AUSL is excited to announce our 4th annual AUSL STEAM Fair! The process of creating stellar STEAM Fair projects begins after the break. (So you can breathe a little easier.)
The STEAM Fair is an opportunity for students from across the AUSL network to plan and carry out investigations or design projects related to the fields of science, technology, engineering, art as design (e.g., architecture), or mathematics.
Why is STEAM Fair Worth the Effort?
Due to the fact that there is a shortage of skilled workers in STEM fields (compared to a surplus in other areas), it is crucial our students develop the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to pursue whatever career path they desire. Moreover, given our current health and environmental woes, we need to do a better job of developing a scientifically literate citizenry that can make responsible decisions about the products they purchase, the food they consume, and the politicians for whom they vote.
The projects students complete for the STEAM fair should not feel like “an extra thing to do.”The STEAM Fair is a natural setting to promote learning of important academic content (i.e., Common Core State Standards [CCSS] and the Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS]) and to support student development of 21st century skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving—skills that are in high demand in today’s workforce!
And as a free early holiday gift, I present to you…
5 Things You Have to Know About STEAM Fair:
1. You first have to know about the basics:
WHEN: The finals will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Schools fairs will take place anytime on or before April 17, 2015.
WHO: 4th-8th graders who place first at their school-level fair will advance to the finals. 9th-12th graders who place first or second at their school-level fair will advance to the finals. K-3 classrooms are also encouraged to carry out investigations. All teachers are asked to send photos of their students’ in action and their work to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature them in a slideshow at the finals.
WHERE: The finals will take place at Collins Academy High School. Prior to this, each AUSL school will hold their own fair in order to determine winners who will advance to the AUSL finals.
2. There are two types of projects your students can present for the STEAM Fair:
- Science Investigations — Students may conduct traditional experimental design projects (with controlled variables) or they may carry out studies involving systematic observations. Here’s a short YouTube video for info about the difference between the two.
- Design Projects — Students may carry out an engineering design project or another form of design that solves a problem or fulfills a need (e.g., architecture, computer program, graphic design, etc.)
3. Winning projects tend to have four characteristics:
- They addressed a novel problem or investigated a novel question (rather than being a project taken from the Science Buddies website)
- They involved extensive background research or preliminary studies that informed the research question or design.
- Students made a strong case for the need for their study/design
- Students showed a deep working knowledge of why they got the results they did and how their project is relevant/important.
4. There are some excellent resources out there to help you assist your students:
Your student could win one of these
5. The prizes are AWESOME. Winning students from each grade level will receive:
- 1st place: Chromebook
- 2nd place: $50 gift certificate
- 3rd place: $20 gift certificate
- Students placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at the AUSL Finals will also receive a medal
- All students who earn a spot in the AUSL Finals will receive a certificate of participation.
Please share your questions, resources, and photos related to STEAM Fair in the comment below!
Best of luck to each of our schools!
The STEAM Fair Team of Alissa Berg, Chris Bruggeman, and Laura Zaniolo