Acing science in Avon
AVON -- One week removed from a successful science fair, Avon students are still buzzing with excitement. At the South Central South Dakota Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Dakota Wesleyan University last week, Avon middle school students...
AVON - One week removed from a successful science fair, Avon students are still buzzing with excitement.
At the South Central South Dakota Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Dakota Wesleyan University last week, Avon middle school students swept the junior grand awards - the top three projects in the middle school division, and were lauded as having the best presentation skills. Along with a long list of other awards divided between high school and middle school participants from Avon, science teacher Paul Kuhlman said the students are reaping the rewards of their hard work, which will likely translate to even more success in the future.
"It's always nice to be rewarded for a job well done," Kuhlman said. "It can make a difference in their commitment to keep going in the subject because they have a good experience, and we see a lot of repeat winners for that reason."
And after months of work to perfect their projects, Kuhlman said the students deserve the recognition. Though not uncommon to spend several months prepping for a large science fair, science teacher Tamara Carns said she and Kuhlman weren't easy on the students.
Often, just when the students would think their projects were perfect, Kuhlman and Carns would send them back with "just one more" correction or suggestion. Then, following a local science fair before the one at DWU, students completely recreated their presentation boards again.
"We're fortunate that we have a lot of kids who get really excited about this kind of stuff and work on their projects during the summer, long before we start looking for science fair submissions," Carns said. "That's always exciting for us and it contributes to their willingness to come in and do the work and put up with us saying, 'That's not good enough,' or 'redo that graph.'"
Participating in science fairs and learning basic scientific principles could have long-term benefits for the students and the future workforce, Kuhlman added.
Many of the students who do well in science won't enter science-related fields, but they can apply the knowledge they gained to other careers and their everyday lives.
"We always have a few that become research scientists, but what helps them out is they become informed citizens, so no matter what they end up choosing to do, they have a sound scientific background," Kuhlman said. "They can watch news and tell if there's a scientific basis, and that just makes them better, wiser citizens."