Virtual science fair a hit with students

Like so many events during the 2020-21 school year, the annual Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair had to reinvent itself because of the pandemic. The result was the virtual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Fest held in April.

Students accessed online resources to conduct science experiments and afterwards they could submit photos of their projects. They also could submit potential designs for the official STEAM Fest t-shirt. More than 200 students submitted t-shirt designs, and the STEAM Fest website recorded more than 19,000 visits over two weeks, including 11,000 unique visitors.

The in-person science fair, held at the Lincoln-Lancaster Event Center, is open to students in 5th-8th grades. Rochelle Settles, a science teacher at Fredstrom Elementary School and one of the event organizers, said the virtual format allowed for a broader range of students to participate.

“It came together so beautifully. When STEAM Fest launched I had no idea what to expect,” she said. “We received thousands of hits to the site within the first two days. We realized very quickly that there was a need we were fulfilling and many other students - not just 5th-8th grade students - were attracted to STEAM Fest.”

Here are some reactions from students who participated in STEAM Fest:

“I learned that science is all around us and anyone can be a scientist.” ~ Mackenzie, 7th grade

“I learned there is a large diversity of STEAM-related topics and activities. I also learned that there are so many cool things you can always learn.” ~ Reagan, 5th grade

“I love astrology so when I saw that one of the activities had to do with astrology I just had to check it out. I learned that there are eight main phases of the moon. These phases repeat each other over and over again every 29.5 days. I don't think this is something I will ever forget.” ~ Aya, 7th grade

“I learned a lot more about science and how things work. I also learned different ways you can participate in science activities.” ~ Alexis, 7th grade

“I used to think that static just makes your hair crazy but I know now that static can create lightning bolts.” ~ Derek, 5th grade

“I used to think science was boring but now I think this was an awesome experience.” ~ Parker, 5th grade

Interested in summer science learning opportunities? STEAM Fest activities and information is still available online.

Published: June 7, 2021, Updated: June 7, 2021