Science Fair Impresses Judges
Sixth grade students impressed judges from MIT and Wellesley College with their confidence, curiosity and mastery of the scientific process.
The 6th grade students demonstrated individually designed earth science experiments. Three judges came to view the projects and discuss them with the girls: Dr. Dan Brabander, Professor of Geosciences at Wellesley College, Dr. Jason Boock, post-doctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at MIT, and Carrie Thordarson, Education Coordinator at Drumlin Farm.
“I was most impressed with the enthusiasm of the students for their projects,” said Dr. Boock of MIT. “It was awesome to see how well they understood each step of the scientific method and how it could be applied to questions they have about the world. Their confidence in answering questions and explaining every detail of their project was impressive, and showed their passion for their work and beginning mastery of the scientific process.”
"The presence of the judges provides a wonderful opportunity for the girls to learn from scientists, as they develop the intellectual habits used by good scientists, such as curiosity and intellectual carefulness," said Director of Curriculum Katie Elrod.
Dr. Brabander of Wellesley added, “What was really on display at the Science Fair was that doing science is collaborative. Each project team I talked with shared stories about how they worked together to find a question that they were interested in and how they explored this together, often with unanticipated results. [This experience] brings middle school science into the students’ everyday learning experiences.”
The 6th grade projects included analyses of how various rocks weather, whether basil grown under blue light tastes better than using red light, and how various rocks weather. The projects reflected the 6th grade curriculum, in which girls studied how to choose an experiment that will produce quantifiable data, how to conduct research online, how to utilize the databases available through Medfield Public Library, and how to graph and display their findings appropriately.