By Sally Absher
Elementary school students from seven schools in the Knoxville area participated in the 15th Annual Tate’s Regional Science Fair on Monday, April 20. Judges from Science, Technology, and Engineering professions judged 82 entries from 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. Students submitted their projects in earth, life or physical science categories. They also completed an in-depth interview with a panel of judges.
Tate’s School was the first elementary school in the state of Tennessee to become a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) campus, and has long believed in fostering science in the community.
Former Tate’s teacher Rebecca Preston founded the science fair in 2001 and served as the event director for 6 years. She has since returned to her engineering roots and works as an electrical engineer at Mesa Associates. “Our goal is always to encourage participation in the sciences and provide a rewarding experience where children can share their discoveries. By using the scientific method, students are able to explore a topic that is of interest to them and the community as a whole,” said Preston, 2015 judge and master of ceremonies.
Entries ranged from determining the strength of various polymers to the velocity of a two axle robot. “It is so wonderful to see young talent in our community developing a love of science and analytical thinking” said Jana Strader, event co-director and 2nd Grade Science/Math Teacher at Tate’s School.
There were three winners for each grade and category and 36 students were recognized. Grand Prize winners were: 1st Place Elijah Kindig from River’s Edge Christian Academy, 2nd Place Alana Weidman from The Kings Academy, and 3rd Place Alisa Apostoaei from Tate’s School.
“Tate’s Science Fair provides a unique environment for our kids to experiment with their ideas. It serves a very important function in our community by stimulating young minds to think about science and its impact on our lives. As judges, we like to encourage them to pursue their thoughts and continue developing their ideas even beyond the Science Fair experience,” said Dr. Abhijeet Borole, a Tate’s School parent, judge and bioenergy scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
Participating schools included Clayton Bradley Academy, Concord Christian, Episcopal School of Knoxville, Rivers Edge Academy, Knoxville Montessori, Tate’s School and The King’s Academy.