After months of preparation, students from all grade levels throughout the Lawrence school district will put their scientific skills on display this weekend at the district's annual Science and Engineering Fair.
"It's really been kind of exciting because the science field is just an exciting area for kids," said Anita Carlson, science and world languages curriculum specialist for the district who has been organizing this year's event, which will be at Southwest Middle School, 2511 Inverness Drive.
"They're using all their inquiry-based skills, their project-based research, their reading and writing. They're making hypotheses, they're basing their results on what their evidence was, regardless of whether their project comes out the way they thought it might come out. And if it didn't, they're still going through all the scientific method and honing those skills," Carlson said. "It's kind of cool, actually."
Projects will be judged in four age groups: grades K-2, grades 3-5, middle school and high school. The categories include physical science and life science. In addition, middle and high school students may enter projects in the engineering category.
Calrlson said about 220 projects have been entered this year from about 330 students, some entering as individuals and others as teams.
In addition, she said, there will be public exhibits from the Kansas University Chemistry Club, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, the Jayhawk Audubon Society and other community participants.
"We get quite a bit of KU involvement and community involvement, even in the judges' pool," Carlson said. "There are all kinds of people involved in this."
Awards will be given to the top three projects in each category for each age level. All entrants will receive a certificate of participation. Judges may also give out a special award of excellence in any particular area at their discretion.
Students will begin setting up their projects Friday afternoon, with initial judging taking place that evening.
The public is invited for the open fair and expo from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The awards ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m.