VAN WERT - The fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes at St. Mary of the Assumption took on project-based learning and the result was a science fair (the first held at the school in recent years), Tuesday, April 9 in the school gymnasium. Groups of students representing each grade were assigned to teams of three and four by science instructor Dustin Hesseling. Sixth-grade students were assigned to take the lead role for each project. The students were then asked to determine a topic for their respective projects and utilizing the library, internet and other available resources in problem-solving, creativity, decision making, design, and research through a hands-on approach.
Three judges based their scoring of each project/presentation based upon; materials, scientific method, oral presentation, and poster. The maximum points a project could achieve was 200. Eight projects were presented with Ryan Pratt, Natalie Fetzer, and Erin Cassidy taking first place with their project on oil and water and why they do not mix. "Hydrogen Balloon", developed and presented by Nathan Bidlack, Alexis Miller, Erin Terhark, and Erika Younts was awarded second place overall.
Comments from the students included: Sam Cassidy - "It was a life-changing experience working with the different aged students," Jill Gemmer - "I like the hands-on activities of Project-Based Learning," and finally the consensus of the sixth grade classmates - "We are pleased to lead our teams."