MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Trinity Christian School held its annual science and social studies fair on Thursday, which has been going on for almost five years.
In the science fair, students presented on topics in the fields of mathematics, chemistry and physics. For social studies, students focused on subjects like the Navy SEALs and West Virginia’s role in the Civil War.
Students chose their own topics and some even began doing research as early as September.
Dr. Lois Campbell, the science department chair, said the fair aims to get students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM.
Campbell said students are introduced to creating a STEM project in fifth grade and that is where many of them get hooked and don’t turn back.
“I have a number of students who do science fair every year because they absolutely love it,” Campbell said. “They love doing the research, they love being engaged and conducting research. I have a few students who will probably publish their research and they’re only in eighth grade. So I think they’re engaged and I think they’re engaged in their work.”
At Trinity, they talk a lot about STEM, they have a STEM class in middle school and one in high school that actually partners with NASA Campbell said.
She said the goal is to encourage students to realize that there’s more to STEM than just the science aspect and that there are a lot of career options in the field.
Campbell said students are given time in school to work on their projects and that she works alongside them as a co-researcher helping them understand concepts, but leaving the actual work to them.
“If they don’t understand something, if they’re having trouble understanding a research paper since it’s kind of high-level work they can ask me and we can talk through it,” she said. “And if I can’t answer I try to find a researcher at the university level or in the field who can talk to them via email or in person so that they can understand their content.”
Campbell said she was glad that the kids are very excited about their project and that they’re engaged. She added that if you talked to the judges they would tell you that the kids do have a conceptual understanding of what they have created because they put in the time and effort.
She said the judges award champions and have the ability to award special projects that don’t win but that were perceived as being worthy of a ribbon. The champions are given ribbons and have the chance to move to the regional fair, after which they can be selected to go to the state fair.
As for the social studies fair, she said students have a chance to go to the national fair if they win the school’s fair.