Science Fair Season Kicks Off at Weeks

Students discuss their entry with a judge at the Weeks Middle School Science Fair.

Students discuss their entry with a judge at the Weeks Middle School Science Fair.

The atmosphere after school on Thursday at Weeks Middle School was absolutely scientific!

More than 500 projects were on display in the school gym and cafeteria for the annual science fair. So jammed were the display spaces that the judges were jostling their way from project to project like rush-hour commuters on a crowded subway.

And on the subject of judging, do not suppose that it was left to the Weeks science faculty to decide. They could hardly have been objective in assessing the relative merits of the work they’d overseen. Instead outside experts were brought in from DuPont Pioneer, Des Moines University and Grand View University; people whose business it is to pick the locks of the universe’s secrets. They weren’t so much on the lookout for breakthroughs as sound methodology.

What were the controls in the experiments aimed at determining the relative intelligence of dogs big and small?

A potato-powered clock! Does that mean that time fries?

Hmm…the general consensus had been that those footballs were deflated to make them easier for Tom Brady to throw, but here’s evidence that the real objective was to make them more catchable!

Which gum’s flavor lasts longest? Who makes the best cookie? Which shoes generate the most friction? What’s the firing range of an ink cartridge sprung from a pen? And on and on…the bombardment of hypotheses and variables and conclusions was mind-blowing!

Were it not for the balloons that festooned a couple of displays, the placard on the gym wall promoting the 7th grade dance in February and the Wildcat paw logo on the back of the program a fairgoer might have forgotten where they were and felt lost in the land of Academia. But those touchstones reminded that it was the gym (where middle school minds were exercising) and cafeteria (full of food for thought) at Weeks.

The takeaway hypothesis: Weeks will be strong in the district science fair coming up in February. Hopefully it won’t conflict with that 7th grade dance.

Photos from the Weeks Science Fair

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