Science Fair Mentoring Project continues, expands

Published 1:53 pm Monday, October 22, 2018

The Science Fair Mentoring Project continues at two local elementary schools and expands into another.

For the fourth year, the SFMP will work with students at Neveln Elementary School.    

This is an effort to help students understand the scientific method and to prepare entries for the district-wide science fair, STEAM Expo. At Neveln, volunteer mentors work with pairs of third and fourth grade students after school on Thursdays from mid- November through February.

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The number of children served is determined by the number of mentors who volunteer their time. For the last three years, approximately 35 Neveln students have been involved. The benefits for the children go beyond growth of knowledge about science.

Working with a partner toward a goal, research skills, confidence in making an oral presentation, keeping an organized record of experimental work and learning that community adults care for them are among the positive aspects of this program for students.

Banfield future scientists experiment with the best ways to keep eggs from breaking during transportation in preparation for the 2018 STEAM Expo.

Mentoring project continues at Banfield

The Science Fair Mentoring Project is in its third year at Banfield Elementary School. In an effort to assist students who may not have parental help preparing for the science fair due to both parents working and other factors, the SFMP mentoring at Banfield is done during the school day at the convenience of the mentor and the student.

Twelve students were served in the 2016-17 school year and last year 21 students were involved.

Southgate fourth graders participated in the Mentos Fountain experiment on Sept. 17. Students were introduced to the scientific method, formed and tested a hypothesis and made a fun sticky mess in the schoolyard.

Science Fair Mentoring Project Expands to Southgate

In order to expand the Science Fair Mentoring Project to Southgate Elementary School, two new models for delivery of the program will be piloted, so that all 150 fourth graders can be included.   

Teachers Morgan Dickman and Lisa Deyo will use the program and materials developed by SFMP in their classrooms and will use parent volunteers to do the mentoring.

The other fourth grade classes will use the SFMP materials to introduce the scientific method, how to make a hypothesis, how to collect and present data, but will not be mentored. These students can use what they have learned to complete their science fair entries at home.

“As we work to engage students in an authentic way at Southgate Elementary, our staff is always looking for learning opportunities for students to connect with what interests them,” said Southgate Elementary Principal Katie Baskin. “The Science Fair is a perfect opportunity for students to engage in inquiry through a topic that fits their spark.

“The Mentorship Project provides an opportunity for more students to be supported through the inquiry process and gives them the support they need to feel successful in moving a project forward to share with others. We are excited to partner with this organization in a pilot project that integrates this opportunity into their science learning and aligns with the standards students are meeting.”