Geologist David Ebinger volunteered to help judge a science fair on January 16 at Harbison West Elementary School, in Irmo, South Carolina. He was encouraged to participate by his West Columbia office co-worker Mickey Edwards, whose wife is a teacher there. What surprised him the most was the sheer quantity of the entries, which he described as “somewhere north of 150.” David was in good company with four other judges: a retired engineer, a geologist at Congaree National Park, a teacher, and the science director for School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties.
Over the course of eight hours, the judges selected their top choices from three groups: 4th and 5th grades, and gifted/advanced. These were then scored according to the South Carolina Science Fair rubric, and a panel of teachers selected from among them projects that will advance to the school district fair.