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CHMS ‘Interactive’ Science Fair generates enthusiasm

If you want to ring the hoop, shoot from the chin. If you want to make an egg bounce, soak it in vinegar. And, if you want to have fun and learn a lot about scientific facts, experiment.

That’s exactly what the eighth grade advanced science students at Charles Henderson Middle School found out while preparing for and participating in the annual Science Fair, which was held on Friday.

“Students learn more from this one project and will remember it longer than anything I could teach them in the classroom,” said Amanda Challancin, CHMS advanced science teacher. “They not only learn about a specific scientific concept, they also learn organizational skills, research skills and social skills because they work in groups and they get valuable hands-on experience.”

At the 2010 CHMS Science Fair, 44 students presented 15 different projects to other students and interested parents. Topics included electromagnetism, colors of light, chemical reactions, electrolysis and density.

“The Charles Henderson Middle School Science Fair is not the typical science fair,” Challancin said. “It’s interactive. The students give one-minute presentations to the other classes that come to visit the science fair. They teach their scientific concept over and over throughout the morning. Some of the groups let visiting students take part in their experiments and demonstrations.”

Challancin said the students are required to do a controlled experiment and follow the procedures of the scientific method.

“They state a hypothesis and explain how they tested their hypothesis with an experiment and display the results in the form of a table, chart or graph,” she said.

In addition to the presentation, the groups had to choose a scientific concept, conduct an experiment, plan and construct a poster board of their project and keep a log of all their efforts and time spent on the project.

“Many of these students planned well in advance,” Challancin said. “They worked hard and I’m proud of them. Those who procrastinated also learned a valuable lesson.”

Challancin expressed appreciation to the volunteer parents and the administration for their support.

“I want them to be recognized as well as the students,” she said. “I’m very appreciative that I can do this for my students.”