Seven is a lucky number, so no one was surprised that the seventh annual Fractal Fair at Weston High School turned out to be the best one so far. Of course there were many great exhibits in each of the previous fairs, but never was there such a consistently high level of quality and enthusiasm; there was not a mediocre or poor project among them! And, in contrast to last year, there were no tears.
OK, let’s agree that it wasn’t actually a matter of luck. Here in the reality-based community we look for genuine explanations, not fanciful ones. The fair got rave reviews from many visitors, especially colleagues and parents of students. While my co-teacher and I would love to take credit for that, we can’t: we don’t deserve more than a tiny fraction of the credit. Yes, we did tweak the requirements a bit — for example, each group had to come up with a question that would let them assess whether visitors and listeners got the “Big Idea” of their project, each student had a structured opportunity to see their classmates’ projects, and we scheduled the fair at a better time — but the lion’s share of the credit has to go to the students. They consistently produced projects that were interesting, accurate, attractive, and thorough. No group was excessively ambitious (in the past there were always some who bit off more than they could chew); no group settled for making sloppy posters that were marred by typos or spelling errors. Every group was able to explain their work, and visitors noted their enthusiasm in doing so. Congratulations to all!