Science, Math, and Technology Fair Promotes Environmental Thinking
|Participating students present their projects
Scientifically-minded high school students from across Lebanon were offered
a new area of participation as part of the 13th Annual Science, Math,
and Technology Fair at AUB, organized by the Education Students Society
and the Science and Math Education Center (SMEC). Initiated by the Environmental
Health Department of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), a category
on "current critical environmental issues" was added for the
first time this year. As Professor May Jurdi, chairperson of the department,
explained: "We developed this special environmental category in order
to promote awareness of environmental issues among Lebanese high school
students, and also to introduce them to the possibility of majoring in
environmental health once they reach university level."
Twenty-five schools participated in the Fair, which took place the weekend
of May 6-7 on the AUB campus. Of the approximately 150 total projects
entered in the fair, 12 qualified for the environmental science category.
Two projects shared the first prize in that category: "Homegrown
Promotes Healthy Living" by Muhieddine Itani and Zeinab El-Zein of
Rawda High School tied with "Making a Full Advantage of Used Wheels:
An Economical and Environmental Advancement Procedure" by Omar Al-Kaissi
from the Al-Iman School of Saida. The second prize was awarded to the
team of Howeida Rayes, Rola Massoud, and Lara Shehayeb from the Universal
College in Aley; their project, named "It's a Dirty Job, But Someone
Has to Do It," was on soil mapping in Lebanon to avoid nitrogenesis.
The International College Ras Beirut team, made up of Nora El-Seoudi and
Dana Khalil, took the third prize for "Making Your Own Perfume,"
which focused on chemical-free scent production.
Students from all school levels, including kindergarten, participate in
the fair, which included 23 categories of competition, ranging from abstract
math to invention. Projects were judged based on their
relevance, creativity, sound knowledge and reasoning, neatness and clarity
of display, clarity and effectiveness of oral presentation, and extent
to which the project reflected the students' own work.
Running since 1993, the annual fair has witnessed a growing level of proficiency
and sophistication on the part of participating students. According to
Marjorie Henningsen, director of SMEC, "Over time, students have
demonstrated an increasing ability to analyze and think through problems
on their own. They are able to discuss their projects in detail and answer
a variety of questions, which demonstrates that they understand their
material very well."
Benefits of the Science, Math, and Technology Fair are numerous for both
the competing students and for the volunteer AUB students who coordinate
the event. For participating students, the Fair promotes research and
inquiry and introduces them to new areas of knowledge. Perhaps most importantly
to the participants, it gives them a chance to get constructive feedback
on their project from AUB faculty judges, which they can then apply in
AUB students also benefit. Each year, the fair is run completely by the
Education Students Society, which coordinates all the activities. In so
doing, the AUB students learn valuable organizational skills.
In addition to the certificates and prizes awarded at the fair, participating
students took home packets with T-shirts, pens, and a copy of the Lebanese
environmental journal Al-Bia Wal Tanmia.