Ideafest: Science Fair on Steroids

Megan De Graff-Staff Writer

Ideafest1Science fairs were always popular in middle school—they gave students a chance to show off their scientific prowess by displaying their latest creations and demonstrate experiments, even if their baking soda volcano didn’t erupt when they wanted.

As students grow in their knowledge and skills, there are often fewer opportunities for sharing what they have learned. When there are opportunities, students often forego the chance to show their knowledge. High schools and colleges are typically so intensive that some students get wrapped up in the busyness of the semester and don’t have time or desire to pursue extra learning.

This is where the posters of memes on the walls of nearly every campus building, hung to encourage students to present and be present, come into play.

Ideafest is an annual opportunity for students to share their learning and research with a wider audience than those within their major. Art majors can present their findings on abstract imperfection in the art world to a group that includes engineering majors who believe that anything can be defined numerically. Those studying actuarial science and math can listen to presentations on how English and math are intricately connected, so they have to think before using the “left brain” argument when complaining about linguistically-based assignments.

Ideafest2This year’s Ideafest featured subjects all over the scope of learning. Sion Yang, a junior, presented arguments on how to grade music classes comparatively to core classes. Ryan Pasveer and Bryan Van Belle talked on behalf of this year’s engineering concrete canoe project, for which this group is travelling to Wisconsin for a competition this week.

Even though the numbers were down for sign-ups early in the process, many students eventually decided to participate in the resume-building activity, resulting in a grand line-up of presentations. Nearly every major was represented, from education to engineering, theatre arts to theology, math to music. Students got to share everything from poetry they wrote to machinery they built.

Ideafest is also an opportunity for Dordt board members and professors to see things from a different perspective. While professors usually teach students a few particular subjects each semester, they rarely get to see the other work their own students do outside of their class. Similarly, Dordt board members, who work tirelessly to ensure the best possible experience for all students, get the chance to see what these students have done as a result of their work.

In addition to the great presentations, through which students were able to learn about new intricacies inside and outside their fields of study, at least a few dozen students stood in the campus center to show their findings by way of posters and experiments to any passersby who showed interest.

Many schools encourage learning outside of classes, but Dordt College encourages this value by encouraging students to teach one another and share ideas.

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