Despite President Obama's recent declaration of a "Sputnik Moment" for the nation, K-12 level science fairs across the U.S. are facing hard times.
Lack of funding and resources has left many fairs on their last legs. And yet as we go on celebrating the accomplishments of football teams and athletes in middle schools and high schools, the academics are seemingly being neglected.
A recent article in The New York Times reports on the state of science fairs, from the more well known Siemens Competition and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, to more local ones such as the Greater St. Louis Science Fair. Just as athletes are trained while young, and nurtured throughout their middle school and high school years, those who have a curiosity about how the world around them works should also have those same resources. The importance of partcipating in a science fair comes in the process of forming ideas, testing your hypotheses, and being able to clearly articulate your results. Adding to the excitement are the trophies and public recognition, which often encourages students to further their scientific inquiries. However, without the support of foundations, corporations, parents, and universities, many students may be denied these opportunities.
For more information about science fairs in your area, see https://student.societyforscience.org/affiliated-fair-network
For more information about the Siemens Competition for high school students, see http://www.siemens-foundation.org/en/competition.htm