This year 482 students from 33 schools participated in Fenwick’s 41st Annual Junior High Science Contest on November 8, 2017. The purpose of the competition is threefold:
- to expose Fenwick’s excellent science program to as many potential young scientists as possible around the Chicago area.
- to continue our science education outreach to junior high schools.
- to provide opportunities to improve learning and student interest in science.
Fenwick has developed an exam that models the expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards and includes questions that are modeled after questions found on standardized exams from states around the country. The Science Department also has created a 100-question practice exam for teachers to help their students prepare for the contest and to help develop curricula.
“We provide presentations, demonstrations and mini-workshops for teachers while the students are working,” explains Marcus McKinley, who heads up Fenwick’s Science Department. The past five years have included:
- a presentation by a UIC professor who developed NGSS programs around the city.
- a demonstration of low-cost lab activities (with equipment giveaways) for junior high schools with limited resources.
- a mini-workshop on using a microscope in the junior high classroom (again, with equipment donations)
- a presentation on using robotics in the junior high classroom.
- This year’s discussion focused on skills that will make an incoming freshman most successful in high school science.
“The contest always includes a raffle of science supplies,” Mr. McKinley continues, “and every school walks away with something. “We hope to maintain the high level of participation in this program to continue to recruit students with high potential to succeed in the sciences and to prepare junior high students for a rigorous high school science program.”