More than 90 local students used science, technology, engineering or math to explore topics that mattered to them at the second annual Community Science Fair in April. Some found the scientific importance of day-to-day tasks such as brushing your teeth and shooting hoops, while others looked to the future with bioplastic and reducing radiation.
For the second year, 4-H teamed up with Parkview Christian Academy to host this community-wide Science Fair in April. Students could work individually or in pairs, and could choose to present a STEM demonstration or a science project that follows the Scientific Method. The 2019 event drew a total 92 youth participants, grades 4 to 12, from DuPage, Kane, Kendall and surrounding counties.
“Science Fair projects are a wonderful way for youth to explore the world around them and topics that interest them,” said Jo Ann Britton, 4-H Program Coordinator with University of Illinois Extension. “Doing an experiment using the Scientific Method helps students understand the process of question, hypothesize, test, observe, analyze, and conclude. This is instrumental in both critical thinking and problem solving, and preparing and presenting a project improve organization, communication and public speaking skills.”
Evan Sass, a middle school student with Classical Conversations Cooperative, aspires to be an engineer and an inventor. He was surprised by his project’s conclusion, as it differed from his hypothesis. “I learned a lot,” he said. “And now I hope to patent my results and create a shield to reduce microwave radiation.”
After months of work, on April 11, youth presented their projects to a judge with a face-to-face conference format, and later participated in a public showcase before the awards ceremony.
“Our students are part of the community and through this event, they got to participate, meet, interact with and compete against other students from the surrounding area,” said John Gutman, principal of PCA’s upper campus. “The science fair experience benefited our students as well as met curriculum goals for our middle school students. Jo Ann and her team did a great job of organizing, teaching our students some of the expectations, and building enthusiasm.”
All participants earned a blue, red or white ribbon based on their own project work meeting requirements, and several earned multiple special recognition ribbons. In addition, the top students received a smart speaker, donated by 4-H and PCA supporters. They were: Brayden Caraynoff-Huber of Minooka with “Rhythm of my Heart,” Alayna Demas of Grand Reserve Elementary School (Yorkville) with “Fire Safety,” Matias Habib of Peaceful Pathways Montessori with “Plastic vs. Bioplastic,” Joanna Oudyn of PCA with “Magnetic Cereal,” and Evan Sass of Elgin with “Reducing Microwave Radiation.” Additional honorees included Catchiest Title from Theo Wyncoop of Yorkville Intermediate School with “Wow! That’s Shocking,” and Outstanding Display from Griffin Larsen of PCA with “Big Foot, Big Kick?”
Rosette ribbons went to both elementary and middle school students for special recognition, including: Iggy Arriola of Emily G. Johns School (Plano), Isaiah Barton of PCA, Teagan Bernstein-Meachum of Big Woods Academy, Elizabeth Coriswold of PCA, Colleen DiMatteo of Holy Angels School, Emma Hansen of PCA, Kate Hansen of PCA, Ruth Oudyn of PCA, Aidan Pagan of PCA, McKenna Stark of PCA, Angeleah Wyncoop of Yorkville Middle School, and Serafina Wyncoop of Yorkville Intermediate School.
Special thanks to Parkview Christian Academy for hosting the event, and to our eight volunteer judges from University of Illinois Extension and PCA. For more information on University of Illinois Extension and 4-H in DuPage, Kane or Kendall Counties, visit go.illinois.edu/extensiondkk.