This year I had the pleasure of judging the middle school Physics and Astronomy entries for Austin Energy’s Regional Science Festival, sponsored by Compass Learning. As a former middle school science teacher, I must admit I showed up to the festival with some pretty high standards and expectations. To my delight, the student participants brought their A-game! They offered a variety of interesting projects and came prepared to speak at length about their processes, goals, results, and the useful applications of their experiments in daily life.
My favorite part of judging was listening to the students as they thoughtfully analyzed their own work and made suggestions for adjustments to improve the accuracy and precision of their experiment. While most students worked independently, I chatted with a few groups that collaborated brilliantly on both the design and execution of their projects as well as the judge’s presentation.
This year’s student participants did a wonderful job and impressed our team of judges, who came together from various professional fields across the sciences. I’d like to congratulate those who qualified for the state-level competition and encourage all our young scientists to return next year and wow us again. I’m looking forward to it!