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GCS Education Foundation Sponsors New Program

From Science Fair to Science Alliance

Make Way For The Science Alliance!

By Blake Cutshall - GHS Junior, May 22,2013

The science fair, once responsible for creating excitement among students, is no longer going to take place. 

Since 1940, the science fair has been a staple of science education in the United States.  It has been used nationwide as a tool to help students learn the scientific method and grow a better understanding for how science works.

Times Have Changed

However, those times have changed.

Since the 1940's we have traveled to the moon six times, found a vaccine for polio, invented the Internet, and taken incredible strides in education - yet the science fair, for the most part, has remained the same.

While Greeneville City Schools have a reputation as a forward thinking system, the science fair and its process are outdated concepts that remain unchanged.

The science fair in recent years seems to promote more frustration among students and parents than it does a love for science.

In addition to that, in an average busy school day, it is difficult or nearly impossible for students and parents to find time to work on their science fair projects.

The general Internet of the science fair is to teach students the scientific method as well as basic presentation concepts.  However, many students do not develop a love for competitive nature of the science fair itself.  In addition, not all parents have the means to purchase project board items and materials.  The result tends to be major contrast and disparity between boards in terms of presentation quality.

Exciting Opportunities

"We are very excited about the opportunities that the Science Alliance provides for interaction between our high school students and the elementary school students," said Crystal Duggar, a GHS science teacher.

"We hope to spark interest in science at an early age so that we can cultivate it throughout middle school and high school," continued Duggar.

Suzanne Bryant, Assistant Director of Instruction for GCS said, "we are extremely excited about the transformation of our tradition system science fair to the Science Alliance.  The goal of the Science Alliance is to get the students excited about courses and careers in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The Science Alliance allows community businesses to work with our students demonstrating hands-on science in the real world."

Bridging Common Core

Bryant continued, "The Common Core Standards are raising learning expectations for our students.  Students will be expected not only to memorize material, but be able to apply their learning to real life situations.  The Science Alliance is a bridge between the work students are doing in the classroom and science in the real world.  It is also an avenue for our students in grades 4 through 6 to see possibilities for future coursework and careers."

Today's students are more involved than ever in after-school activities, and that, again , results in little time to actually put effort into the science fair project.  The projects end up becoming "parent projects" just to get them completely quickly.

In an attempt to address this problem, the projects were primarily completed in the classroom last year. 

Common Core is requiring much more time from the students and teachers both at home and at school.

The scientific method is much more effective and time efficient when embedded into cross-curriculular lessons to enhance student learning.  Through integration of Common Core standards, students are required to write, research and present more than ever before.  The information students gain by completing the science fair projects is not beneficial in comparison to the amount of classroom time required.

Change Is The Trend

Several School systems in the region have chosen different means of scientific education.  School systems such as Alcoa, Bristol, Johnson City , and Kingsport have all developed different means on scientific integration without the science fair.

Science is alive and well in the Greeneville City Schools, whose goal is to more forward in an ever-changing educational world so that students are well prepared for the future.

Transitioning to the Science Alliance provides opportunities for collaboration between educators and community professionals to "cultivate the mind and impact the heart" of all Greeneville City students.

The Science Alliance event was sponsored by the GCS Education Foundation.  For more information about the GCS Education Foundation, please contact Allison Adams (423) 823-0001.



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