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All the fun of the fair

The Solihull Partnership enjoyed the return of their science fair as pupils explored and explained their investigations into 'growth'.

Published: 21 March 2022

Last week, the Solihull Partnership celebrated science at their partnership science fair, organised by co-ordinator Emily Fryer. The Solihull Partnership has completed its five-year Ogden-funded period, but the schools continue to work together, engaging students and their families in the wonder of science.

The six local schools had held their own science fairs and the winners from KS1 and KS2 came together to showcase their investigations, supported by Ogden Trust Regional Representative, Dr Jenny Watson: “The great thing about science fairs is the number of children and families involved in doing science leading up to the event,” says Jenny. “In each of these six schools, children and their families took part working together to investigate a question of their choice.”

“Our previous partnership science fair was the week before the first covid lockdown,” adds Emily. “It was so brilliant to be back again face-to-face, after so long, for another exciting science fair together!”

A student explains his investigation to one of the judges

During the science fair, the children shared their projects, explaining the science behind their investigations and answering questions. Each project was judged on how well the children presented and explained their work and what they had learnt.

The science fair was themed around British Science Week 2022 and the investigations explored ‘growth’. Project included: which surfaces do bacteria grow best on; what are the best conditions for growing yeast; and what solution is best for growing a carrot top in. (If you want to know – the best is plant food solution, then sugar and water, and the worst is vinegar and bicarbonate of soda solutions!).

The KS1 winner from Sharman’s Cross completed a project about growing crystals. The winning student was able to describe some of the rocks in his collection (he liked the purple amethyst best) and had visited a local geology museum with his mum. One of the Lower KS2 winners had used data about their own height collected over the past five years and another (‘rather disgustingly’ as he said) studied the growth of all his family’s fingernails over a week – measuring in fractions of millimetre(!) and plotting this against time, he came to the conclusion that the younger you are the faster your fingernails grow!

A boy holds up his investigation presentation

As part of the science fair, children took part in a circus of activities including making CD hovercraft and seeing how these moved without friction; exploring how you can make an arrow reverse using a glass of water and refraction; designing a wind-powered vehicle made from junk and plastic cotton reels; building sugar cube towers and dissolving them with water; and seeing how the different fat contents of red, green and blue-top milk makes food colouring move when touched by a soapy cotton bud.

“The children loved today and clearly enjoyed sharing their experiments with each other,” said one parent at the event.  “As a parent, I loved seeing them all interact and be so positive to each other.” Another parent agreed – adding that it was a great confidence booster for their child who had special education needs.

And what did the children think was great about the day?

“I liked doing the experiments and also presenting and seeing the different projects.”
KS2 pupil

“Enjoying science activities with new people. Understanding and seeing really cool experiments”
KS2 pupil

“I liked talking about my project.”
KS1 pupil

An inter-school science fair is a great collaborative enrichment project. It provides fantastic outcomes for children as well as an effective way to bring schools together. Running a science fair can increase the profile of science in school and inspire and engage children and their families. The Ogden Trust How to guide offers advice, timelines and ideas for running a science fair.

You can download the guide on the resources page of the website.

A girl stands beside her presentation

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