February 24, 2016 – Airmen from Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado joined engineers, parents, cadets and other community members to judge the Colorado Springs Charter Academy science fair on Friday, February 19.
Students were tasked with formulating hypotheses and building experiments to prove or disprove their assumptions.
“The really important thing is, we are trying to foster a sense of scientific inquiry with the kids,” said Jill Weber, CS Charter Academy science fair coordinator. “We want them to be able to ask questions and be able to think about if the data makes sense. In this case the students are building experiments and using the data from that experiment to justify their hypothesis.”
The fifth to eighth grade students prepared for the science fair for almost four months and presented topics including aeronautical dihedral, the speed at which food rots, evaporation, paper towel absorbency, battery life and more.
“When I was a kid I used to think of science fair projects as building volcanos with baking soda and vinegar, but they are doing all these other creative things, and they’re just so smart,” said Capt. Jeffrey Pelkey, 2nd Space Operations Squadron volunteer.
Devin Andrews, a sixth grade student, believes his experiment on the dihedral of an aircraft’s wings can help improve aeronautics.
“I think this could help in the future because in real life, airplanes use gas, but in the future they are trying to come up with solar powered airplanes so they can fly without polluting the Earth for wherever they go,” said Andrews. “Dihedral could help airplanes to lift off the [runway] and start gaining altitude.”
Like Andrews, all participating students were required to discuss their projects in-depth.
“It’s really frightening for them, so they are really having to pull out their courage and be brave and talk to a stranger to discuss their science fair projects,” said Weber. “Some of the students are super excited and some are super nervous, but this is a great experience for them.”
The event also gave community members the opportunity to support and encourage the students to continue learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“I’m a cyber guy, and STEM is a big part of that, so I’m a big geek when it comes to science,” said Pelkey. “I think we need to keep pushing our kids toward STEM, because a lot of times, the kids we look at as being successful are the athletes, but this is the future of the United States right here. These are the kids who have the scientific background and knowledge, and this is what they are going to bring to the future to help us advance human society.”
CS Charter Academy plans to make the science fair an annual event.
“I’ve been blessed with having enough judges,” said Weber. “It’s just been this huge, amazing community event and it has been really wonderful to see all the support for the kids and our school. Thank you so much for being here.”