What interesting day yesterday was! As anticipated, I genuinely felt tired enough to postpone writing the entry until late in the evening, but the enthusiasm for the event had not decreased by any degree.
First and foremost, I have to applaud the myriad of kids that came attended the science fair, over two hundred exhibits were showcased; I know firsthand how harrowing this experience can be, especially when you are in the junior grades. There were also a large amount of judges, many of which, as I later overheard, were incentivized into their positions with promises of bonus credits in their respective courses at the University and St. Clair College.
My group, consisting of three others and myself, were tasked with judging four projects, at the grade 4 level, for scientific content, ingenuity and presentation. Our marks consisted of a percentage score that may correspond to a medal if above 75%, with no limitations on any particular awarding of medals.
The interesting part came when I realized all the projects my group was tasked to judge were written, and later explained by the students, in French. I am only partially fluent in French, the reading and listening part—I had not advertised this rather poorly honed skill at any time during the application process. When I went to rectify the situation, the administrators asked if I would kindly consider continuing with the assigned groups, most likely because I was able to quickly translate the written titles of the projects on my documentation. I quickly understood that this whole situation was not a problem for my group members, as they were all bilingual; funny.
In hind sight, I am glad that this happened. I definitely got to work on my French today, clearly understanding all of the four assigned projects, listening intently to the wonderful presentations by the kids and understanding their answers to my inquiries, which I bashfully asked in English, upon their consent.
Out of the four projects, one stood out as my groups clear favourite; done by two girls, whose names I unfortunately do not remember at this point. The projects looked at the cleanliness of apples directly from the store, as well as the efficacy of different detergents and methods to rid the fruits of bacteria. The bacterial presence was qualitatively observed through petri dish growth upon swabbing of market fresh apples, as well as those that have been cleaned through rubbing on one's shirt, a solution of vinegar and water, and a fruit and vegetable detergent (something I had no clue existed). The scientific method was captured in its entirety, with multiple trials, controls and other aspects that were above what I expected from this grade level. The girls also knew their project very thoroughly, which for me, dismissed parental involvement to a large degree. The best part of their presentation, apart from their matching green polka-dot dresses to match the green apples they tested, was their self critical stance on their project—they distinctly knew their weaknesses and knew exactly what to do in order to correct them. I hope to publish their names and the project picture as soon as it becomes available on the Windsor Regional Science, Technology and Engineering Fair website.
Very interesting experience. I cannot wait until my little sister is of age to participate in one of these events, I am looking forward to guiding her in this experience as she needs it.