Students Shine at DoDEA Okinawa District Science Fair
OKINAWA, Japan — Skyler Culver participated in his first-ever science fair this week, unsure of what to expect. “I just stay calm and try not to get nervous,” said the 3rd grade student from Bechtel Elementary School.
His composure impressed the judges at the DoDEA Okinawa District Science Fair March 25 and 26, and so did his project, titled ‘Reduce Pain, Play Video Games!’
“It could be a type of medicine,” said Skyler. “The doctor could say, ‘Go home and play video games and you might feel better.’” He supported his theory using the scientific method, and his project earned him 2nd place in his grade.
Skyler’s project was one of 1,200 completed by students in DoDEA Okinawa schools, and one of only 200 chosen to compete at the district level.
Each project was scored by grade level according to English language arts, social studies, math and science standards. Judges examined students’ ability to demonstrate higher-level thinking skills by applying concepts learned throughout the school year.
“I was really, really happy,” said Harman Pelia, a 3rd grade student from Amelia Earhart Intermediate School. He said his project was challenging to complete, but he was especially proud to show the finished product to his father, who is currently deployed.
“I showed my dad on Skype and he really liked it,” said Harman.
In addition to presenting their experiments to the judges, students took part in a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-related activities.
“The Science Fair is held on a school day, and instructional time is valuable,” explained organizer Marla Kimmel. “Having workshops for the students allows them to have a full-day educational experience.”
Superintendent Michael Thompson congratulated the students on their hard work. “As you walk away remember the questions you asked and keep that curiosity,” he said. “That’s how mankind progresses.”
Nearly 200 volunteers helped judge the projects and also assisted in the setup and breakdown of the displays.
“We are so fortunate to have the community volunteers and command support,” said Kimmel.
“Without these resources, we would not be able to have such a successful event.”