Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Intel Semi-Finalists

Intel and the Society for Science released their list of the semi-finalists in this year's Intel Science Talent Search. You can read the list of 300 students here.

While the list of students who have done amazing independent scientific research projects is long, the list of schools they attend is much, much shorter. Scroll down, and you'll see the Texas Academy of Math and Science, the North Carolina School of Science and Math, the Illinois Math and Science Academy, and a few other stand-outs listed again and again.

What's happened is that a few schools have institutional research programs that give kids the time and the mentoring to actually conduct interesting, meaningful experiments. While it is certainly possible to find your own mentor at a university near your home, or even come up with your own experiments you can do at your kitchen table, a research program makes it that much easier for kids with scientific aptitude to test and stretch themselves.

I would love to see more schools putting serious research programs in place as an option for kids who want a project in high school. Hopefully the cash a semi-finalist designation earns will, over time, convince more schools to give it a try.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you said that only some schools supported, I knew that ours supposedly did. I wondered...maybe. And yes there are three from our county on the list. And for us the research support starts very early. My 6th grader is taking a research elective which is supposed to help him learn what is involved in doing his middle school research projects. Starting with reading web pages...what's a good one, what's not and talking about data analysis. While it really is in high school that they do the research that could lead to Intel, they start introducing things early. yes public school

Anonymous said...

It actually makes the semi-finalist student that didn't have these so called "research department advantages", that much more impressive. They had to possess the impetus to do it on their own.

Kevin said...

"They had to possess the impetus to do it on their own." Or have parents who did what the schools did not. Most of the students I've seen from our county go on to International Science Fair have parents who are scientists or engineers, and who provided the scientific education and opportunities that none of the local schools (public or private) provide.

Not one of the high schools in our county even has a science fair---the high school projects at the county science fair have had no pre-screening and are still only a dozen or so projects (often poorer than the 6th grade projects also).
It is amazing that we do so well at state and international science fairs, with only a handful of projects to send.

Note: our county has around 250,000 people, so is neither a big urban area nor a remote rural one.

DC Gifted Education Examiner said...

In Montgomery County, Maryland, where grade-skipping is a dirty word, and ~40% of 2nd graders are supposed to be "above-grade" (synonymous with GT here), we have just 1 powerhouse that constantly produces strong contenders. Shouldn't such a "gifted" community have more such schools?

More about the fun we have at:
http://www.examiner.com/x-29782-DC-Gifted-Education-Examiner ,

Anonymous said...

I've never lived in a community (I've lived in 4 states) that had any awareness or acknowledgement of the competition.

It's sad that so few students have access to the mentoring necessary to do significant research.