On Thursday, Feb. 4, the Big Walnut Local School District holds an event that’s becoming rare in central Ohio, if not the entire state.
What event is it? It’s the Big Walnut science fair.
That event involves students from fifth grade through high school, encouraging them to think logically and creatively, using scientific methods of inquiry, and supports the district’s curriculum goals across all grade levels.
Big Walnut High School science teacher Matt Wallschlaeger, who co-directs the science fair with former Big Walnut teacher Linda Martin, said Big Walnut is one of few school districts in the state that has had a continuous science fair for the past 50-plus years.
“The science fair plays an important role in education because students are encouraged to be creative, original, and explore science beyond the typical classroom situation,” Wallschlaeger said. “As a teacher, it’s exciting for me to see students at different ages excel in open-ended science investigation; and it’s also enjoyable seeing how the Big Walnut community supports one of the last local science fairs in central Ohio.”
Wallschlaeger said this year’s science fair is hosting more than 100 projects in disciplines like behavioral science, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, earth science, engineering, physical science, environmental science, math, medicine, microbiology, zoology and computer science.
Wallschlaeger said the union of intermediate school, middle school and high school students has been fun to watch because high school kids have had an opportunity to serve as peer mentors in the area of science.
The science fair will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at Big Walnut High School (snow date is Feb. 18). Students will be able to set up their projects from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Parents and the general public are welcome to attend the science fair, but come early. Public viewing is from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; the doors close during judging.
Superior projects will advance to Central District Science Day at Columbus State Community College on March 19.
Wallschlaeger said judges and helpers are needed to support Big Walnut students who advance to Central District. Contact either Martin (614-216-0542) or Wallschlaeger (740-965-3766, Ext. 1008) to volunteer.
Students who receive superiors during Central District Science Day will advance to State Science Day at The Ohio State University in May. All levels of competition have opportunities for students to win cash awards, scholarships and/or plaques and certificates.
For more information about Central District Science Day, go to cscc.edu/docs/science/; for more information about State Science Day, go to ohiosci.org/state-science-day-2014/.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.