More than 630 sixth- through eighth-grade students in the Socorro Independent School District participated in the 2019 Middle School Science and Engineering Fair at Pebble Hills High School, held last month.
This year’s theme was Apollo 11, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon mission.
“The moon launch theme was our motivation to get the kids thinking about accomplishments they can achieve in a few years,” said Frank McDonald, SISD instructional officer for secondary science and one of the science fair coordinators.
With more than 21 overall categories including, physical science, life science, environmental science, engineering, and math, the science fair is preparing the students for education and career pathways in various scientific fields.
“With the different events, like the science fair, and activities provided by the district, they are getting me ready for college, which is my next big step in life,” said Diego Maldonado, a seventh grader from William D. Slider Middle School.
The middle school science fair drew 160 more entries this year over the previous year, inspiring young scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technologists to participate in the research and experiments.
“Science is important because it helps you to know more about your environment and how to help take care of the planet,” said seventh-grade student Isabella Hebler from John O. Ensor Middle School. “There is so much I want to learn.”
To qualify for the district event, students were required to present their projects in class and at their campus fairs. First-place winners in each category at the campus level then advanced to the district science fair.
Science fair judges were SISD high school students, University of Texas at El Paso students, EPCC professors and students, and DSC staff.
First, second and third place winners were awarded in each category and grade level, with first-place winners moving on to the Sun Country Regional Science and Engineering Fair in March, which will be hosted again at Pebble Hills High School. In addition, nine sweepstakes winners were named for three categories in each grade level.
Last year, 75 SISD students advanced from the regional fair to state, McDonald said. This year’s goal is to take more students to the state competition at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
“These kids have put in a lot of time and effort into this,” McDonald said. “They are leading with their best foot forward.”