Is science happening in Santa Clara Unified School District? The answer is an emphatic “yes.” And the best science students in the district are ready to show off their experiments and inventions.
On Wednesday, May 15, over 300 students, from fourth to 12th grade, from Santa Clara Unified School District will participate in the district Science Fair at Wilcox High School. It’s a busy day for students. In the morning they present their projects to a panel of judges and answer questions about their work. In the evening, they participate in a community open house at Wilcox high school, where ribbons and certificates celebrating the students’ accomplishment are presented.
It’s a unique educational experience, one that gets students excited about science. Before participating in the district science fair, each student attended their school’s science fair, and was selected to continue on to the district level. The panel of judges includes scientists, business leaders, and educators from Silicon Valley, volunteering their time to encourage students.
For these future scientists and engineers, the science fair is the culmination of months of work. This includes exploring a topic, researching, performing an experiment, documenting results and sharing conclusions. Project categories include physical science, life science, and earth science. There’s also an “inventions” category that demonstrates how imaginative students can be, coming up with solutions to problems we may not have even known existed.
For the science fair, students take what they learn in the classroom about the scientific method and scientific research and apply it to their own projects. They also learn that many disciplines are involved in science; math for tracking and graphing their results, art for visual presentation, and writing and public speaking to communicate their conclusions.
The science fair is the work of the Santa Clara Unified Parents (SCUP), a district-wide non-profit that plans and raises money for the annual event. Last year, 50 parent volunteers helped out with setup and cleanup, as well as providing assistance to students for presentations, and accompanying students on buses to the science fair. SCUP works hard throughout the year to raise funds for the fair, from requesting donations from the community to organizing ‘Dining for Dollars’ nights.
The community is encouraged to support science education by attending the 2013 Science Fair open house on May 15, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Wilcox High School’s auxiliary gym.
SCUP helps keep parents informed of educational opportunities in the district, and fosters the best education for all students by organizing volunteers and raising money to support programs, such as the science fair, that have been cut by district budget constraints. To volunteer, make a donation or see a video of last year’s fair, visit www.SCUnifiedParents.org.
Jodie Muirhead is the Treasurer of Santa Clara Unified Parents.