• 52°

The value of science

Last Thursday, fifth through eighth grade students converged at Ironton Middle School to take part in the annual county science fair.

The event, organized by the Lawrence County Educational Service Center, hosted more than 154 students, who entered individual and group projects to present to judges, who came from around the community.

Participants in the event earned a “superior” rating in their schools’ individual fair, which took place earlier in the school year.

On Friday, Fairland West Elementary also hosted its own science fair, which featured projects from 130 fifth graders at the school.

Projects in the two fairs covered a range of scientific topics, from biology to geology to chemistry.

Science fairs serve a strong purpose in education, teaching students the value of research and helping them to develop public speaking skills that will be useful in many situations.

More importantly, by requiring the use of the scientific method, involving a hypothesis, experiment and conclusions, they learn critical thinking skills and how to answer questions about the world around them.

While research has been made easier with the advent of the Internet, there is still a downside to the information age.

As so many “fake news” and hoax sites have polluted social media feeds, so, too, have links to junk science websites.

That is why it is critical to teach students how to think scientifically. By understanding the process scientists employ to come to conclusions, they can be more discerning of information they come across in their consumption of media.

We congratulate the ESC and Fairland West for continuing to put the focus on science year after year and organizing these events.