Katie Couric's Notebook: Science Fair

CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric. CBS

As the legend goes, Galileo climbed to the top of the Tower of Pisa and dropped two iron balls of different weights to prove they would fall at the same speed.

Science projects have gotten a lot more complicated since the 16th century. But sadly, they've also become less commonplace in American schools, according to the New York Times.

Schools say they're more focused on federal testing requirements for math and reading necessary to keep much needed funds. Many teachers have to judge or coach science fair participants on their own time with no additional pay.

But the U.S. ranks 17th in science at a time when technology and innovation are more important than ever.

Whether it's a diet Coke and Mentos experiment or a hydroponic plant in a jar, science projects make kids excited about discovery. Potato clocks can't power the nation, but the spark they ignite in some inventive child's brain one day might.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

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