Ah, it’s that glorious season, when the sale of tri-fold boards spikes, and eager young scientists stand ready to excitedly tell judges how they grew mold on bread or watered plants with a variety of appalling substances. It’s science fair season!
I actually feel a little sad about it this year. Because of my class and teaching1 schedule, the only one I can possibly volunteer for is the DPS District Science Fair, since it’s on a Saturday. The rest take place on weekdays, when I can’t afford to miss. I’m particularly disappointed that I’ll have to miss the Colorado state science fair again. That’s the one I missed last year because I’d just come down with mono and, I was informed, looked like I was going to die.
Bread mold jokes aside, this sort of volunteering is something that anyone who cares about science education should take seriously. Particularly when it comes to people who make their living in the sciences (either in academia or in the private sector) it really does make a huge difference for kids to meet us as judges. It’s one thing to hear about how cool science is in school, and another entirely to meet real grown ups who do real science for a living.
To my fellow Coloradoans, particularly any Denverites that might be reading this, it’s time to get involved!
If you’re not a Colorado resident, don’t despair – there are science fairs everywhere in the country, and this is the time of year they get started, preparing for the International Science Fair. If you’re interested in judging for a fair, a good place to start looking for your local events is on the Intel ISEF website. Though that’s by no means an exhaustive list and all you really need is some Google-fu.
Make a kid’s day. Make a difference. And as a bonus, there are normally cookies.
1 – Still feels so, so weird to be saying that.