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James Clemens students plan Science Fair for elementary youth

MADISON – On March 3, Science National Honor Society is premiering the 2022 James Clemens Science Fair – not for Jets students but for any student in kindergarten through eighth grade attending Madison City Schools.

The teenagers have found their niche with science, but they want “to give younger students an opportunity to get excited about science,” Science NHS sponsor Emily L. Harris said. Harris’ chemistry classes include chemistry I, II and per-advanced placement.

“’Doing science’ doesn’t have to be limited in what it can look like. We’re excited to have such a broad event where they can gain experience researching, creating or experimenting. We hope fostering an early enjoyment of science will lead to lifelong learners and problem solvers,” Harris said.

Whether or not these students enter STEM careers, science allows them to tap into many skills, concepts and problem-solving techniques along any path, Harris said.

Registration for the fair closes at midnight on Jan. 21. To register, visit https://forms.gle/3qpKwF1qVvqVJYGUA.

Science NHS is coordinating all the fair’s components. A judging committee of students will receive training on project evaluation. Many have experience with science fairs.

The fair will offer two categories for competition:

* Exploration – Researching a scientific topic or presenting a science-related project they have built.

* Experimentation — Conducting an experiment to answer a scientific question.

Entrants will receive awards based on points that each project earned on the judging scorecard. “We’ll give awards on a percentage scale, so there may be (multiple) awardees for places within a grade division,” Harris said.

Several contestants have announced their projects:

* Gideon Gallahair – Effect of parachute materials to protect an egg when dropped, third grade, Mill Creek Elementary School.

* Jackson Thorn – Does the cord or block charge an iPhone faster?, sixth grade, Liberty Middle School.

* Kaitlyn Whitman – Using different flours for chocolate chip cookies, fourth grade, Midtown Elementary School.

* Jenna Tait – Brick making, first grade, Columbia Elementary School.

Harris expects 100-plus entries in the fair.

One goal for Science NHS is to use science to do good in the world. The Science Fair will allow older students to give back in sharing their love of science and inspire the next generation. James Clemens students are planning the fair, mentoring younger students with their projects and explaining logistics roles with set-up/take-down.

“We hope (to) create a stronger vertical connection between families of our younger students and their future high school experience,” Harris said. The fair lets students unleash their creativity. The fair has few restrictions on project topics and categories.

“I have really benefitted by trying to step more into a facilitator’s role (while having) a student-run fair,” Harris said She has handled parent communication, and students are making everything come together.

“It’s been fun to support them during the process and guide them . . . to make an event of this scale possible,” Harris said.

Harris acknowledged students on the leadership and judging committee: Sohail Baig, Grace Hur, Itzia Mapula, Will Shorter, Austen Wyche.

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