Science fair proves to be big success at PrairieWORTHINGTON — Buzzing, fizzing, oozing and sputtering, along with strange and potent smells, filled the Prairie Elementary gym Saturday morning during the school’s first-ever science fair.
By: Kari Lucin, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Buzzing, fizzing, oozing and sputtering, along with strange and potent smells, filled the Prairie Elementary gym Saturday morning during the school’s first-ever science fair.
Students in grades three through four joined together, producing 23 group and individual projects, from volcanoes to electromagnets.
Many of the projects utilized scientific method, starting with students asking a question, such as Grayson Christensen’s “How much water is in snow?”
Christensen then made a hypothesis — that four inches of snow, when melted, would measure less than four inches of water — and tested it.
He found he was correct, but by measuring Christensen also learned the amount of water contained in snow differed. His five samples of four inches of snow reduced to 1.5 inches to 2.1 inches of water.
“I thought it would be less (water),” Christensen said.
Christensen’s display included pictures and descriptions of his process, as well as a graph of the amounts of water he found in the snow.
“It’s been a fun adventure,” said Stephanie Fletcher, who, with Tasha Raymo, organized the science fair. “Next year we’ll know what worked and what didn’t work.”
Fletcher and Raymo were proud of all the students who participated, noting some of them didn’t have parental help and worked on their projects during recess time.
“They all did an excellent job, and they all worked very hard,” Fletcher added.
Volcanoes proved the most popular project. Some students created short, squat volcanoes, and others made huge structures that took the classical volcano shape. Some embellished their structures with paint and even glitter, and others added dinosaurs around the bottom of the mountain, to get swamped when the orange “lava” fizzed over the edge.
Dale Hansen opted to “Build a Better Electromagnet,” and Camila Wede showed off her biology knowhow with her “Ooh! My Aching Muscles” project. Fifth-grader Naomi Troe’s project, “Color Confusion,” showed how the structure of the eye affects color perception.
Some projects were more oriented toward teaching fair-goers about science than toward experimenting.
“I learned the sun is really a star,” said third-grader Tien Truong, who cooperated with Kate Reeves to create the project “Super Solar System.”
They learned about the solar system for about two weeks and used Styrofoam balls and paint to make a model of the planets for the science fair.
Fourth-grader Alex Scholtes showed how to turn iron into rust and then turn it back into iron in his project, “Iron Oxide.”
Scholtes put iron filings in three jars, filling one with water and another with vinegar to make the iron rust more quickly. After time passed, all three jars contained some rust, with the vinegar jar containing the most.
“It’s a strong enough acid that would produce more rust,” Scholtes said, noting that battery acid would have worked too, but would have been too dangerous for a science fair project.
To change the rust back to iron, Scholtes used heat, and then tested the resulting filings with a magnet to make sure they were really iron. They were — and there was just as much iron as there had been initially.
“For every reaction, there is a solution to that reaction, so it turns back to the way it was,” he explained.
Part of Scholtes’ presentation included an explanation of the Law of Conservation of Mass, which states that mass cannot be created or destroyed in a closed system — such as Scholtes’ jars.
Fifth-grader Bryan Doeden also had a more experimental project. He took sterile swabs, swiped different items at Prairie Elementary, and tested them for bacteria. He found the most bacteria in a trumpet, a floor mat and a gym floor, with the cleanest items tested turning out to be a toilet seat and a library keypad — “because of daily cleaning,” Doeden explained.
“I was going to do something on my pets, but they said no live animals, so we had to go with the next best thing,” Doeden said.
In the third grade, Hansen took first place, Christensen took second and Sam Martin took third place.
In the fourth grade, Alex Scholtes took first place, Manuel Dominguez took second and Alison Pospisil took third place.
In the fifth grade, Katie Rogers took first place, Doeden took second and team Lauren Martin and Meredith Moore tied with Naomi Troe for third place.
In the earth science division, Rachel Koller and Paige Stewart took first place, Christensen received second place and Lizbeth Jauregui and Estafani Orozco took third place.
In physical science, Katie Rogers took first, Doeden took second and Scholtes and Troe tied for third place.
In health science, Sam Martin and Juston Bents tied for first place, Madison Schmidt took second place and Wede took third place.
Receiving honorable mentions were Jeffrey Camacho, Stephanie Lowry, Maria Arevalo, Shaylee McNab and Alexandra Porth.
Visit www.dglobe.com to view a photo gallery featuring images of students and their projects.