Sample Entries: Sample 9

Judging

Photo of team making robots Sample 9

Science Squad

Coach: Jamie Scott
Community: Houston, Texas
Status Achieved: Second-Place Winner and Columbus Foundation Community Grant Winner

Section 1: The Issue

Standardized test results reveal that fifth graders at the local elementary schools are not scoring well in science. This lack of knowledge of and interest in scientific principles could lead to later problems in school and could even affect the students' future careers.

Section 2: Research

Using the test results, the team identified the elementary school with the poorest scores and decided to focus their attention on that school. The team concluded from the scores that the students were having trouble in four key subject areas — physical science, life science, earth science and chemistry. The team then scoured books and the Internet for fun and easy experiments related to these subjects that could be used in class to teach scientific principles and spark students' interest in the topics. From these experiments, the team developed lesson plans in each subject area designed to improve students' overall knowledge of science.

Section 3: Testing

The team coordinated with the school's assistant principal to visit the school on four different occasions. The team was split into two groups of two team members each to accommodate the school's two fifth-grade classes. Each group presented four hour-long lessons. At the end of the four sessions, the team evaluated their progress by having the students write a paragraph about how the lessons affected their level of interest in science. The team also held a poster contest to determine whether the students understood the concepts that were taught. The students' writings and drawings indicated that the lessons had a positive influence on their understanding of and interest in science.

Section 4: The Solution

Student-taught science lessons that incorporate fun, hands-on experiments can elevate students' interest in science, increasing the chance that they will understand and pursue further study in the scientific fields. Making this free service available throughout the school district and eventually establishing a peer-tutoring organization within the district were the team's ultimate objectives.

Visual Presentation:

Photographic series.

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