Forty-six tri-fold presentations lined the tables in “The Plex” room at the John N. Harms Center on Western Nebraska Community College’s Scottsbluff campus Tuesday morning as college kids from across the Panhandle showed off their big brains in the Panhandle Regional Science Fair.
The science fair, sponsored by ESU-13 and the Nebraska Junior Academy of Science (NJAS), featured presentations on everything from strawberry DNA to the future of drones. Students from five different schools, plus one homeschooled student, did their best to impress the judges, who represented Nebraska Extension, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Riverside Discovery Center.
“They learn the process of science. They can do science instead of being told about it, and they can do it about something they’re passionate about,” said Shauna Roberson, Garden County science teacher and NJAS High School counselor. “So today they have to talk; they have to communicate. It’s one of the best soft skills… because you have to know how to present yourself. They must be able to stand up and make eye contact with us.
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Marylou Salomon, a science teacher at Bluffs Middle School, agreed that the science fair was a great way to introduce students to the scientific process and really encourage them to understand it.
“I think it’s a very good experience for children to understand why they have to integrate scientific research, investigation,” she said.
This year, BMS took part in the science fair for the first time. Salomon said her students usually only do honors projects and hold them like a school gala, but this year she decided to bring a few to the regional expo competition. -science, even if it meant they had to shake things up a bit.
“We should change it up a bit, because the kids just did a passion project, a science passion project.” said Solomon. “Now we are going to change it and it has to be a scientific investigation. Some didn’t do so well. But you know what? I think any experience like this is really good for them.
Students not only got to put together their own projects, but also got to take part in two different workshops when they weren’t being judged. One was a series of STEM challenges using different LEGO pieces and the other was a laparoscopic surgery simulation.
Salomon particularly liked the integration of the workshops during the fair.
“I just think, ‘this is so good,’ especially since I know there’s a lot of reluctance to go into the medical field now with the…COVID,” she said.
While half of the students attempted to color a picture in a box just by looking through a tiny camera, the other half were judged on their research projects, which they conducted, developed and wrote at the advance and presented orally to the judges. daytime.
After the first round of judging, Chadron middle schooler Eve Bishop finally felt she could breathe.
“It was fun and nerve-wracking,” she said.
Addisyn Gruver, also from Chadron, said she and her partner did what they could and hoped for the best.
“It was our freshman year, so it was a little stressful, and we kind of pulled it off,” she said.
Gruver’s plan apparently worked, as she and partner Kadence Fisher placed sixth out of 46 projects. The top six projects qualify for the NJAS State Science Fair on Thursday, April 21 at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
The top six projects and the students who led them were:
1st – “A study of the effect of color on the fluency of decoding”, Emerson Landreth and Bristo Prado, Chadron Middle School
2nd – “The study of the effect of positive reinforcement on school performance”,
Eve Bishop, Chadron College
3rd – “Parental Imprints”, Claire Eckhardt, Leyton Junior High
4th – “Drip, Trickle, Drop”, Gretchen Seay, homeschooler
5th – “Light Dispersion”, Alvin Russell, Garden County Junior High
6th – “How Color Affects Our Smell” Addisyn Gruver and Kadence Fisher, Chadron Middle School
PHOTO GALLERY: Panhandle Regional Science Fair Held