Two Days at the California State Science Fair

Science Fair.header

Sam and I headed up to Los Angeles earlier this week to attend the California State Science Fair.  It was held at the California Science Center, in Exposition Park (where the 1984 Olympics were held).  His project was on how seedlings grew in burned vs. unburned areas in Mission Trails Regional Park.  You can check out his science blog for more details, though it is not that up to date (Science Blog!).  This is one of our projects to work on now that the state fair is done!

It was a fun few days.  We were both really impressed with the other projects we saw, and also at how well run the fair was.  Sam is going to continue his project, so hopefully he will get back there next year.  Click on photos to get a better look.

Almost 1,000 students, each with a parent or two.  Plus volunteers and judges.  It was a crowd!

Attending the state fair were almost 1,000 students, each with a parent or two. Plus volunteers and judges. It was a crowd!  On the right is Sam next to his giant poster.

Sam and I were both SO EXCITED when we learned his project would be displayed in the room with the space shuttle Endeavor.  The posters were displayed in rings around the space craft.  We were blown away.

Sam and I were both SO EXCITED when we learned his project would be displayed in the room with the space shuttle Endeavor. The posters were displayed in rings around the space craft. We were blown away.  During the public viewing of the projects Sam hung out by his poster while I sat in my travel chair underneath the Endeavor and read a book.  Coolest place ever to read.  EVER!

More shuttle pics.  The tiles on the bottom had numbers.  The engines were huge.  The shuttle as a whole is beautifully streamlined.  It reminded me more of a sea creature than a bird, like a giant ray.

More shuttle pics. The tiles on the bottom had numbers. The engines were huge. The shuttle as a whole is beautifully streamlined. It reminded me more of a sea creature like a giant ray than a bird.

Sam spent every minute of his break time racing around the science center checking out the exhibits.  Many of them involved motion.  Making waves, lifting a truck on a giant lever, you get the idea.  I think his choices might have had something to do with sitting next to his poster talking for hours.  Nerd alert: He was like a coiled spring, bursting with potential energy just DYING to be converted to kinetic energy.

Sam spent every minute of his break time racing around the science center checking out the exhibits. Many of them involved motion. Making waves, lifting a truck on a giant lever, you get the idea. I think his choices might have had something to do with sitting next to his poster talking for hours. He was like a coiled spring, bursting with potential energy just DYING to be converted to kinetic energy.

Super super cool space exhibits, I mean besides the epically cool Endeavor exhibit.  Gemini and Apollo capsules, a Mars lander, satellites (including Sputnik!) and space probes.

The science center had super super cool space exhibits, in addition to the epically cool Endeavor exhibit. Gemini and Apollo capsules, a Mars lander, satellites (including Sputnik!) and space probes.

The kelp aquarium was a soothing spot to wander about.  Sam liked the small window.  I loved the school fish, they were mezmerizing as they flashed through the water.

The kelp aquarium was a soothing spot to hang out in. Sam liked the small window. I loved the schooling fish; they were mesmerizing as they flashed through the water.

The awards ceremony was in a lovely indoor/outdoor pavilion.  Sam got an honorable mention, which was terrific for his first state science fair.  Maybe next year he will get to go up on stage and get a medal, just like Han and Luke.

The awards ceremony was in a lovely indoor/outdoor pavilion. Sam got an honorable mention, which was terrific for his first State Science Fair. Maybe next year he will get to go up on stage and get a medal, just like Han and Luke.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include Sam’s video of the desert flash flood exhibit.  The flood went through the exhibit every 10 minutes.  We went back to see it 3 times.  It fascinated him.  I got to spend a lot of time watching the desert tortoise sleep, or slowly bang around its enclosure, as I waited for the flood in the other exhibit.  Soothing, but not as soothing as the kelp.  The nice thing about this video, is that you don’t have to wait around, you can just watch it…again and again and again…

Flash Flood Video

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