The Denver Metro Regional Science Fair was held this week. This year there were more than 600 entries from more 50 schools, up from approximately 550 students and 35 schools last year. The average quality of the projects I judged seemed higher than ever. This  bodes well for science education in Colorado.

In the many years I’ve been judging science fairs, trends have come and gone.  Topics kids select for projects are an excellent indicator of what is in vogue.  Just a few years ago, a lot of projects related to forensic science, no doubt in response to the popularity of the many CSI tv shows.  This year there was a decided decrease in those projects.  It’s difficult to say what has replaced forensics, but I definitely noticed a lot of projects – 20 – related to sports.

Every year I select one Junior division and one Senior division project for our Hutton Architecture Solar Energy Award.  The winners this year were clear cut choices. But I was disappointed there were fewer projects – only 14 – to choose from than in the last few years.  I wonder if this could indicate a diminishing level of student interest in sustainability.  Have economic concerns, or more trivial pursuits such as sports, pushed the environment to the back burner of our students minds? If the trend continues at next year’s science fair, then we’ll have the answer to our question.

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