Science Fair for All
I know that the words “Science Fair” can cause stress and anxiety in a parent’s heart, but I love that our entire school participates in Science Fair for many reasons. Of course, it makes sense for a project based school to do Science projects and students learn many of the same skills doing these Science projects as they do with their Explorations, but another thing I love about CES Science Fairs is that it’s an opportunity to work with community partners and foster cross grade level collaboration. Our Bigs help Littles get ready and set up, our Middle School students serve as judges for Scouts (Kinders), high school students and teachers come and judge for most communities, and members of our community come in and judge in all communities.
It’s more than just learning about Science! Students learn many other important life skills like public speaking, working with a deadline, doing research, synthesizing their learning and communicating that to others, and problem solving. I also love that you can see that most of the our students take on the role of learner from start to finish. If you look closely at the pictures above, you see lots of evidence of “kid work”. It is quite typical for judges to share with us how impressed they are with our students’ ability to speak with authority and working knowledge of their project–from the process to what they learned. This is because most of our students take responsibility for their projects and do the work themselves. Although I think our parents “get it”, I’m including a link to an article below that discusses the importance of Science Projects and kids doing the work for themselves. Kudos to all of you parents who provided the opportunities and support but allowed your kids to do the work and the learning. When you do this you are sending a message to your kids that they are capable–if you do the work for them, you are sending them the message that they aren’t able to do it themselves. The final product may not be as beautiful and perfect as you would like but the pride a child feels knowing that this is their work and the lessons they learn from that are far more important. As the article I’m including states:
Recent studies conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggest that parents can best support their children’s learning by refraining from becoming too involved. The optimal approach is to encourage children to do their own work. As tempting as it may be to rush in and get the job taken care of, or as much fun as the science project may be when you’re an adult, or as desirable as it is to help a child to be a classroom star, the long term effect of such actions is to cause children to disengage from the learning process.
It’s an excellent article and I hope you will take the time to read it. It may help you understand why when kids are working on projects/Explorations we focus so much on the process rather than the product too. I especially thought the section from a Science Fair Winner’s perspective was quite interesting and relevant to all of our projects here at CES.
Now that all of our communities have finished their fairs, we are sending students to the District Science Fair April 25th and I’m confident our students will do well. Look for results here in my last blog of the month.
Voyaging to Old Bent’s Fort
Voyagers made the long bus ride to Old Bent’s Fort for a wonderful educational field trip wrapping up part of their 3rd quarter learning. They were supposed to go the last week of the quarter before Spring Break, but they had to postpone due to our Snow Day.
Hookin’ ’em in on the First Day
Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of all of our teachers on Monday, the first day of the quarter, but in addition to the Solar Systems, the Dinosaur and Weather Girl you see there, we had gardeners, water lovers, and farmers roaming the building on Monday. I just love how our teachers will go out of their way and sometimes their comfort zone to “hook” kids into their next quarter unit. Sometimes I don’t think our kids know just how lucky they are!
Is it Bullying?
I’ve included something similar before, but I found this and though it was a helpful way to determine if the conflict children may be having is at the point where an adult needs to step in. That does not mean that adults should not help children deal with rude and mean behavior. By all means, we should be helping kids develop the tools to deal with this type of behavior. Here at school, we teach students Conflict Resolution for this very reason. But, if the behavior has crossed the line into Bullying, than it’s time for an adult to step in.
Thank you for reading! Until next week,
Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal