Saint Mary School 7th graders cleaned up at the Illinois Junior Academy of Science Regional fair held at the Museum of Science and Industry on March 9, 2014. There were approximately 50 schools participating in the regional fair. Winners, referred to as “bids” go onto the state fair in project and paper categories. Saint Mary walked away with the most state bids than ever before.
According to IJAS (Illinois Junior Academy of Science) website “Students must design an experiment to investigate a question or problem, or design or develop a new model, or computer program, or solve a mathematical proof, and so forth. The project should express scientific ideas in new or better ways. Students with the highest scores qualify for State Competition.”
Saint Mary 7th graders under the direction of science teacher Mrs. Linda Payne have been working toward the science fair since the beginning of school in August. Payne told us “the science project is an ongoing project that was integrated into our topics in the first trimester. We discussed the scientific method and the aspects of a proper controlled experiment.” Luke Wenzel, Sean Seidl, George Yacu and Melanie Zimmerman all received an Achievement Award for finishing in the top 50 in the region and they all received a bid to state for their projects. Hailey Keenan and Ally Schwabe finished in the top 90 in the fair and will go onto the state competition. Additionally Saint Mary brought home the Science Exposition Championship trophy for the Top School in the paper session.
Saint Mary is a participating member of the IJAS. Each year some Saint Mary students go onto to the state competition but this is the first year to have so many Saint Mary students move onto the state level. In August 2013 Saint Mary opened a brand new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab and curriculum which is in addition to the science classes. The opening of the lab and incorporating STEM curriculum is an ongoing process to teach 20th century learning skills to all students.