Annual Big Walnut Science Fair just around the corner on February 14
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
On Thursday, February 14, the Big Walnut Local School District will hold an event that’s becoming rare in Central Ohio, if not the entire state. That event involves students from fifth grade through high school, encouraging them to think logically and creatively using the scientific method of inquiry, and supports the district’s curriculum goals across all grade levels.
What event is it? It’s the Big Walnut Science Fair.
Big Walnut High School science teacher Matt Wallschlaeger said Big Walnut is one of few school districts in the state that has had a continuous science fair for the past 50-plus years.
“The science fair has an important role in education because students are encouraged to be creative, original and explore science beyond the typical classroom situation,” Wallschlaeger said. “As a teacher, it’s exciting for me to see students at different ages excel in open-ended science investigation; and it’s also enjoyable is seeing how the Big Walnut community supports one of the last local science fairs in Central Ohio.”
Wallschlaeger said this year’s science fair will host approximately 100 projects, mainly from the school district’s middle school and intermediate school buildings.
All students who receive a Superior rating during the Big Walnut Science Fair qualify to advance to Central District Science Day held at Columbus State on March 16; and students who receive a Superior at Central District Science Day will be invited to advance to State Science Day held on May 11 at The Ohio State University.
Wallschlaeger said although involvement in science fairs has decreased dramatically in recent years, students who do participate find that the science fair experience provides opportunities that can improve their educational and occupational futures.
“The important role these science fairs play for students not only includes experiencing hands-on science, but also provides an opportunity for them to receive awards, certificates, plaques, cash, and even college scholarships,” Wallschlaeger said. “Our school district science fair would not be successful without the volunteers who help the evening go smoothly, including the 40 to 50 judges who donate their personal time to evaluate the projects, the Big Walnut School District science staff, and Boy Scouts; and judges often become part of an important career network for serious science students.”
The Big Walnut Science Fair will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, at Big Walnut High School. Students will be able to set up their projects from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Parents and the general public are welcome to attend the science fair, but come early; public viewing is from 6 to 7 p.m., the doors close during judging.
“Bring your Valentine and enjoy the best of what Big Walnut has to offer in science projects done by students in grades five through twelve,” Wallschlaeger said.
For additional information about Central District Science Day go to < cscc.edu/docs/science/ >; for additional information about State Science Day go to < ohiosci.org/ssd.htm >.