Big time at the ol’ science fair

I live within the boundaries of one of (it may actually be) THE biggest school districts in Texas.  It’s pretty crazy how big the district is and the number of schools within it.

So a couple of nights ago the district held what it calls the Gifted & Talented Showcase. It’s a science fair of sorts but it’s for the smart kids…. like the really smart kids. Each school has a program that helps challenge the students that are gifted and talented but then each school designates four “teams” made up of the smartest of those smart kids to represent the school at the showcase. My stepsons were on the teams that represented the third and fourth graders.  Pretty cool huh!

So The Deistette and I did our parental duty and attended the event. Honestly, I thought I was going to hate this. But in retrospect, this was actually pretty cool.

HOLY CRAP!!!! though there were a lot of people there. Each school in the district (that’s elementary, middle and high school) brought four teams to show the smartest of the smartest.

volcanoOf course there was your classics like volcanoes. This was one of at least three that I saw. It was pretty damn cool, too.  The parents who built this thing (and you know they did) cut slivers of space in the paper mache, placed red cellophane behind where the slice was made and put a small light inside the volcano to make the “lava” glow. Then they had a little fan of some sort inside the volcano that was strong enough to blow thin strips of red and yellow tissue to look like it was spewing stuff out of the top.

Another classic science fair project on hand was your styrofoam solar systems. This one was the best of three I saw.

solar system

wind energyBut then there were some projects that were pretty unique considering they were done by grade school kids. I liked the wind energy one quite a bit. That was impressive. They had miniature solar panels around it and and a presentation of how the energy is stored, transferred and used by people who need it.

garden1And there was a couple of kids who planted a garden. Being city kids they were pretty excited to tell you all about what they did to get their lettuce and onions to sprout… testing the soil, keeping a UV light on them to mimic the sun, and of course water and food.

garden2Part of our job as observers was to actively engage the students, ask them questions about their project and find out what they had learned. These two fourth graders said one of the biggest things the learned was how important the sun was to their garden’s growth. They explained one of their UV lights burned out and it took a couple of days to get a new one. The plants on that side (the ones closest to us in the picture) were a bit stunted.

We also saw some kids who did research on historical figures. Here’s Clara Barton and Daniel Boone.
clara barton

One of the most impressive projects we discussed with members of a team was one done on Economic Restrictions by two 6th grade girls. I didn’t get pics of them but those two students were very impressive with the amount of knowledge they gained AND more importantly that they were able to confidently explain to adults, concepts like embargos, trade restrictions and global economics. Really, really impressive.

But my favorite… well, to quote Napoleon Dynamite…

Deb: “What’s a liger?”
Napoleon Dynamite: “It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic.”



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