Chicago City Day School's annual Science Fair looked and felt different this year, like many school activities have.
But at the end of the event, it was clear that Science Fair's focus on experimentation and discovery was as strong as ever.
Students in senior kindergarten through sixth grade presented projects that explored scientific questions through experiments. The students selected their own topics and developed the experiments themselves. One student built an “artbot” — a small robot that can create art — and tested its stability on different surfaces. Another looked at how light can behave like a wave and a particle. Still another studied how different types of food affect the behavior of ants.
Seventh-graders, meanwhile, participated in the traditional Egg Drop, where they designed and built protective devices meant to keep eggs from breaking when dropped from a high distance. The project introduces students to the basic principles of engineering and physics, encouraging them to explore concepts like force and momentum. Results of this year’s drops were, well, varied.
COVID-related safety protocols changed how students approached their projects and presented new challenges this year. Work started during City Day's precautionary period of remote learning after winter break, and safety issues affected the kinds of experiments students could do. As ever, the students found innovative ways to further their understanding of the scientific method.
"I tried to keep Science Fair as 'normal' as possible this year," said Mr. "Mac" McFeely, who teaches science to grades 5 and up at City Day. "My students expertly navigated this year's unusual process and delivered quality projects. I'm very proud of the work they did."
Another change this year was that students presented their projects via live video stream. Everyone missed the in-person event featuring parents and classmates that has been a highlight of previous fairs, but this year’s live stream did allow grandparents and other family and friends to watch from all over the country and world.
Science Fair encourages students to direct their own learning, and it underscores the value of repetition and close observation in scientific inquiry. The noncompetitive event also builds students' public-speaking skills, a key emphasis of City Day's curriculum.
See photos from Science Fair below.