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Exceptional Event

Interest Fair


Picture a gymnasium packed with well-dressed fourth through eighth graders. Lean in and listen to their conversations with adults about diverse topics like the history of Ellis Island, how commercials are made, lasers, the hip, Ireland, and more. Primary students have on display projects simply for the appreciation of the visitors -- my collie, divas, orchids, and warts. This is Interest Fair at St. Joseph Montessori School in Columbus, Ohio, an annual event that encourages students to delve deeply into concepts that arouse their curiosity.

"Like a science fair, students create a project, write a paper, design a display, and prepare an oral presentation, but unlike the science fair, students may choose any topic that interests them," teacher Erin Farley explained. "There are a multitude of advantages because in it there are many more options. For students who like science, they can choose a topic related to science. Students also start doing interest fair projects as early as first grade, so they become experts by the time they get to eighth grade."

To learn more about this Interest Fair, or to see photos or read tips for starting an Interest Fair of your own, see the Education World article Hold an Interest Fair: Broadened "Science Fair" Taps All Subjects, Students' Interests. You'll be set to start planning your own Interest Fair as soon as the holiday hoopla dies down!