At Nanjing International School, our Science Fair is the culmination of our students’ Grade 9 integrated Science experience before they begin to focus on specific scientific disciplines in Grade 10 – it’s a true showcase of knowledge. “The Science Fair gives our students a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of the scientific method and how to conduct a scientific investigation in a multitude of real-world settings,” explained NIS Middle School Science teacher Mr. Richard Winstanley. This year, students explored a plethora of topics that made for an interesting and vibrant exhibition.
The Science Fair personifies the concept of “Student Choice,” an important element of our NIS Strategy. “The whole unit is based around the idea of choice,” Mr. Winstanley said. “The skills of how to write a quality lab report are taught throughout the year, but the Science Fair unit allows students to apply these skills into an aspect of their choosing and more specifically, a real-world aspect that plays a role in their life. Initially as a class, students discuss hobbies and areas of interests and then together discuss how these different areas could be explored by applying the scientific method.”
Sofia explored the concept of aerodynamics, inspired by her love of Formula One car racing. To conduct her investigation, she had to build an apparatus where she could manipulate the angle of the spoiler of the car. This had to be supported by a wire setup with a hairdryer on a scale so she could measure force by a change in mass. Although challenged by the process, Sofia thoroughly enjoyed the nature of her investigation “I am looking forward to pursuing a career in engineering after finishing school,” she said.
Saelyn combined her emerging interest in music and the field of Psychology to explore the influence of music frequency on reaction time. Saelyn believes her research skills developed as she investigated her topic and information related to her hypothesis. “I really enjoyed the the opportunity to work independently,” she said. Saelyn is very much looking forward to applying her self-management skills when she studies Biology in Grade 10.
Keenan, who also has a keen interest in Physics and would like to pursue a career related to aeronautical engineering, enjoyed the independent nature of his project and the fact that students had the choice to explore any topic they wished. Keenan investigated parachute design on impact force. “The sheer amount of research I had to complete was the biggest challenge I faced, but I’m looking forward to studying Physics in Grade 10.”
Our innovative approach to learning has inspired many of our alumni students to pursue undergraduate studies in Science, Engineering, or other STEM fields. With 42% of students in our Class of 2021 intending to study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths at leading universities internationally, we look forward to seeing how their contributions make a positive impact in the world.