A Science Fair education

For the past two years, faculty from WLC have partnered with science teachers at John Burroughs Middle School, Milwaukee, in an effort to increase the amount of "hands-on" science instruction taking place at the school. In the spring of 2005, Lisa Festerling, education '06, and Joel Barthel, education and chemistry '06, were able to assist John Burroughs with the judging of its all school science fair.

Science FairStudents in every grade level did a project. They had to conduct an experiment using the scientific method and then present the project on tri-fold boards. Barthel and Festerling judged nearly 30 presentations. "One of the biggest challenges was coming up with some way to assess these projects and develop the criteria," says Barthel.

"The experience of the John Burroughs project made me realize how important it is to teach the scientific method to my students," Barthel says. "The top three winners of the fair actually proved that their hypothesis was wrong. The best problems were from kids who didn't really know the solution and had to use the scientific method to figure it out."

Festerling and Barthel were also able to get to know more students and teachers through the experience. "It was cool to see the personal side of the student through their projects," says Festerling.

This is just one of the many opportunities for education majors to test out their skills in the field. "You can figure out what works in the classroom, and you have experience to back it up," says Festerling.