FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/ 5/13
Mention the scientific method at Cascade Heights Public Charter School in Clackamas and even the kindergarteners understand “hypothesis”. As part of a further developing science program the school held a full scale science fair after a successful pilot last year.
Called the Sally Ride Science Fair and Engineering Exposition, the fair was coordinated by the science teacher Georgi Brunning and Joell Hamersly, parent volunteer. “Science fairs are a lot of work if they are done right. We could not have done this without a tremendous effort by teachers, parents, students and mentors. “ said Brunning. who is a veteran in the field of science education but new to Cascade Heights this year. Though the school is not a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) specific school, it incorporates scientific thinking at all grade levels. Kindergarten through third grade did whole class projects while 4th through 8th graders tackled small team or individual projects. Students could choose their field of study from Animal Science and Microbiology to Computer Science and Engineering. And they did. “Ethanol Returned on Ethanol Invested” (1st Place Energy and Transportation), “Is Everyone Really A Stranger?”(2nd Place Medicine and Health)and “Cupcakes, What Makes Them So Yummy?”- (1st Place Chemistry ) were some of the 90 projects submitted for judging. A group of 25 professionals and doctoral students spent almost four hours reviewing projects, interviewing students, collectively considering the merits of each project and finally writing feedback for each student. Seven of the judges stayed to select the “Best of Fair” projects. “We wanted to make sure the work they did was their own and that Mom and Dad didn’t help too much. We were also looking for students who clearly understood the scientific method.” said Marilyn Seger PhD, a retired school administrator and PSU professor. At the end of the day awards were given and the top 15 projects were selected to compete in the middle school state science fair on March 22, 2013 at Portland State University. They will be joined by other middle school students from the Portland-Metro Area. Holly Denman the school’s founding director is very proud of the results, “ It was difficult for everyone at first because it was new to us. Once the students chose a project they were interested in the curiosity of science took over. The energy in the room that day was wonderful. I am already looking forward to next year.”
Cascade Heights is an independent charter school sponsored by North Clackamas School District. Founded in 2006, Cascade Heights enrolls 225 students. For more information about Cascade Heights Public Charter School, visit: www.cascadeheights.org For more information about the state middle school science fair, go to http://nwse.org/msstudentschedule.