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Mother Seton Schools science fair

Lynn Tayler
Mother Seton School

(3/2016) I just want to make that clear. Need to know the difference between an EN-dash and an EM-dash? Iím your gal. Where should you put that comma? Iím happy to tell you where. What is the pH of ionized water? Havenít the foggiest clue what ionized water is, let alone its pH.

Thankfully, my children havenít inherited my science-challenged brain. They take after their meteorologist dad who watches the Science channel for pleasure, and not because heís forced to because he canít find the remoteÖ Not that Iím speaking from experience or anything.

My children love science. They succeed and thrive in their classes at Mother Seton School. And this time of year is like a second Christmas for them because itís Science Fair time. They get to investigate the things that interest them, perform cool experiments, and use tools they may not otherwise have a reason to play around with. They arenít the only ones, either, who love this time of year. My friends speak excitedly about what their kids are working on, and many have students who have been participating in the science fair for years, even when it wasnít mandatory for them. (Participation is optional in grades three and four, compulsory in grades five through eight.) Itís truly a credit to the teachers and the curriculum at MSS that the kids get so fired up about science.

In previous years, projects have run the gamut from what is the effect of salt on boiling water to how does athletic shoe design affect performance, to extracting DNA from plants and measuring the effect of exercise of our memory. This year, students are studying things such as the effects of magnetism, what type of wood burns the fastest, and do experienced videogamers have better reaction times than non-gamers. Itís always something different, and there is always something new to learn at each science fair. At a time when weíre constantly reading about the decline of American education, particularly in the math and sciences, it will help boost your optimism about the future of our society to see what our junior scientists have been working on.

I used to worry that my lack of scientific know-how would impede my children, because I couldnít confidently assist them beyond designing their display board. But after putting a few science fairs under my belt, I no longer fret about it. I see how excited the kids get and how much they enjoy researching and experimenting, and because their teachers have already instilled in them a terrific foundation for learning, I know theyíll do just fine. Not only that, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from putting together a science fair project is priceless. Thatís not something that can be taught, but itís surely something we celebrate. The Science Fair brings out the best in our students.

This yearís Science Fair will be held the week of March 14, with judging taking place on Wednesday the 16th. Please plan on stopping by and taking a look. And while youíre here, be sure to take a peek at the seventh-grade "Trout in the Classroom" project, where the students raise trout from eggs until they are old enough to be released. You wonít be disappointed!