Burlingame STEM Fair – Answering the Why

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”
~ Edwin Hubble, American astonomer

Why is the sky blue? Why do plants need sunlight? Why do cars need gas? Why does my cheese have holes in it? Why is candy bad for my teeth?….

From the moment they learn to talk, the “why” questions never end. Sure it’s a bit tiring at times, but how magnificent is the insatiable curiosity? the communication? the creativity? Kids are wired to explore, to take risks, to ask questions, to conjure up crazy ideas.  And that’s the beauty of the science fair – it’s all those wonderful characteristics with a little adult guidance.

“Science fairs make you dream big.”
~ Brennan Brockank, district Science coach


Washington 4th Grader, Danny Conway, and his Science Fair project

While some Burlingame schools have had their own science fair traditions, Burlingame school district has never had a district-level event. This year, Brennan Brockbank, the district’s Science coach, has taken the initiative to create such an event, the new District STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Fair. The goals of this annual event are to bring 21st Century Skills (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity) into real practice and to spur interest in STEM throughout the district. 

Students throughout the district were invited to register and submit an abstract of their project. The district event was open to grade 4-8 students across all six district schools. The projects are completely student led and fall into one of 8 categories (Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, Technology, Engineering, Math, Biology, Behavior Science). In its first year, the Burlingame STEM Fair comprises participants from all the six schools (5 elementary, 1 middle), 50+ projects, and over 100 participating students.

“The STEM fair is the perfect example of why I love Burlingame schools so much–kids are encouraged to take chances, have fun and become independent learners who are passionate about science. With kids in K, 2nd and 4th grades, I got to watch the scientific process first-hand and share in their delight for learning. This is the reason why we live in a town like Burlingame–great teachers, great schools and great opportunities for kids to thrive.”
~ Eileen Stanley Conway, Washington parent

Science Fair with Mr. Brockbank

Washington Science Fair with Mr. Brockbank

Each of the teams submitted their online abstracts and physical projects in advance and will be interviewed by the judges Monday evening. “The STEM fair is a rich opportunity to bring all the key skills together and to experience the process of practicing and preparing for the judge’s interview” says Mr. Brockbank. The top projects in each grade/category will move on to the San Mateo County STEM Fair, for a maximum 32 projects (4 grades x 8 categories).

Science ProjectWhile Burlingame has not had a district-level science fair in the past, our community has seen success at a national level. Last year, 8th grader at BIS (now at BHS), Adam Noworolski, created a Stove Alert!, a safety device to help older people with hearing loss hear high frequency stove timers. For this project, Adam Noworolski was one of the winners at the San Mateo STEM Fair and was nominated to be one of 2014 National Broadcom Masters for STEM Rising Stars.

To infinity and beyond! Why not?

Monday, February 9, 2015
7:00pm – 7:30pm
BIS library