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The VINS Science Symposium 2018

The VINS Science Symposium will be taking place on Friday, May 18 and Monday, May 21, 2018!

The Science Symposium is a science based event held at the VINS Nature Center that allows local students to connect with the community and apply science in a real way. In the months leading up to the event, participating classes find a local issue to investigate, design hands-on projects, and conduct research to solve this community problem. After their months of hard work, the students will present their findings to local constituents, stakeholders and peers at this culminating event.

Schools participating this year include Ottauquechee School, Quechee, VT, Canaan Elementary School, Canaan, NH, Richards School, Newport, NH, Berlin Elementary School, Berlin, VT, Haverhill Cooperative Middle School, Haverhill, NH, Newton School, Strafford, VT, and Weathersfield School, Weathersfield, VT. Over the course of the two-day event, we expect over 300 4th-8th graders plus their families at VINS to celebrate their months hard work and progress throughout this project. 

Past Science Symposium Projects
The projects and activities that students work so diligently on can have a profound effect on their local community. Classes who participated in the Science Symposium in 2017 researched a range of topics in which they felt a connection to or are passionate about. Topics researched included:

  1. How pollution affects water/grass seed/marine organisms
  2. Water quality in the Upper Valley — comparing/contrasting different water sources
  3. Macroinvertebrates in different streams — compare/contrast — why different?
  4. Energy produced from solar/wind and how it can be used
  5. Erosion and the effects on towns/how to stop erosion
  6. Runoff and effects on water quality
  7. Saving water by using solar powered water heaters
Why should your class participate in the Science Symposium?
While a Science Symposium project may serve to inspire a number of future scientists,  hands-on learning can also significantly contribute to students gaining the 21st century skills they’ll need as they develop into the next generation of business owners, innovators, managers, and employees.
The steps needed to complete a Science Symposium Project can work to strengthen students skill set. While library research is still important, these projects are a great way to practice computer research skills, as well as to learn the ins and outs of common office programs, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Most projects also involve a good deal of math, and all students get an opportunity to enhance their presentation skills when they prepare their display boards and discuss their projects with peers, family members, and local constituents at the Science Symposium event.
Science Symposium projects will also likely have a longer duration than any other assignment a student has done. At the Middle School grade level, typical school assignments are due the next day or perhaps a week later. A Science Symposium project requires a student to learn to plan over two or three months, a skill of immense importance in adulthood.

​The Science Symposium is a great program that will guide your students to become community advocates while honing their presentation, research, computer, and interpersonal skills. What’s more, your class will be able to enjoy a day out of the classroom, experiencing the hard work being done by local schools at the culminating Science Symposium event this May.

Teacher Testimonials
“When my students were part of the symposium program, they were true scientists.  They worked to solve a real-life problem, developed questions, tested hypotheses, and developed projects.  Sharing the projects at VINS allowed them to share their hard work with the community. “

“At Ottauquechee School, our fourth graders are extremely fortunate to be engaged in a year-long project created and delivered by VINS educator Michelle Amato. During Ms. Michelle’s weekly visits, learners are exposed to best science education practices in a fun and engaging way while learning about the relevant topic of composting in our community.”

Contact Michelle Amato, Science Educator, to begin scheduling Science Symposium in your 4th-8th grade class for the next academic year!

Composed by Emily Johnson

Contact education@vinsweb.org with questions or comments.