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The district has brought some innovation to this year's Science & Innovation Fair, hosting the event virtually for the first time in its 54-year history.
While last year's fair narrowly missed the start of the pandemic, this year's is going entirely online, following months of planning, to provide students alternative ways to share their science projects.
"It's the longest-running science fair in B.C. and we didn't want to cancel it and break the streak," said science helping teacher Craig Sutton. "We wanted to continue to give the students a way to showcase their ideas and skills they've learned in our science classes."
Grade 4-8 students across Surrey and White Rock will have the option of submitting their science projects as video recordings or participating in live judging over Microsoft Teams. (Schools can sign up for a Surrey Blended team to set up the technology for live judging at their schools).
"The school doesn't have to worry about the tech at all," said Sutton. "The team knows what they're doing, everybody's distanced and wearing masks, and you just roll the cart to each individual project and let the kids interact with the judges."
While judging in previous fairs was done in one night, the judges will take more time to review the projects before delivering medals to the schools. Students have until March 4 to submit videos, and live judging will take place from March 1-12.
Sutton also said this year's fair also doesn't have a theme, noting they hope to emphasize the scientific principles students have learned in class and how they can be applied in the real-world. In previous years, some projects have used technology to examine such issues as clean water, food shortages, climate change and non-recyclable waste.
"We want the students to demonstrate their scientific practices and skills rather than Googling a bunch of information and slapping it on a poster board," he said. "We're asking them to take that next step of innovation, encouraging students to apply their knowledge to solve a problem.
"Kids are very creative – who knows what they're going to come up with?"
Staff are currently determining how the presentations will be shared publicly. For updates and more information, visit surreyschools.ca/science