NESA Virtual Science and Engineering Fair 2021
By DR STUART FLEISCHER, Middle School Science Coordinator, Walworth Barbour AIS in Israel
NESA Virtual Science and Engineering Fair Project Director (NVSEF)
The GAIA Project Director (Global Awareness, Investigation and Action)
If you like roller coasters, then the 2020-2021 Pandemic Year is one for the record books.
The 2020-2021 NVSEF Competition started out with 19 international schools indicating they would participate at our Online October Workshops. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only nine schools were able to finish the event with teams continuing on from the local science and engineering fair to Rounds II and III (completely virtual).
From these nine schools, NVSEF local coordinators were able to cobble together amazing science and engineering experiments. Some schools only partially opened and at different times than other schools that had online learning only and were completely asynchronous.
Of the participating schools that ran a science and engineering fair, approximately 400 teams representing Grades 7-8 began competition, of which 43 teams continued to Round II. In Grades 5-6, approximately 150 teams participated with 23 teams continuing to Round II. Only five teams from both categories continued into the third and final round.
These numbers are consistent with the pre-COVID 19 Pandemic numbers. Why so many student research teams? Due to many schools being virtual with closed campuses, many teams (approximately 25 percent) consisted of only one student instead of the usual two-three team members. A total of 1,200 students participated this year.
In addition to the regular Science and Engineering Fair, the NVSEF also ran two MINI-STEM COMPETITIONS. Students from Karachi American School and their amazing teacher, Tasneem Babrawala, dominated these competitions. KAS students won both the “Float Your Boat” and “Animal Prosthetics” Challenges.
Now for the winners of the 2021 NVSEF Championship:
❖ In the NVSEF JUNIOR VARSITY category, Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel (WBAIS) took first and second places. They edged out a close challenge from the International School of Islamabad (ISOI) and American International School Chennai (AISC). The winning team’s research dealt with minimizing the effects of global warming on marine species.
❖ In the NVSEF VARSITY competition, American International School of Kuwait teachers Alia Awad and Rana Aoun led their amazing teams to First and Third Places in the final Champion’s League of the NVSEF. WBAIS took second place while ISOI took fourth, and NVSEF newcomer Karachi American School took Fifth Place.
The NVSEF emanates the spirit of science and engineering, and participation raises the level of scientific education and nurtures future scientific researchers and engineers. As we have seen over the years through our NVSEF Researchers, Dr. Randy Spaid (retired) and Dr. Eric Brunsell, participating in the NVSEF enhances student engagement in science and engineering leading to authentic learning experiences and more positive attitudes towards science and engineering.
We our enjoying our 19th year and thank NESA and Dr. Bea Cameron from the U.S. State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools for the continued support. Over 25,000 students have participated in the NVSEF.
For more information on how to join the NVSEF/NVSEF5 Projects, please contact Dr. Stuart Fleischer: email@example.com.