Randolph-Macon College English Professor Thomas Peyser makes an interesting case for the importance of STEM students having a strong foundation in grammar in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "...we can be confident that the abandonment of instruction in grammar is robbing us not just of future writers but of future scientists, physicians and engineers as well," he writes.
With more and more emphasis on STEM education and less and less on grammar, the gap seems to be widening dangerously. Scientists use words, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate, just as writers do. Furthermore, STEM studies require students to distill complex sentences for comprehension. Without an ample grasp on the fundamentals of grammar, students find themself at a disadvantage on both the expressive and receptive sides of the communication equation.
One of the key benefits of science fairs is the opportunity they provide for multi-disciplinary learning. A student's skills as writer, designer, and speaker all come in to play during the science fair process -- excellent practice for real-world science. "Engineers and scientists must be competent readers, writers and speakers of syntactically complex sentences," Peyser points out. "That is why the English classroom is an important stop on the road to the lab, the clinic and the drafting table. Good grammar isn't rocket science, but students can't become rocket scientists without it."