Pam Walker, science school improvement specialist who helped organize the fair, said of the 81 exhibits on display this year, 26 were developed by high school students, more than doubling last year’s total high school participation.
Last year’s event only included 10 high school students countywide. A majority of participants were middle school students, she said.
“I was so pleased to see our high school students taking a more active role in this event,” Walker said.
In actuality, this year’s science fair, held at the school system’s central office, contained two different types of exhibits – those for a science fair and the remainder for a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fair.
A trio of judges evaluated projects in each competition.
Walker said the science fair exhibits were judged in four categories — research, scientific thought, thoroughness and skill — plus student interviews conducted by the judges.
In the STEM competition, the exhibits were judged in the same categories with one exception.
“Instead of research being one of the judging categories, the STEM exhibits were judged in creative ability and engineering,” Walker said.
Exhibits entered in both events were judged on a 100-point scale, Walker said.
She said students, with help from their teachers, developed most of the ideas for the exhibits. The group of accepted scientific project topics for the fair was given to the students in August, she said.
“With our school system’s emphasis now on science and math, we are moving this event in the direction of STEM exhibits,” Walker said.