Circle of Life Academy takes top honors at science fair
Over 88 students from three schools participated in this year's 4th Annual White Earth Science Fair held Dec. 15 in the White Earth Community Center. Forty-eight projects were displayed on subjects from tornados, catapults, robotics, volcanoes, brownies, bread mold to the effects of pop on bones.
The science fair targeted students from the fourth through eighth grades and was supported with funds from the University of Minnesota Extension and the Summer Science and Math Academy programs on the White Earth Reservation.
Students in these grades were encouraged to develop a science fair exhibit with help from their teachers, families or friends and present it at the event on a poster board. They needed to think through the process of how to ask a testable question and then figure out how to come up with a way to solve the problem.
At the Science Fair, they had to stand next to their poster and explain their study to four separate judges who score them on content, quality of their poster and their ability to get the message across in a short period of time.
Judge Linda Kingery of U of MN Extension's NWR Sustainable Development said that she has seen improvements each year, but that this year's students "were really knowledgeable and excited about their topic and looked to be having fun share their stories."
The sixth and fourth grade students from Circle of Life Academy (CLA), Timothy Bevins and Tyler Rock scored first place with their project, "Glow in the Dark Water" and first place with Landris Thompson and Jaiden Parisian for "Tornadoes."
Second place also went to the fifth and sixth grades of CLA, Sharisssa Jacobson, Devin Rock and Takaro Garbow on "Static Electricity" and Tia Parisian and Laura Hvezda on "Tornados." Naytahwaush took home first place for the fifth grade with Clint Walker's, "Mentos & Pop;" second place for fourth grade with Jandi Ura, Heaven LeNoir and Misty Murray's, "Cooling Fan." Two third places went to Naytahwaush's fourth grade and fifth grade, Leroy Fairbanks and Anakin Bush, "Melting Ice" and Neveh Leslie, "Fishing Line Strength." The Pine Point School had third place in the sixth-eighth grade level with Sam Robbins and Shaelyn display on, "Slime."
This year the Science Fair had over 20 judges that volunteered their time from across the different Universities (U of MN's Morris, Crookston, County Extension, NDSU, etc.) and Tribal Colleges along with the Tribal Biology Department.
Judges attended an early morning training and visited between 12 to 15 different displays while listening to the students share their stories. This year's judges included graduate students from the U of MN's College of Engineering who are from Africa, Asia and Europe. In addition, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's (AISES) North Star Alliance and Professional Chapter, Becker County 4-H Program Coordinator Mickey Okeson, Deb Altepeter, Mahnomen County 4-H program coordinator, and additional volunteers to help out with the judging.
Special thanks should go out to all of the teachers and parents from each of the three schools, Circle of Life Academy, Naytahwaush Community Charter School and Pine Point School, for encouraging students to get involved in this year's science fair.
After the judging, students had a delicious lunch prepared by Deb Zak of U of MN Extension and then all students were given participation awards, along with each grade level top students award.
In the last four years, the Science Fair has doubled in participation. To plant the seed for next year, students should be thinking early about what to do, maybe summer, so they can be ready for the 5th Annual Science Fair next December. If you have any question on this year's science fair, contact Stephan Carlson at 612-624-8186 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Courneya at 218-790-0706.