Is Science Fair Going Extinct?

For years Hanover High School has had a highly attended school Science Fair. Yet this year it has come to the attention of a few of the students at our school, and myself, that there will be no Science Fair this year as far as we can tell. Science is a fundamental thing that we need, something that does take some work getting kids interested in, and what better way than the School Science Fair?

The Science Fair at HHS has previously been a mandatory thing for all honors courses, something that truly makes sense when you consider the experience one gains through doing a Science Fair, but recently this has been pushed away. As the years progressed, I assume that at some point it was decided that to have already burdened honors students do a Science Fair was something that was too demanding. From this it was decided that the only students who would have to do a Science Fair would be the freshman honors  students, and with a class of more than 150 every year, this wielded a sizable number of participants. Yet due to the freshman honors Biology teacher’s medical complications in 2012, the long-term substitute at the time did not enforce that the students would be required to make a Science Fair project. However, as one of the attending members at that Science Fair, I can attest to the fact that there was a very sizable amount of students who participated.

The following year, however, is where the Science Fair really ran into its first real problems, starting with one simple change to the student handbook not requiring honors science class students to attend the Science Fair. To put it plainly this Science Fair had a measly attendance. There were so few projects that HHS was able to have the Science Fair held inside the Library. There were less than 20 projects, not at all a reasonable thing. Now to make matters worse, we HHS students have no way to attend a Science Fair this year at all. The previous teacher who ran Science Fair, Mr. Newton, is far too busy this year with the arrival of a new baby in his family, and this is acceptable obviously. However every Science teacher I talk to says that they are not going to run the Science Fair either. Now I know many of you might not particularly think that Science Fair is a thing that is really all that important but let me assure you that it truly is.

Have you ever heard of STEM? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These are fields, according to Rodney C. Adkins, senior vice president of IBM’s Systems & Technology Group, in which we desperately need more students. His reasoning is that while only 5 percent of U.S. workers are employed in STEM fields, STEM fields at the same time make up about 50 percent of our sustained economic expansion. Now knowing this, consider the fact that only 15 percent of the world’s scientists and engineers reside in the United States. Beginning to see my argument? The California Science Teacher’s Association has said that “Science projects prepare students for life.” This is important… REALLY important. Science Fair projects give students the kind of hands on, energizing science exposure that they need to gain a lifelong interest in science. Hanover High School students need to learn the 21st century problem solving skills that doing Science Fair Projects can teach them in order to be successful for life.

A point which has been thrown about by some of the STEM teachers in the building is that we run a Science Fair this year, but non-officially. I say that this is a terrible idea. Doing Science Fair shows students the real world competition of life, that if you don’t work hard on something and innovate enough, your idea will not be always the best one. Competition is a fundamental aspect of the Science Fair. The fact that students will be judged not only by their peers, but also by the rest of the state is an idea that drives students to put their absolute maximum effort into their Science Fair projects. Truly it is undeniable that the Science Fair is an important thing for the HHS students to have the option to experience in their high school career.

I know that this year we may still have the Science Fair, and truly I hope that we do because I strongly believe that Science Fair is something that increases the education of the average student beyond that which a classroom can. I think that we at HHS owe it to ourselves to show that we are the quintessence of studious life, that we are dedicated to things that are demanding yet rewarding, and that we are among the best and brightest minds of generation. We can do all this through the innovation and academic ability we demonstrate through our Science Fair.

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