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8th Grade Science Fair
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Over the last decade or so the public school system in the United States has focused on a restructuring of the grade level associations in the schools. Historically, the seventh and eighth grades where located in a separate building from the first through sixth grades. These particular schools were called junior high schools. The trend now is to combine the sixth, seventh and eighth grades into a separate school that is called a middle school. There are several reasons for this change. The most influential is that sixth graders are considered too mature to be housed in the same facility as the youngest set of students. Another result of this change is that the eighth graders are now the oldest set of students in the middle school. Related to this is the increased level of expectations placed upon them in the academic arena. For example, 8th grade science fair projects are now being competitively judged for a level of advanced presentation that did not exist in the traditional junior high school setting.
The students who participate in the 8th grade science fair are often the ones who are enrolled in advanced or honors classes. These classes are a relatively new development since the restructuring to a middle school setting. The 8th grade science fair is used as one of the mechanisms for evaluating a student's abilities and understanding of the field of science. Previously the 8th grade science fair was more of a fun activity for any student who wished to participate. These days, students and teachers take participation in the 8th grade science fair seriously. These students and their sponsoring teachers spend great amounts of time and effort outside the classroom to develop and create their 8th grade science fair projects. While students used to choose some rather basic scientific concepts, they now are delving deeply into the more complicated topics of science.
The events that surround the 8th grade science fair can include the use of computer generated models and graphics. They can also include three-dimensional structures and processes to demonstrate a student's understanding of the concepts and theories of biological or physical sciences. The reorganization of the school system from the junior high concept to the middle school concept has benefited the eighth graders by an increase in the academic expectations and opportunities offered to them.