Navajo Nation Science Fair getting bigger, more competitive

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

GALLUP, March 6, 2014

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(Times photo - Shondiin Silversmith)

Kindergartener Cody Jim, 6, from Red Rock Day School uses a little pointer to talk about his science project “Balloons, Balloons.” Jim said he wanted to see if you could blow up a balloon with anything other then helium. He used vinegar and baking soda. Jim competed in the chemistry category but did not place.

Both quality and quantity were evident at this year's Navajo Nation Science Fair.

It took three days for the Navajo Nation's top student scientists to present their work to judges who would determine if they were, in fact, the best. About 250 more projects were entered than last year, and 100 more students participated.

"It was a really competitive fair," said Johanson Phillips, Navajo Nation Science Fair Coordinator and Principal Education Specialist for the Department of Diné Education. "We actually wanted to see research, data and investigation being done."

Phillips said typically in the lower level of a science fair judges expect the students to present surveys for an informational board, but when they get to the higher grade levels, the projects should be more thoroughly researched.

"Today's educational standards are a little harder. You actually have to do the thorough research," Phillips said. "There were some good projects and we know that our projects have been improving."

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