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NAMS holds science fair

Last year’s North- ampton Area Middle School science fair was such a success, the school decided to hold the fair again this year.

The fair, held March 25 in the school cafeteria, included a total of 34 student entries, which included both individual and group projects. A total of 51 students participated in this year’s fair, compared to 27 last year.

NAMS science teacher and fair committee member Scott Oste told The Press the fair is not a curriculum-required event. Rather, the decision to participate in the fair rests entirely with the student.

“As a science department, we have ongoing discussions - together and with our administrative teams - about the value of these types of long-range projects,” Oste said. “Our teachers and administration work very closely at Northampton to decide what lessons, activities and projects bring the most value to our students.”

According to Oste, the students begin working on their projects in January and have roughly three months to complete them. The students are provided a recommendation outline of steps and deadlines on a learning management tool the district utilizes.

Oste said every six days, the school sets up a face-to-face voluntary meeting for the students to work on the projects. The meetings provide students the opportunity to ask three science teachers any questions about the projects.

“Outside of those face-to-face meetings, students also could send direct messages, or submit a question in a group discussion board we set up through our online learning management tool,” Oste said. “From a scheduling standpoint, there were a lot of moving parts in order to support a face-to-face meeting with the students.”

The school, Oste said, plans to host the science fair again in the future.

“We truly believe that you learn science best by doing science and engaging all your senses,” he added. “This event is so much more than creating a project; it’s about experiencing real-world challenges and working through those challenges in the most efficient manner. We feel that this project helps make more of a connection between what students see in the classroom and what they might experience in a scientific job field.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities this event could bring our students, parents, and community members in the future,” Oste said.

Students who participated in this year’s fair received a participation certificate, a complimentary wristband and the opportunity to go on a day field trip to Buzzi Unicem, a cement company in Stockertown.

The overall winners will have the opportunity to go on a trip to Hershey Park in May to attend the annual Science Day.

In addition to Oste, science fair committee members also include science teachers Zach Winter and Chad Friend.

Above: Northampton Area Middle School student Reia Sanchez displays her project at the science fair, held March 25. She researched whether eco-friendly chemical cleaning alternatives are safe.