Students within the Westwood Unified School District are contemplating scientific facts they hope will result in a successful project to exhibit at the Science Fair March 25.
To receive a first, second or third place ribbon, students must begin with a logical and reasonable hypothesis which they test and then provide the details on a neat display board. Display boards show that three experiments are completed, list the procedures and materials used to complete the experiments, and demonstrate the results with charts and pictures.
A rubric is used by the judges to pick the winners, who are announced at the open house March 25. Doors to the Westwood Unified gymnasium, where display boards are exhibited, open at 5 p.m.
Carol Ross, a retired teacher who currently substitutes within the Westwood School District and works three days as an aide, organizes the event. She has lots of experience organizing science fairs at the schools at which she has taught in the past. This is the third year Westwood students have had the opportunity to take part. At the first open house there were 45 exhibits and last year 75 exhibits.
“The first open house was an eye-opener for me. I was not expecting all the support from the community. I was overwhelmed with appreciation from this town. I had not seen this before. Community support is vital to keeping our students enthusiastic about their education,” wrote Ross in an email to the Westwood PinePress.
All students have a chance to participate. Ross created a guidebook she distributes that teachers can use as classroom lessons, or they can copy pages for students to take home. In the back of the booklet is a list of websites and ideas to help students find a suitable experiment.
“Hopefully, students will pick what interests them. Over the years we have had several very unique projects that were not on the list. The most difficult part is determining whether the project is a demonstration or an experiment. It is my job to help the judges in that area. I really emphasis [sic] experiments,” wrote Ross.
However, the judges are not scientific experts. Ross said she asks people who have very little knowledge of science to judge so it is more objective. She does not want every little detail examined.
To create excitement for Science Fair Month, Ross organizes an egg drop in late February or early March. At this event, devices created by students to protect a raw chicken egg and keep it from breaking are dropped from a height.
“I feel the egg drop is the perfect opportunity to see science at work. Kids get to use their imaginations and create some interesting vehicles for the eggs,” wrote Ross.
Last year 12 winners were named in four categories: kindergarten through second-grade; third-grade through fifth-grade; sixth-grade through eighth-grade; and high school.