17 January 2017 was a special day at SIS Regensburg, as students from grades 1 to 11 had the opportunity to present their science projects to parents and peers at our first science fair. All students worked hard on projects related to mathematics, chemistry, biology or physics.
The moment parents arrived in the library, where the students' findings were displayed on official looking science boards, the students experienced that their efforts had been worthwhile. The library buzzed with excited voices sharing the conducted research and experiments. We even heard loud cheers when the rockets made by first grade were launched high up in the air. Children were so excited to explain what they had discovered, that some of them stood at their project boards for the whole two hours!
To tackle the challenge in secondary school, each class or student was allowed to choose his or her own topic to present, preferably those with scientific applications for everyday life. After a few days of brainstorming, the students started to build their research posters up. Word by word the main frame of the science fair day was drawn. Some children talked about renewable energy sources. Others made a model of an atom to simplify the idea for the audience. Each project required students to ask questions, research information, decide on what is or what is not relevant, analyse the data and reach a conclusion. Students explained that their favorite part of the science fair was that it was so much fun to "dive into" the subject deeply and find the answers themselves.
Parents were extremely proud to see their childrens' hard work displayed and eagerly listened to explanations. It was wonderful to experience parents equally interested in the research across all grade levels. We saw parents who had their child in first grade asking a grade 11 student questions on his findings, such as whether or not the car in the movie could or could not have jumped the distance. And secondary students' parents cheering for the rocket launch from first grade.
This science fair showed us all we can achieve together and how much our students can learn by themselves! It is an experience to repeat.