LPS students ignited their creative minds at 2024 Science and Engineering Fair

Curiosity and creativity collided at the 2024 Lincoln Public Schools Science and Engineering Fair. 

More than 170 LPS students in grades 5-8 participated in the fair at the Sandhills Global Event Center in March. 

“I wanted to be a part of the science fair because I'm really interested in science,” Mickle seventh grade student Nova said. “I thought that it would just be a really good opportunity to expand my learning on all this.” 

This is the second time Nova has entered the event. Her project explaining the effects of acid rain was one of more than 110 science projects submitted this year. Organizers gave the annual fair a new twist – engineering. Students designed 21 engineering works. LPS Science Curriculum Specialist Betsy Barent said adding this component was a logical fit. 

“We saw this as an opportunity to expand student opportunities to share their curiosities and sensemaking,” Barent said. “Science and engineering are two fields that are intertwined. Science builds knowledge which informs engineering and the development of technology.” 

Organizers also encouraged the young scientists and engineers to incorporate a sustainability theme into their entries. They honored those submissions with a “Going Green” ribbon.  

Eighth grade Schoo student Jason used this opportunity to combine his passion for the environment and saving it by creating a presentation focused on solar renewable energy. 

“I care a lot about the environment and what might happen to us if we don't fix our current problems that we have,” Jason said. “So, I wanted to pick a presentation that has helped with that.” 

The fair also provides a way for the community to connect with LPS students. It’s largely run by volunteers and sponsored by several local businesses like Lincoln Electric System, Zoetis and Haleon. 

“Community partnerships are what make the fair go,” Barent said. 

More than 100 volunteers helped with the event serving in roles ranging from setting up booths to judging student projects. There were also 26 exhibits including a solar car race track from LES.

Volunteers Jim Sandbulte and Nolan Greenberg both work for Zoetis. They wanted to get involved to encourage more students to explore their career fields. 

“I've done it several times. So it's fun for me to see what they're curious about,” Sandbulte said.  

“I think it's good to do science projects like this. Kind of maybe gives you a little taste of when you get into the real world or like science and engineering,” Greenberg said. “I guess like a taste of actually putting together projects and seeing if it works or if it doesn't, and troubleshooting things that go wrong.”

The skills participants gain from the science and engineering fair also connect back to what they’re learning in the classroom. Lessons like asking questions, planning and conducting investigations and identifying patterns are direct ties to the LPS science curriculum. The fair creates another outlet for students to deepen their understanding.

“Science and engineering projects give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned to a question or topic they are genuinely curious about just as scientists and engineers do,” Barent said. 

Students agree the event is a great way for their peers to further science and engineering knowledge and practice it. 

“It's a great opportunity,” Jason said. “I feel like it could prepare you for a lot of future opportunities that might come up.” 

“I think that all students should join the science fair because you never know, you don't just learn off your own project,” Nova said. “There are many others that you can look at and learn more about.”

Do you have a story idea? Share it with the LPS Communications Team by filling out this form!

Published: March 26, 2024, Updated: March 27, 2024

Several LPS students designed and researched projects to be judged at the 2024 LPS Science and Engineering Fair.