For more than 30 years the science fair has inspired middle school students to work as scientists-in-training and create projects that explore various areas of physical, behavioral and biological sciences.
But as with any competition, it is a rigorous process to make it to the top. During the first week of the competition, more than 30 judges from varying science backgrounds will evaluate the projects based on how closely the student has studied the scientific method, how creative or unique the topic is, and how clearly the students communicate their results through a project board. Candidates for first, second and third place are then interviewed to assess their science knowledge before the finalists are announced, said Marcus Wojtkowiak, the Randall Museum’s science educator.
Previous winning projects have studied the egg-laying patterns of chickens at different temperatures to determine the most efficient process, and investigated text colors and learning.
“One of the projects that won last year was a young lady who was very interested in how the sails worked for the America’s Cup catamarans, and the physics behind them,” Wojtkowiak said. “She built models that mimicked those sails and was lucky enough to have the Oracle sailing team take her on one of the boats to see it up close.”
This year, to coincide with the awards ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 15, a new public program has been added to the schedule.
“I’ve always felt that there’s been a rift between our regular Saturday visitors and the Science Fair winners, so this year we’re offering the Science Fair Fest to involve the regular visitors in the science fair,” Wojtkowiak said.
At the Science Fair Fest, visitors are invited to participate in two hands-on science activity stations: one combining art and science, and another with small-scale experiments where children (and adults) can interact with different physics principles.
The winners will be treated to a science-based field trip and will then compete in the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair in March.
The 32nd annual San Francisco Middle School Science fair is made possible by a generous donation by Genentech.
For more information please visit the Randall Museum website.
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