PCSD science fair students advance to State
March 2, 2012
The Park City School District Science Fair was organized down to a "science" by co-chairs Tania Knauer, Stacey Hamill and Sheri Prucka. About 253 Park City School District students in fifth- through 12th-grade submitted projects, according to Knauer, who said the purpose of holding the district fair is to enable students to participate in the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Regional Fair scheduled for the end of March.
"We were basically working under that contest’s regulations, which requires a district fair for kids in 5th through 12th grade," Knauer said. "This is the first year we’ve included the 5th grade."
Knauer said there are two divisions in the science fair. The primary division is for students in 5th and 6th grade and the secondary division is for students in 7th- through 12th grade. The school district is allotted no more than 40 students per category to complete at the state level, she said.
Park City School District Director of Curriculum Lori Gardner said she was impressed with the caliber of projects the students submitted.
"The projects represented their interests and passion, not only for science or discovery, but also snowboarding and luging to social issues such as water purification and the effects of salt on roads and the environment," Gardner said. "It was wonderful to see that passion among our young people."
According to Gardner, Park City Administrator Janice Jones, along with parent volunteers worked closely with teachers and other administrators to organize the event. Treasure Mountain Junior High School vice Principal Kevin McIntosh was a judge for the first time this year.
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The judges were grouped together in threes, McIntosh said, adding that his group judged ninth-grade projects from TMJHS. He said the judges attended a brief orientation about the judging process.
"The organizers did a great job. I could tell that it took a lot of effort. They had food for us and were very professional," he said, adding that his group judged projects that had to do with proving the scientific method.
"The students had to have bibliographies to show their sources on display boards," he said. "They basically came up with a hypothesis and tried to prove it and then explained the process and what they learned along the way."
McPolin Elementary School 5th-grader Claire Oberg has been involved in her school’s science fair since she was in first grade. She said this was the first year she could participate at the district level. Oberg and her project partner, McPolin Elementary 5th-grader Emma Bush, did their project based on the Monty Hall problem, which has to do with the probability of choosing the correct door out of three doors.
Oberg said their hypothesis was that it’s always better to switch doors, because there is a greater chance of getting the right answer if the guess changes. The girls received high ratings for their project and will go on to the state fair later this month.
"Emma tackled me when we found out that we made it to districts. People were really curious about it and thought it was awesome," Oberg said, "I’m excited to show more people our project (at State)."
Park City School District 5th-graders are required to complete a science fair project, which counts for the majority of their science grade for the year.
For more information regarding the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Regional Fair, visit the school district’s website at http://www.pcschools.us . The registration deadline for the fair is March 2.