Monday, March 7, 2011

Long Beach Science Fair ‘Ag’ challenge

It is time to plan for the Long Beach Unified School District Science Fair to be held Saturday, May 21, 2011, at Cabrillo High School. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 A.M.

Each public school has their own guidelines for participation in this annual event. For example, this year Minnie Gant Elementary will be participating. The school will hold its own Science Fair exhibit, and the best entries will be chosen to represent Minnie Gant at the District Science Fair.

Each K-5 elementary school can enter no more than 18 projects at the district fair. Each middle school, high school, and K-8 elementary school is allowed no more than 24 projects.

Table 1 shows which types of projects your child can enter. For example, K and 1st graders are allowed to enter collections that address a scientific question, K through 5th graders are allowed to enter a project based on library research as opposed to experimentation, 3rd through 8th graders can enter inventions, 7th graders can enter scientific surveys, 9th through 12th graders can enter engineering projects, and all students can enter experimental projects.

The judging criteria varies between project types and is more stringent for the more advanced grades.

The basis of any Science Fair project is a problem that needs to be solved and for which the Science Fair participant doesn’t already know the answer at the outset of the project. This is a good opportunity to learn about something new.

As an extra incentive to enter your school’s Science Fair competition, the Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner will reprint some of the best entries that cover an agriculture-related topic.

Agriculture is largely science-based but often overlooked by those considering a career in science. Yet a farmer needs to understand and carefully apply a great wealth of scientific knowledge with practically every decision he or she makes, from the selection of the most suitable crop for the prevailing conditions on his or her farm, to the best time to harvest to maximize ripeness and nutritional quality while minimizing risks of loss that might happen if the crop is picked too late. 

In addition to actual farmers who work in the field, there are scientists who work in the lab (and field) to feed the world as well. They include soil scientists, crop scientists, agronomists, pest control scientists, animal scientists, and more.

Agriculture-related topics that one might consider for a Science Fair project could be about composting, seed germination, soil fertility, or even genetically modified organisms. The possibilities are boundless.

To be considered for online publication, just send a legible pdf of your Science Fair project to this address, along with a signed note from your classroom teacher verifying the authenticity of your work. All submissions will be entered into a pool from amongst which the best entries will be selected (by me) for publication after the district fair has completed.

Resources to help with your science fair project:

LBUSD Science Fair information page

California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom website

Life lab website

Suggest other resources here.

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You might also be interested in Donna’s other work as National Science News Examiner, Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner and founder and executive director of Long Beach Grows.

Copyright © 2011 Donna Marykwas; All rights reserved.

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