A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Hearing an ‘Oooh, that’s cool!’ is sign of successful Fayette County science fair


 It took several hours for the judges to make their way around to more than 650 projects, so most students passed the time by chatting, reading or gaming. (Photo provided)

It took several hours for the judges to make their way around to more than 650 science fair projects, so most students passed the time by chatting, reading or gaming. (Photo provided)

 
By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward
 
As some 700 students stepped up to explain their projects to judges in the Kentucky American Water Science Fair, two veteran presenters weren’t worried in the least – or at least didn’t show fear. Seventh-grader Caleb Mensah and sixth-grader Grace Brown were ready for the competition.
 
“The best way to prepare is to know your field and know what you’re doing. You don’t just read off your board, but have eye contact with the judges,” said Grace, who attends Bryan Station Middle School.
 
“I know my info, so I’m pretty confident,” added Caleb, who attends Carter G. Woodson Academy.
 
Students in grades 4 through 12 from Fayette County Public Schools, local private schools and home schools participated in the 31st annual countywide event Feb. 7. After showcasing at the school level, they brought their “A” game to the district fair to see how their research stacked up. Several disciplines were represented, such as behavioral and social sciences, cellular and molecular biology, energy and transportation, and plant sciences.
 
Caleb admitted he hasn’t always been a science buff, but said the district fair changed his outlook through the past three years.
 
“When I first started taking science, I didn’t think it would be so interesting,” he said. “Then I took the chance to participate to learn more about physics and chemicals.”
 
His latest project focused on elasticity and the potential energy in a bouncing ball.
 
Meanwhile, Grace investigated reading comprehension, comparing the results of reading aloud versus “in your head.” She was excited to show off her hard work and to see what peers and older students presented – and maybe find inspiration for next year.
 
During several hours of project judging in the gym at host Tates Creek High School, families strolled among well over a dozen exhibits and hands-on activities set up in the hallways.
 
From UK students explaining their solar car to live raptors sunning outside the school’s theater, wide-eyed visitors enjoyed a morning of exploration coordinated by Bluegrass GreenSource. UK agriculture seed scientist Sharyn Perry had a booth in a prime corner spot, where she and a colleague talked about the prevalence of seeds in everyone’s diet (beans, chocolate, coffee) and used a sponge experiment to demonstrate seeds’ growth potential.
 
“I loved science as a kid and got a microscope in third grade,” Perry recalled. She thought Saturday’s events were a hit for youngsters and adults alike, noting, “I’m hearing a lot of ‘Oooh, that’s cool!’”
 
To see the FCPS awards list, click here.
 
Tammy L. Lane is communications specialist and website editor for Fayette County Public Schools.


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