Helix Psych Fair

Jenny Brotherton, Staff Writer

Ms. Julie Damschen’s psychology classes at Helix have proved what they’ve learned all term by collaborating to put together the Psych Fair.

For the fair students work either in pairs or by themselves to create a project based on psychological topics they’ve chosen to research.

Those who visit the fair during school are able to walk around to different stations set up. The students who attend the event get to take part in activities and learn how each activity connects to specific parts of psychology.  The Psych Fair is a requirement for anyone who takes the college prep psychology course at Helix.

Ms. Damschen  got the idea when she saw an article about a teacher who created a Psych Fair for their students. At Helix, this is now a 13-year tradition.

Many of the projects were interactive, and required some form of participation from the audience. What really made these tasks creative was the way they were executed. Students incorporated information they learned on their subject along with fun activities or references to pop culture.

Gabriella Aros, a senior at Helix, did her assignment on the process of memory with her partner, senior, William LaPlante. They titled their project “Magic Memory” and connected their subject to songs from Disney movies. They played the songs and had students guess which movie it was from, while talking about how their activity is related to memory.

Aros spoke about her experience presenting her project at the fair stating, “The fair itself is really fun because you get to take everything you’ve been working so hard on for the last weeks and you finally get to do it and get it done with. It feels like you’ve accomplished something.”

According to Ms. Damschen, “there have been many great projects through the years. Anything that involves physical challenges can be really fun, especially when staff members compete against one another in front of the students.”

She mentioned some memorable projects that included, “The Blind Walk” involving blinding students and seeing if they can walk in a straight line, and others such as Gender Wars and distortion goggles. “We’ve had over 60 different types of activities [and] psychological studies that have been done over the years” she said.

Juniors Henry Rodriguez and Valerie Arevalos did their project “$.25 Horoscope Reading” on astrology. They related astrology to the Barnum effect, or the tendency to accept personality descriptions about oneself, by giving their audience horoscopes and explaining how they correlated with the effect.

When talking about his experience with the psychology class, Rodriguez stated “It opens your eyes to different things you never really thought about.”

“I think the Fair impacts the students in that it is something that most of them never forget. They learn a lot about effective visuals, how to present dynamically, how to make a hypothesis after doing research, how to collect data, how to problem solve, the importance of rehearsal and planning, and taking pride in a job well done.” Damschen, stated proudly with the accomplishment of the Spring 2017 Psychology Fair.