Triadelphia – The West Liberty University Regional Science and Engineering Fair is back, and this week it will be held at the WLU Heights Center.
The event has been canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, but young scientists from the region are set to return to compete on Saturday.
Although the Science Fair has been held annually for over 63 years, competitions have always been held on the main campus in West Liberty. Next week’s competitions will be the first at the WLU Highlands Center, according to Holly Racine, assistant professor of biology at WLU and co-director of the science fair.
Another difference this year is that for the first time, some elementary school students will be welcome to participate.
The Science Fair is open to students in grades 3 through 12 in Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, and Wetzel counties. The Elementary Division consists of students in grades 3-5; Junior Division Grades 6-8; Senior Division Grade 9-12.
Winners in 21 different categories at each of the three grade levels will be selected by the judges. Students compete for category prizes, special prizes, and the chance to go to the West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair on March 7.
Racine expects about 100 students to apply to compete in the regional science fair. Opponents will thus far examine questions such as “Which soft drink is worse for your teeth?” “Does COVID-19 affect children’s mental health?” and “Battle of Bottles? What Kind of Plastic is Best?”
The fair begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, with check-in for the primary section. This will be followed by an exhibition and judging, and projects will be demolished and removed from 11:30 am until noon.
Then the junior and senior division records attendance between 12:30 pm and 12:30 pm, followed by exhibition preparation and judging. The Awards Ceremony concludes with Science Activity Day and is scheduled for 5 p.m. It will be an in-person and virtual ceremony shared at Topper Station.
WLU’s Biology, Chemistry, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) clubs have special activities for students participating in the fair. This includes animals from the zoo science program.
“We have fun things planned for students, too,” Racine said. “It’s not just about science fair projects.”