Metro East school district drops science fair for alternative reading

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – These first-grade students in Mrs. Wright`s class are taking part in an exercise called alternative reading.

They`re encouraged to find a comfortable space and dive into a book.

It`s just one of a few things educators are trying in the Belleville public school district 118 to reach students in the modern world.

And changing with the times, means saying so long to an old standard.

'This is the first year we won`t have the district level science fair,' says Craig Hayes, Principal Roosevelt School.

Roosevelt Principal Craig Hayes has headed up the district wide science fair in recent years, but says a steady decline in interest from parents and kids is leading to new ways of doing things in 2017.

'We liked it and saw the benefit of it,' says Hayes.  'It`s still a very valuable activity but we saw a decline in the number of kids participating.  It just got less and less each year.'

Instead, a series of stem nights will be held at the eleven schools in Belleville`s district 118.

At Roosevelt, they`re getting ready for an engineering winter themed stem night.

The hope is the hands-on family event will bring bigger numbers than science fairs of recent years.

'I think it just busy and became something where they needed something new to keep their interest,' says Hayes.  'That`s their goal here to keep their interest in science and it’s fun, but they`re also learning.'