Previously we discussed the breaking news on the discovery of dust clouds around nearby sun-like stars and the possibility of other Earth-like planets. Today, I would like to talk about a science competition that I mentioned in an earlier post, the Intel Science Talent Search. This science competition is now moving on to the final round in Washington, D.C.
At the beginning of this competition 1,602 high school students entered from schools across the United States. They presented projects from the fields of math, science and engineering. After a difficult round of judging, this amazing pool of young talent was narrowed down to just 40 finalists, 14 high school women and 26 high school men. During the finals, scheduled for March, these students will compete for their share of about $530,000 in scholarship money. Past winners of this competition have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and other honors.
The results of this competition have several implications that we, as educators need to examine.
First of all the ratio of male and female finalists leads me to wonder if schools are taking steps to encourage young women to develop an interest in science, math and engineering. Perhaps this is a topic for discussion that needs to be started.
The second implication that this competition raises is the profitability for students to participate in science and math competitions like this one.
Third, I always wonder who keeps the patent or copyright on the young scientist's discovery /findings.... the student or the company that sponsors the student? Hmmmm! Are these students being taken advantage of?
Whether you are gearing up for a school science fair event, a state science fair competition or a classroom science demonstration, it is important that you take steps to get every student involved in the activities. Some students may take a little more prodding to get involved, but once you are able to plug them into the experience of scientific discovery their academic goals will be much easier to accomplish.