dedication to their science fair projects and thanks to the parents and community members who helped organize and judge the fair. We see Little Longhorns with a bright future in science and technology!
2019 Science Fair Winners
- Third place: Nhu-Y Phan, Hailey Ortiz, Juan Sillero, Recce Murphy – Test the Friction
- Second place: Senay Tesfay, Naiyely Hernandez, Marlo Guess, Arah Alexander – Super Magnets
- First place: Jason Hicks, Wyatt Fisher, Josh Foy, Benjamin Hernandez – Friction Car 2000
- Third place: Iliana Casati – The Biggest Jolt
- Second place: Denice Lucio – Gummy Bear Lab
- First place: Corina Lopez – Clean Cents
- Third place: Josphie Do – Does Alka-Seltzer Fizz with Water
- Second place: Kaylee Johnson – Citrus Fruits
- First place: Zoe Recio-Acosta – Does Salt Make H20 Boil Faster?