Every year the Twin Cities Creation Science Association puts on a science fair which is sometimes called the Home Schooling Creation Science Fair. It used to be held at Har Mar mall, which was great because it is always a pleasure to stop in at Har Mar. But for the last two years, including last weekend, it was held at a local Bible College. I haven't gone every year, but most years, as does The Lorax at Angry By Choice and a variable handful of others. This year, PZ Myers also attended. (Speaking of PZ I just noticed that his book is now available as an audio edition, just so you know.)
Over the years, the number of entries has gone steadily up (this year was down from last year, but both years are up from previous years) and the quality of the entries has skyrocketed. In the old days, many of the entries would be about things like "How did Noah build the Ark" or similar topics such as how fossils are fake and evolution is too. But increasingly, the entries are about real things, and despite the required presence of a "relevant" Bible quote on each poster, most of the entries are not about "creation science" (sic) at all, but rather, about something interesting, usually science relates. Many entries are descriptive, really demonstrating how a student has learned about a particular topic, while others are reports of an experiment or set of experiments to test one or more hypothesis.
Back in the day when the fair was all about actual (fake) creation science, I did not approve. I regarded this as an attempt to brainwash innocent young children to have a very incorrect and even damaging view of the world. But now I like the Creation Science Fair for the very reason that the exhibits are of better quality and often demonstrate a child's engagement with thinking about the world around them from a scientific perspective.
The typical visit by those of us who get get to the fair and who come from the science community involved us walking around and chatting to the students about their work. We don't impose or cajole or make fun or anything like that. We simply contribute to the conversation, and don't even identify ourselves as scientists. One wonders if a visit by a half dozen interested people who have a good science oriented conversations helps. I think it does.
I hope the Twin Cities Creation Science (Maybe Homeshooling) Fair keeps going. It is a good thing in a questionable context and I think it has a positive effect on the up and coming future scientists.
Also, I got a great idea for how to make a ketchup bottle that actually pours out ketchup. I also met the family I used to buy sheep from. But that's another story.
Above photo stolen from PZ Myers.
Do they still sell sheep? I'm looking for a source. Mine from a dozen years ago left farming altogether.
Robin, I sent you a number.
But now I like the Creation Science Fair for the very reason that the exhibits are of better quality...
How would you say it compares to the public school science fair? (Enthusiasm of the kids, their ability, quality of work, etc.)
Any evidence that, other than the limiting factor of the creationist influence of the home-schooled group, that one side or the other has better access to resources (or is that bound to the home-schooling?)
Excellent way of going about this. Just have conversations and encourage the kids to keep thinking. No need to say anything even remotely controversial. Thinking leads to more thinking;-) You're 100% right on target with your approach.
Dean, good question. Julia used to contribute to the Roseville Elementary School Brimhall achievement Fair which was similar in age range etc. They were very similar except there were no required bible quotes and at Roseville, being virtually an extention of the St. Paul Campus which includes the College of Forestry and Ag (etc.) and the interesting part of the Biology department, meant a sprinkling of highly advanced presentations.
As far as the semi-pro track of science fairs, where students go on and on to eventually compete sate wide and nationally, this was a wash-out but with some potential. The rabbit exhibit was probably science fair league or at least the research was heading in that direction.