Students move forward with science fair projects

While many activities have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, several academic centered activities are still in full swing.
“It’s been a priority for the directors of the regional, state and international science fairs that the ‘Fair’s must go on!’ even if they are virtual,” says Yuma High School science teacher Am Melby.

Facilitating student research during a global pandemic has been met with many challenges.
“Scientific research is always a challenging course, but this year there are a few additional challenges. In addition to students being both in person and virtual, the primary challenge has been helping students develop projects that can be completed at school or at home,” says Melby.
Preparing students to compete virtually at the Regional Science Fair will also pose some new challenges. Typically students prepare and print a poster; however, this year all the presentations are virtual, so students will also be learning how to make short videos recapping their projects, as well as a virtual poster.

Pictured from early in 2020, senior Shelby Blach is continuing her research on the impacts of vaping on the mouth and respiratory system. Shelby is hoping to qualify again for the Colorado State and International Science Fairs. (Courtesy Photo)

“These kids are definitely having to learn and master a whole new set of skills,” says Melby.
This year Amy Melby was selected by the Society for Science as a Research Teacher Advocate. She meets monthly with other research teachers from across the country on how to best assist students with research during these trying times.
“It’s really been a fantastic source of support, and interesting how other schools are handling the pandemic,” said Melby.
Overall, Melby feels the students are making the best of the situation and are finding ways to innovative – a foundation of moving science forward! Students are currently in the process of conducting experiments and analyzing their data which will be presented at the Northeast Colorado Science Fair in February.
Look for highlights of student research in the coming weeks!