Weird Science Fair Teaches Smith Families

Filed under: Schools |

It made learning fun and awoke part of my brain that I haven’t had to use in a while.” That’s how Holly Irvin, a Smith Elementary parent, described the school’s recent “Weird Science” Fair. Not just an event to showcase the science experiments of third and fourth graders, it was a family affair filled with live demonstrations including a pig dissection, games, and a visit from Beaker from the Muppets.

“Weird Science” was the theme of this year’s science fair at Smith. Last year’s contest was called “Einstein University,” and all of the demonstrations focused on the work of Albert Einstein. “It came to me after brainstorming with two of my co-workers,” said teacher and event coordinator Lisa Treibly. “I’ve often been called weird or different, so Weird Science resonated with me.” According to Treibly, the purpose of the fair was to get students to use science inquiry skills, understanding that it can be a good thing to be different and think outside of the box. “Our demonstrations and activities focused on results that would make both children and parents say, ‘Now that’s weird. How do you think that happened?’”

Extending invitations to students in grades K-4 along with their families, Smith Elementary believes that parents play an important role in student success. “They envision parents as partners in the learning process and identify ways that those partnerships can be activated,” commented Irvin. “We had one student whose project was placing a bar of soap in a microwave and watching it expand,” added Treibly. “We recreated the activity during Weird Science, and the kids were in awe, which is what we were hoping to accomplish. We wanted to leave students and their families discussing Weird Science, even on the way home.”