“The great difficulty of education is to get experience out of ideas.”  - Spanish philosopher George Santayana 

As an experience-based school, at Alta Vista we believe that knowledge is best acquired through meaningful practice.  Our annual (non-competitive) Science Fair provides just such an opportunity for students to explore and seek to answer an individual "Why?" or "How?" question through their own scientific efforts.

Our faculty designs the Science Fair so students can: 

  • Foster imagination and creativity of thought
  • Learn and practice critical thinking, inquiry and investigative skills
  • Understand and experience failure as a natural and positive occurrence in the search for understanding
  • Learn research methods and encourage the development of research techniques - obtain data, keep a research log or notebook, learn graphing and develop conclusion
  • Develop organizational skills
  • Work independently as well as in a group
Each child selects a topic and comes up with a Testable Question, a Hypothesis, the Materials, the Procedure, a Chart of Data, Observations, a Conclusion, Areas for Further Experimentation.   At the fair, they present their experiments and findings to the inquiring minds of other students and parents and answer their questions.
Here are just a few of the things we have learned about from our students:
  • Can you create a floating city?
  • Which foods grow mold the fastest?
  • Does chewing gum for a longer period make a larger bubble?
  • Which liquids clean pennies best?
  • Do hamsters learn through memory?
  • Does smell affect taste?
  • Does aspirin or sugar help to extend the life of flowers?
  • What shape of paper airplane flies farthest?  Longest?