By Curt Yeomans
A group of 250 young scientists from across Clayton County will converge on Jackson Elementary School on Saturday for the annual Clayton Regional Science and Engineering Fair and Clayton County Elementary Science Fair.
The scientists are Clayton County Public Schools students, who range in classification from fourth-graders, to high school seniors. They will bring projects that cover such disciplines as biology, anatomy, chemistry, physics and engineering, said Katrina Ford, the coordinator of secondary science for Clayton County Schools.
"The students involved write a research plan, they come up with a hypothesis, and they perform the experiment," Ford said. "They go through the whole scientific process, and they get a chance to apply things they are learning in their classes."
Judging for the fair will take place from 10 a.m., to noon, on Saturday, but it will be open to the public for viewing from 2:30 p.m., to 3:30 p.m., Ford said.
Jackson Elementary School is located at 7711 Mt. Zion Blvd., in Jonesboro.
The judges will include science and engineering professors from Clayton State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Spelman College, as well as working scientists and engineers, according to Ford.
"The great thing about this is they [the students] get exposure to the experts who serve as judges," she said. "They get to interact with these people, and learn something from them."
Ford said the fair will be broken up into two groups, one of which will be for elementary school students only, while the regional science and engineering portion of the fair will be open to middle school and high school students.
She said winners from the middle and high school group advance to the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held March 31, through April 3, in Athens.
High school students who win top honors at the state competition then advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held in May, in San Jose, Calif., according to Ford.
Ford said that, while people in general tend to initially be apprehensive about science, it becomes interesting to them as they get to see the ways science impacts their daily lives.
"I think when people understand all the science that is around them everyday, they get really interested in it," she said. "Everything we do in our lives, from driving a car, to eating food, to working on a computer, involves science."