Several Merced City School District students received help with their science fair projects during the district’s first “Ask a Scientist or Engineer” night earlier this week.
The event was held Tuesday at the district’s new STEAM Center, which was designed to provide hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Many of the local experts work or study at UC Merced with diverse backgrounds ranging from soil ecology and psychology to applied mathematics and genomics. The children then had a chance to question the experts about developing a hypothesis, collecting data and presenting conclusions, district officials said in a news release.
Dr. Elaine Keeley is the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and staff development.
“It was exciting to see our students connecting with experts from right here in our community,” Keeley said. “These interactions provide our children with role models in STEAM fields as well as inspiration for their science fair projects.”
The students will have a chance to showcase their work at school science fairs, which lead up to the district fair Jan. 19. The top 20 projects will move on to the Merced County Office of Education STEM Fair on March 8. The winners of that event will have a chance to compete at the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles on April 23 and 24.
Last year, MCSD students swept the top three spots at the county fair and proudly represented Merced at the state contest.
Two more “Ask a Scientist or Engineer” nights will be held this year on Nov. 7 and Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. at the STEAM Center, which is located at 2900 Green St.
Experts who are interested in participating or serving as judges for the MCSD science fair can contact Public Information Officer Sara Sandrik at: firstname.lastname@example.org.