St. James Middle School Students set up a Science and Engineering Festival

St. James student, Dawson Palmer, in front of the geodesic dome planetarium

St. James 5th, 6th, and 7th graders have worked together to put on a science and engineering festival. Included in their discovery museum are a geodesic dome planetarium, an augmented reality sandbox, and a marble run. There are mysteries to solve, design challenges to conquer, and fossils to dig.

The most impressive part, while not visible, is how the students have worked together to come up with the plan, tests their ideas, and solve problems to put on this school-wide community event. Dawson Palmer, a student whose main focus was building the geodesic dome planetarium, found the project to be a great team building exercise. However, building it was not without its challenges. “It took us a week to cut and score the pieces, and then another couple of days to put it together,” Dawson said. “The most challenging part was figuring out the support system to make sure it stayed up. We were excited to finish it.”

These projects were the product of several months of research in preparation for Science Olympiad. Science Olympiad is a nationwide science competition for middle school and high school students. St. James students compete in 23 different events. In February, the students attended the regional competition in Ft. Worth and from there 30 teams out of 107 that are selected to go to the state competition. St. James was one of these 30 teams. “To prepare for the competition, we take each student’s interests, and then divide and conquer,” said St. James science teacher, Nicole Ayers.

After returning from the competition, the students wanted to turn their research into an exhibit that they could share with the younger students and other community members. “These projects are the result of a few weeks in the making as far as assembly is concerned, but several months in the making of research,” said Ayers. “They’ve turned their research into larger, more interactive exhibit to share with everyone.”

The middle school students will be presenting and working with the younger students on March 29, from 1:00-3:00.

Inside the planetarium
Augmented reality sandbox
Student built marble run
Rubik’s cube mosaic
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