Future Frankensteins? Experts help budding scientists

The spring science fair is an annual ritual in which all students at my son’s school must participate. For one Wednesday afternoon in February, the auditorium is transformed as students stand beside a maze of poster board walls, eagerly describing and demonstrating the results of their experiments with everything from rocket propulsion to plant propagation— projects that have occupied their time and energy (and often their families’ time and energy!) for the last several months.
While February may seem like a long way away, any scientist knows that a good project takes time to research, design, and carry out. That’s why Central Library is hosting Science Project Help Day Saturday afternoon, November 2.
For the fifth year now, students with questions about how to set up a research design, where to find background information, how to state the null hypothesis, or any other science-project unknown can bring their queries to the science wizards assembled in the McIntire Room.
“We are fortunate to have a connection with UVA’s science and technology mentoring program,” says young adult services coordinator Tim Carrier.
Several members of this student-led science service organization will be on hand to talk with kids (and parents and teachers, too) about the students’ work and how they can get started with their proposed projects. Graduate students and professors, chemists and physicists, and those who study earth science, life science, and environmental science will also lend their expertise to helping experimenters find their way through the sometimes-challenging maze of the research process.
Several sample projects and display boards will be set up around the room to give kids a visual idea about what a finished project might look like. Many of the scientists will offers handouts, and a variety of science books from the library will be available for checkout during the event.
Students eager to build and test a hovercraft or examine the cleansing qualities of various brands of shampoo should bring with them their ideas and any work they may have started so the scientists can help these young Einsteins form their thoughts into what may turn out to be a winning entry in the regional science fair at PVCC in March.

Science Project Help Day takes place in the McIntire Room of Central Library on November 2 from 1:30-4pm. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.