Test their hypotheses | Local News


SPEARFISH – Albert Einstein said: “Raising new questions, new possibilities, looking at old problems from a new perspective, requires creative imagination and marks a real breakthrough in science.” Young scientists from Spearfish Middle School presented the results of their questions at the annual science fair at the Donald E. Young Center at Black Hills State University on Thursday.

“We challenge students to answer a question they’ve always had. Everything in the world around us is science. So whatever question they have, we can make it a science fair project, ”said Grade 6 teacher Leslie Wangeman. “It helps our scientists to identify how they view scientific concepts in their daily lives. “

She explained that the science fair is vital for creating critical thinkers.

“Our scientists don’t have a step-by-step procedure to follow,” Wangeman said. “They have to think critically for themselves to identify an issue, then use the scientific method to create a solution. It is also a thematic unit, where students are required to write an article, conduct research, collect data, create and analyze graphs. It supports many concepts taught in other subjects. Scientists have the chance to present their findings in a professional setting to an authentic audience at BHSU. ”

She said what she appreciates most is when a scientist says her project is too difficult or that she can’t do the experiment.

“Then they reach out to mentors in the community and create a unique and creative experience,” Wangeman said. “You see them going through the steps of the scientific method, getting frustrated and remaining determined to achieve a goal. “

Mindy Capp, a grade seven teacher, explained that students can choose any idea they are passionate about, from properly inflating their bike tires to protecting the environment from oil spills.

“The best part is seeing what they come up with and how excited they are to share their results with others,” she said. “I love watching them at the science fair explain their findings to the judges, and that makes me so proud! Students learn the importance of conducting interviews, sharing their amazing scientific research with others, being proud of themselves and their work, using lifelong skills such as dressing, shaking hands and communicate face to face.

Topics for this year’s science fair included “What Kind of Bat Helps Hit Farthest?” “,” How does coordination help you with the Olympics? “,” Are people rigging carnival games? “,” Does egg size matter? ” , and more.

Seventh grade teacher Dan Holben explained that in his classes he begins the process in November with the question “What are you interested in?” He then continues with the question, “What observations have you made about your interest that interest you?” “

“With a little time and research on their area of ​​interest, students make this a question that their experience can answer. They then design this experiment, conduct this experiment, collect data and draw conclusions on their original question, ”he said. “At this point it’s mid-February and they’re ready to report their findings through their board and presentation. … The science fair is really a combination of most of the areas in which they get an education during a school day. Science, Mathematics, English, Technology and STEM. Many projects also deal with physical fitness. ”

Dr Charles Lamb, biology professor at BHSU and chair of the science department, and science fair organizer, described that students have the freedom to think about what questions they would like to ask and what experiences they would like to have. must undertake to answer them. questions is important.

“It allows students to be creative and curious, and to think like scientists think. It’s always fun to see some of the smart projects from the students, ”he said, adding,“ This is an important part of the college curriculum because it allows students to experience what it really is. Science. In addition to learning facts in their classes, they have the opportunity to think scientifically and appreciate the value that science plays in the way we see and understand the world around us.

Lamb said he appreciates the students’ eagerness to explain what they have done and what they have learned from it.

“Some students have a real personal investment in their projects, and it’s fun to see them share that with our judges,” he said.

Lamb explained that he has been involved with the science fair since its inception 23 years ago.

“I continue to do this because science teachers at BHSU and science teachers at Spearfish Middle School share a desire to help middle school students discover what makes science so exciting and so important to their lives,” did he declare. “It’s an investment in the next generation of scientists and in the level of scientific understanding of our community. And we’re fortunate to have great science teachers in our Spearfish schools, and I think it’s important to help them.

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