BOWIE — According to Bowie High agriculture, FFA, science and yearbook teacher Kelly Zamudio, for the past two years the Bowie High School biology and environmental science classes have participated in an annual science fair at Bowie Unified School District.
“This year looks a bit different due to COVID guidelines, but the students still prevailed with their science fair projects,” Zamudio said. “Students used what was learned through their curriculum and common core standards to develop, test and complete a project of their choice. The importance of science fair projects goes beyond the project itself and helps students who learn with the VARK Model. Visual, auditory, reading (writing) and kinesthetic learning styles are incorporated in multi-structured lessons. The tools in a student’s tool box allows them to fully understand, use and embrace the full learning experience.
“Students learn organizational skills, internet research skills, responsibility, time management and using prior knowledge skills. Students followed guidelines learned from class, used their imaginations and completed a project with all the tools available to be successful. The goal is to make it to the annual Youth Engineering and Science (YES) fair, which will be all online this year.”
Traditionally, Zamudio has had people come in and judge the contestants. She then takes the top candidates to the YES fair.
Zamudio teaches using the VARK method because “all students learn different” and every one of her lessons “have always been hands-on.”
“I typically grade them more on their hands-on projects then I do on their worksheets and things like that, because I can grade a worksheet and then I can ask them to do that same thing hands-on, and they could do poorly on the worksheet, but great on the hands-on project,” Zamudio said.
Due to the change to an online-based setup and complications that ensued, Bowie High didn’t select the best of from their group of participants.
“I have some kids that are on-campus and some kids that are off-campus, so it just made it really tough this year,” Zamudio said. “Hopefully, next year it will be off-line again so that we can actually attend it.”
This year’s science fair became an assignment.
“It was an assignment for my biology class and it’s an assignment for my environmental science,” Zamudio said. “Everybody in those classes is required to do it. They’re not all required to do one to go into the YES fair, but they get judged anyways. We just started the science fair projects last year when I started teaching science here.
“I’m just an agriculture teacher who picked up the sciences classes so that the students didn’t have to do them online anymore. I felt that they needed to do it off-line. You learn more that way.”
Some of the projects this year were related to an agricultural issue.
“They found the science behind it,” Zamudio said. “There was actually two like that this year, which was pretty cool. I can take them on to the agriscience fair that we host at our state FFA convention if they want to take it on that far.”