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Horizon students’ unique ideas shine at Regional Science Fair

MADISON – At Horizon Elementary School, 80 fifth-graders entered the school’s science fair in January. Fourteen of those students advanced to the 68th annual North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair or NARSEF recently.

Local, anonymous residents judged the projects. The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Engineering Department organized the regional fair virtually, according to fifth-grade science teacher and Horizon Fair Coordinator Consuella Datcher.

“Our students participate in the science fair because we want to encourage hands-on application of the scientific method, while allowing the student to choose his/her topic of interest,” Gifted Specialist and Horizon Fair Sponsor Beth Bero said.

The judging rubric allotted 40-percent weight to scientific process, such as including a control or adequate repetition to validate results. Other factors are creativity, 20 percent; thoroughness, 15 percent; skill, 15 percent and clarity, 10 percent.

Judges often give high marks for projects with a unique take on a topic, along with thoroughness in execution.

“Our school science fair was held on an asynchronous day, but projects were set up for judges to see. Judging took place as usual, just without the students. NARSEF was completely online, so students submitted all research into the Scienteer website and then spoke to judges in a short, zoom-type meeting,” Bero said.

Collecting and analyzing data, and then sharing findings, are important life skills for practically any job, Bero said. “Examples I give my students are a landscape worker and a nail polish worker. In both jobs, deciding the best materials and methods to complete the task are important.”

“Science is not ‘just’ for white-coated people in laboratories!” Bero said.

Six Horizon students have been invited to attend the Alabama Science and Engineering Fair or ASEF on April 4-8: Zoe McGee, Brady Hiserote, Sophia Jerez, Matthew Scauzillo, Taylor Vahle and Sam Goodwin.

“ASEF will also be virtual . . . it’s not the same experience for the kids, sadly,” Bero said.

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/a/uah.edu/narsef.

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