The TecH2O Learning Center is switching things up for El Paso Water’s Science Fair Blast Off on Saturday, September 14.
This year, students from the Socorro and Ysleta school districts will take the spots behind the educational booths, presenting their own science projects at the free, public event.
“We want to promote the brightest and youngest minds by letting them present their own work, so others can see that science fairs can be fun and engaging,” said April Lopez, Water Conservation Specialist.
As one of the TecH2O center’s signature events, the popular Science Fair Blast Off offers students a one-stop-shop for ideas on science fair projects and an opportunity to learn about El Paso’s regional water resources and conservation.
Anai Padilla, Water Conservation/TechH2O Manager, and her staff highly encourage students to attempt science projects focusing on El Paso’s water resources and conservation. To their delight, they are seeing students tackle more water-themed science projects, such as a recent science project focusing on preventing trash and debris from entering stormwater drains.
“We want kids to understand that a science fair project is not a couple of weeks’ worth of work; a true science fair project is evolving,” Padilla said. “I would like to see a child attempt a water filtration science experiment one year and then build on it the next few years. As they progress through school, maybe leading to a desalination science project.”
One component missing this year will be EPWater employees who previously volunteered to staff the educational booths and present science projects.
The new approach, with students behind the booths, makes the subject matter much more relatable to students, organizers said.
“Because the majority of schools in El Paso County make science projects mandatory, it can be a stressful and frustrating process for students and parents,” Lopez said. “Not only will families get ideas on science projects, but little ones can also observe how other students present their research.”
The first 300 young guests to arrive at the Science Fair Blast Off will receive a free TecH₂O journal and pen. Guests can snack on popcorn and enjoy the unique sounds of the theremin musical instrument while browsing the educational booths. Lora Holt, K-12 curriculum coach and facilitator for Anthony Independent School District, will explain the scientific method at noon.
While students and their families are at the event, Lopez wants guests to take a harder look at the TecH₂O center and the many learning opportunities offered.
“I hope the future of our water resources and conservation efforts will engage those just starting to learn and appreciate science,” Lopez said. “This event allows El Paso Water to be part of the conversation.”