Greenfield Science Fair
Using a Van de Graaff Generator, students learn about electricity while making their hair stand up during the Science Fair at Vista Verde Middle School on May 22. (Courtesy of Greenfield CSW)

GREENFIELD — Following a half-decade hiatus, students at Vista Verde Middle School (VVMS) once again enjoyed the Science Fair, which occurred May 22 thanks to a resurrection coordinated by their teachers and the Greenfield Community Science Workshop (Greenfield CSW).

Posters showcasing students’ projects filled the school’s gym while the Greenfield CSW Science Mobile treated visitors to hands-on science exhibits, like the “Kid Crusher,” a vacuum pack that can fit a whole person. Wanting to curate a space for students where their scientific exploration was bolstered and valued, the dedicated science teachers at VVMS collaborated with the Greenfield CSW to reestablish the Science Fair.

The Covid-19 lockdowns had put the establishment of an annual science fair at VVMS on hold.

“We wanted to see the students actually presenting on science…. We haven’t seen that since before the pandemic. It has been really difficult for our students to feel confident (enough) to bring a project forward,” said Principal Veronica Hernandez.

Greenfield Science Fair
Greenfield CSW brings its Science Mobile and activities to Vista Verde Middle School for the Science Fair. (Courtesy of Greenfield CSW)

VVMS teachers, including Marisela Dominguez and Sandra Puga, saw an opportunity to increase student learning and empowerment through the restoration of the Science Fair, so they reached out to the Greenfield CSW earlier in the year for support.

The Greenfield CSW has been a critical player in uplifting fun and accessible science exploration within South Monterey County; who better to collaborate with?

With student projects focused on concepts, such as kinetic energy and electromagnetism, specialized materials were required, which the Greenfield CSW was more than happy to supply.

“They really helped us … provided us with the resources that students were using to tinker and experiment with their science fair projects. You can even see it in their pictures that they took for the projects, the smiles on their faces, even just the type of work they were able to build thanks to the Science Workshop,” stated Dominguez during the event.

Greenfield Science Fair
Greenfield CSW Science Mobile treated visitors to hands-on science exhibits, such as the “Kid Crusher,” a vacuum pack that can fit a whole person. (Courtesy of Greenfield CSW)

For the school faculty, the goal of the science fair was not only for students to gain experience with the scientific process, but also see themselves as stakeholders within the world of science.

As Hernandez commented, “It is not like science is something out there that only certain students do in certain schools…. It’s for everybody … all our students can be learning this. When students see that, they see, ‘Oh this isn’t just for those kids, it is for me too!’”

Creating an avenue for students to connect more with their community was another aim of the event.

“The more opportunities there are for students to interact with the wider community, the stronger the connection is…. It fosters a sense of belonging and pride,” said Adria Gillespie, District Science Coach.

Many parents witnessed their young scholars present their findings, often in both English and Spanish.

It does not appear the VVMS Science Fair will be disappearing again anytime soon, as Dominguez stated that continuation and expansion of the event were forthcoming. The general consensus was affirmed by Hernández, “We want more! We want way more!”

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