Sherwood Park, AB. — Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) student Asher Fehr took the fast track to success, presenting his Grade 9 science fair project about steam trains to an audience at Fort Edmonton Park.
“I absolutely loved creating my project,” says Fehr, a Grade 9 student at Strathcona Christian Academy (SCA) Secondary. “Because it’s on my favourite thing in the world—Steam Train 107.”
The idea for Fehr’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) project “How do steam trains work?” originated from his longtime special interest and love for the steam train at Fort Edmonton Park. The project highlighted his existing knowledge of the parts of the steam train to a new understanding of how the train generates its power through steam.
Before presenting at Fort Edmonton, Fehr developed his project for his class’s science fair, or what the school calls a STEMposium. “He was very engaged and motivated while working on his project, which was matched by his enthusiastic presentation to classmates, invited guests and teachers,” says Diane Richards, an educational assistant at SCA Secondary. “It was a very successful project because he not only learned new things about his favourite train but shared his love for the train with others.”
Fehr’s Grade 9 teacher at SCA Secondary Samantha Jones recognized how many students had scientific interests outside of the curriculum, which is why she created the STEMposium. “The fair encourages students to explore STEM interests in a self-guided way, while still receiving support from the school and me. Their projects mimic the senior research a STEM student would be expected to do in university, and my favourite part is when they learn how to answer questions about their research beyond what they put on their poster. Following through the scientific method and presenting their findings is a huge part of being a professional scientist.”
The STEMposium runs for two classes, where family members are invited to come and see the hard work of their children. Three guest judges from a STEM-related profession then choose one winning project to receive a prize. STEMposium topics have included AI and Facial Recognition, The Physiological Effect of Music on Humans, The Influence of Branding on the Sensation of Taste, and now Fehr’s Science of Steam Engines.
“It’s amazing to see Grade 9 students take charge of their learning and show what they can do when they’re trusted,” says Jones. “This project allows them to feel proud of something they've accomplished, and it's wonderful to see them shine!”
Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,460 students in 43 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.
For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902