March 25 marked Hebrew Academy’s Annual fourth and fifth grade Science Fair. Sixteen students proudly presented their projects in a packed cafeteria filled with parents, grandparents, faculty and students. Also in attendance were NASA scientists and contest judges, Drs. Chris Wohl and Yi Lin.
Tanya Conley, HAT science teacher, mentored students over the past few months as they worked meticulously on their experiments, which followed the scientific method of study, a process for theorizing how and why things work. Students began in January by choosing topics of interest and writing individual research papers. Upon completion of the papers, students postulated about their topics, developed hypotheses and began experiments aimed at proving—or disproving— those theories.
Research and analysis was finalized, and then show time arrived when students displayed and presented their experiments to the judges. “I was so proud of them,” says Conley. “They presented well and exhibited widespread knowledge of their topics along with truly impressive displays.”
During the fair, the judges spoke with each student and spent more than an hour reviewing and deliberating between displays. Score sheets were tallied by these NASA scientists, who put their own knowledge of the scientific method to work. They judged on creativity, scientific merit, data collection, analysis and presentation, and linear thinking. Conley says, “It was easy to see the extensive thought they put into observation and scoring.”
The next school day, Conley and students met for the awards ceremony.
“As always we were blown away by the hard work, creativity, and scientific merit in each student’s projects. It is very clear that Tanya Conley is changing the lives of these students and we think she is doing an extraordinary job to help inspire complex thinking and scientific development in each of these children. We are excited for next year and are looking forward to seeing what creative projects the students research, ” says Wohl.
by Dee Dee Becker