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Putting it all together: Harmony School of Innovation to host science fair, blood drive on Dec. 15
Photo courtesy of Harmony School of Innovation -- The hallways of Harmony School of Innovation are transformed into a parade of student exhibits at the school's annual science fair, which will be held on Dec. 15.
The culmination of months of research for Harmony School of Innovation students will take place at the schools annual science fair, held this year on Dec. 15.
The fair will feature 300 student-produced exhibits, displayed across almost the entire campus. Harmony Assistant Principal of Operations and Finance Sara Strain said the visual effect is dramatic.
"Our whole hallway and whole cafeteria are transformed into almost like a museum where judges will walk exhibit by exhibit," Strain said.
Strain said each exhibit will be judged, with winners receiving awards and moving on to higher levels of competition.
"These judges are members of our community, and they interview students to complete a scorecard, and we present prizes at the end," Strain said. "The top winners can then go on to regional, state and national science fairs."
Strain said Harmony students have performed very well in past fairs.
"We've had several students reach the regional, state and national level with their productions," Strain said.
The science fair is the biggest event of the year for Harmony, and student participation is a significant part of the middle school curriculum.
"Every middle school student is required to produce a science fair project," Strain said. "Students are free to choose their topic that they want to do. It's all up to them. There are deadlines, and each part is an assignment, just like school, but it is to help them explore on their own a little bit to where they're not feeling as pushed."
Strain said the projects she has seen students create this year and in previous years have been as varied as they have been astounding.
"I had a student produce a full-scale wind tunnel," Strain said. "We have students in our bio-med program that have software and equipment to do EKG and blood pressure readings. We've had students do simple projects like testing sugar content in lemonade and how that affects your brain, or testing the absorbency of a diaper and what makes a diaper more or less absorbent. We have a student doing the light spectrum using dry ice, so she's going to create different-colored fogs."
Though the students will be displaying their projects on Dec. 15, Strain said the process of creating the projects began months ago, and is a collaborative effort, with all the teachers in the school playing a role.
"From an academic standpoint, it is cross-curricular," Strain said. "Their English teacher looks at their research paper, their math teacher looks at their research data and their graphs, and then of course their science teacher spearheads the project."
Harmony Principal Addie Murati said the fair also gives students a chance to work on their public speaking skills.
"They have to present their project in front of a group of judges, and that can be difficult if you're doing it for the first time," Murati said. "Students can be nervous. So we want them to get those skills as well, so they're ready for the work force or college applications, interviews and all that."
Harmony School of Innovation is a certified Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or T-STEM, institution, one of 65 in the state of Texas. Dean of Academics for grades 6 through 11 Scott Coleman said the cross-curricular nature of the science fair is a core aspect of what Harmony and T-STEM is all about.
"The whole T-STEM concept is a little hard to understand when you're experiencing it for the first time," Coleman said. "People say 'Well, is it a certain class that they take, or is it kind of a pre-major in high school?' It's a lot bigger than that. It's basically integrating technology into everything. So even our English classes and our social studies classes are encouraged to use technology."
In addition to the science fair projects, students, teachers, judges and visitors will all be given the opportunity to help the Carrollton community by donating blood.
"We've had some of our bio-med students do internships at Baylor Hospital, so through our partnership with them, we thought it would be a good way to give back," Strain said. "Because it's such a big public event, we literally have 300 science fair projects, times three for their parents, about 60 judges and about 100 volunteers here throughout the day. So that's a lot of people who could really help the community by donating blood."
The Harmony School of Innovation's Science Fair will be held on Saturday, Dec 15 from 9 a.m. -- 2 p.m. To learn more about the Fair and the Harmony Public Schools system, visit www.harmonytx.org