Science Fair Information

In the summer of 2006, Heritage High School teachers and administrators reviewed the results on the state’s science test assessment and were concerned because both high school and elementary students lacked a solid understanding of the scientific process. Imbedded in this concern was a hopeful solution- cross-age teaching. Having high school students teach the terms and the steps of scientific investigation as they helped elementary students design a scientific investigation would benefit both students. The program would also build cross-age relationships and mentoring between older and younger students.

For the past two years teachers have been building and refining the vertical team science fair, which has had a measurable impact on elementary students’ mastery of science and helped high school students become better learners.

Sophomore science students are matched with fifth grade elementary students in each of two feeder elementary schools. Through a series of visits they help their buddies plan, complete and display a science experiment that clearly demonstrates the scientific process and mastery of Washington’s science standards (Essential Academic Learning Requirements). Both sophomores and fifth graders take the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) science tests during the spring following this project and these tests emphasize the terms and steps of the scientific investigation.

The school board and district science coordinator have seen such benefits from the vertical teaming science fair (including an 18-20 percent jump in fifth grade science WASL scores and a 10 percent increase in attendance of the participating high school students) that they plan to implement the program district wide, picking up all costs of the program.

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