Our Junior students recently took part in the annual ‘Shrewsbury Prep Science Fair’, using their skills in scientific methodology to explore and discover answers to some of their most pressing questions. The annual fair has taken place every year since 2013, and we weren’t going to allow COVID-19 to stop our love of science. Held online, the aim, as always, was to promote scientific understanding in an area of students’ own choice.
Once our budding investigators had their question, the challenge was to answer it! Their scientific understanding allowed them to hypothesise, test and conclude using controlled, dependent and independent variables.
Students showed curiosity and creativity with a wide variety of experiments. In total, there were 34 projects from across Years 3 - 6 with both paired and individual experiments.
This year, the Science Fair was paired with the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Therefore, students were required to explain how their project could contribute to achieving one of 17 UN Global Goals as they endeavoured to find ways to improve the planet.
Year 6 students were curious to discover how carbon-neutral magnetic trains worked, designing a scaled magnetic track at home to test the effectiveness of different vehicles in motion. One Year 3 student wondered whether varying amounts of salt might impact the life cycle of flour weevils to create longer-lasting storage conditions for flour. Over four weeks, he carefully observed weevils under different isolation conditions and recorded the results. We also saw experiments designed to test the aerodynamics of paper planes, heat insulation and clean water filtration.
In making science relevant to students’ interests and seeking to engage through autonomy, we saw students applying structured scientific methodology with detail-orientation and thoroughness. Despite a time of extended home learning, students showed resilience and discipline - all the while maintaining a passion for their experiments and an eagerness to discover answers.