Grade 7 and 8 students at Ottawa Christian School (OCS) are scrambling to gather the final data for their bi-annual science fair submissions in preparation for an early March open house.
About 35 participants have their eyes set on Mar. 8 when about 20 judges from the school’s community will grade their science projects.
Grade 8 teacher George Hoytema says students are encouraged to consider a topic as early as December and begin developing their topics.
“At this point in the year they’re fast and furious,” he says.
The judges interview each student to evaluate what they’ve learned of their subject, the visual quality of the display and the scientific method they used in their process.
The top 10 from the fair will advance to the Ottawa Regional Science Fair to compete against public and separate school students.
The top four students from the open house are also sent the Redeemer University College science fair in Ancaster for Christian schools.
Hoytema says a Christian perspective is included in each project so students can tie their results to “God’s word and creation and biblical truisms and patterns and systems that God has placed in the world.”
He says he’s proud of his students for leaving the Christian perspective on their displays when they go to regional fairs because it differentiates them from other students and they can serve as evangelists.
Hoytema says some judges at the regional level dock marks for the Christian perspective, and others reward it, but he’s proud that his students are tying their Christian faith into their research.
“We talk about that with those 10 kids that go on. We make them aware of the fact that they may get penalized for something they believe, but that’s just the nature of the beast,” says Hoytema.
“These kids may go on to some public high school and they may have that again, where they hand in an assignment or paper where they get penalized for their belief and if that’s the case, so be it,” he adds.
He’s proud to help them find strength of character in their faith.
“I’m proud that we talk about their Christian perspective, and that they’ll stick to that and won’t shy away. They’re willing to say, ‘This is who I am and I’m not going to shy away from what I know and what I believe,’” says Hoytema.