Science, engineering fair develops students' skills

For more than 50 years, the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair has been held in Cedar Rapids. Students from southeastern Iowa in sixth through 12th grades will bring their projects to Lindale Mall to be evaluated by volunteer judges using a scoring matrix to rate the quality of their projects. Senior division winners go on to compete at the INTEL International Fair with students from around the world.

Successful student projects demonstrate a student’s ability in creativity, organization, critical thinking, knowledge and a host of other criteria. Science, technology, engineering and math are keys to a successful future in an increasingly hungry and competitive world. Students are experimenting and asking questions. They can be as simple as what kind of pop is the most corrosive to experiments in fuels, algae or wind mills. The list goes on.

Students also develop the ability to look objectively at their successes and failures.

From 1962-66, a young man named Thomas Cech from Iowa City competed at the fair in the junior and senior divisions. He won many awards but never first place in the senior division. His determination, talent and passion paid off. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Maybe it could happen again, and if not, maybe the 21st century skills a student needs to compete will be further developed.

Volunteer judges are needed at

8 a.m. March 15. For more information, visit and look for “judges.”

Leland Freie

Cedar Rapids 

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