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Google Science Fair: inspiration from kid and adult scientists

Want to convince kids that their creativity and inventive spirit can make a difference?  I know of no better way than to share examples of that spirit demonstrated by the winners of this year’s Google Science Fair.

On September 22, three young women from Ireland took the Grand Prize for their investigation of the use of diazotroph bacteria as a cereal crop germination and growth aid on cereal crops like wheat, oats and barley. This improvement, they determined, could significantly impact global food poverty and reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture by reducing fertilizer use.

Google Science Fair is a global online competition open to students from 13 to 18.  Even if your students do not enter the next competition, the site itself is a robust resource for learning.

It offers lesson plans, that will prepare students for any science fair or simply for an inquiry frame of mind.  The YouTube channel featuring interviews with previous competition finalists will inspire further exploration.

Google Science Fair also presents Science Fair Hangouts on Air.  Launched in January 2013, the feature offers weekly opportunities to meet with great scientists and thinkers.

On October 10th, Dr. Cheryl Nickerson, of the Biodesign Institute, will host a Hangout on microgravity, exploring how microbes and other tiny creatures behave in space.

An archive of yesterday’s Hangout with former astronaut Mark Kelly is now available.  You may also choose to visit the Underwater Hangout with ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau or select relevant half-hour shows from the archive by scrolling down to the schedule on the Google Science Fair site.

In this video, scientists who appeared in the 2013 visits offer advice to their teenage selves.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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