Students showcase projects at science fairWORTHINGTON — Dozens of projects were neatly exhibited in the St. Mary’s cafeteria Thursday morning during the school’s first science fair in several years.
WORTHINGTON — Dozens of projects were neatly exhibited in the St. Mary’s cafeteria Thursday morning during the school’s first science fair in several years.
Students stood by their work, waiting patiently for the judges to approach them.
“Because this is our first year I thought we would have mediocre work, but they have well surpassed our expectations,” Principal Brittany Larson said. “It’s great to see that they’ve shown interest in things that we’ve exposed them to since kindergarten.”
Students were given about a month and a half to work on their projects. Science teacher Sister LuAnn Jacobs added the projects were mandatory for fifth- and sixth-graders, but optional for children in the lower grades.
Jacobs provided students with numerous suggestions, but gave them the freedom to conduct experiments on what interested them the most.
“It’s a great time for them to apply what they’ve learned in class, but more so, it’s good for them to talk to people about what they’ve done and be really proud of it,” she said.
Students experimented on a variety of subjects ranging from growing conditions for plants and the ideal height for egg drops, to the absorbency of paper towels and the boiling time for Kool-Aid compared to water.
Participants were evaluated twice by past and current staff and faculty members from Minnesota West Community and Technical College. The judges for Thursday’s event were Rick Dalrymple, Amber Luinenburg, Beth Bents, Kile Behrends and Heidi Heckenlaible.
Aptly named “Halfway Around the World,” sixth-grader Kelly Newman’s project compared growing conditions for pinto bean seeds in varying climates countries apart.
She said since her father, Robert, is a U.S. military personnel stationed in Kuwait City, Kuwait, she wanted to know what would help or hurt the growing of pinto beans in Wilmont and Kuwait City.
She mailed the seeds to her father, and they planted the seeds on the same day in January. The father-daughter pair recorded their weekly findings and communicated via Skype to exchange information.
“It took mine about seven weeks to get this project done,” she said. “At first I thought it would grow better in Kuwait because it was not so cold there, but I found out that because of their frequent sandstorms, mine grew better.”
In the process, she learned about the growing seasons, climate and the amount of annual rainfall in Kuwait City.
Fellow sixth-grader Ben Koepsell discovered not only does Kool-Aid boil faster than water does, but the tropical-flavored beverage boils in 4.01 minutes – the shortest time compared to the cherry, grape, orange and strawberry varieties.
“I thought it was cool to learn that even though I tried with more Kool-Aid, it boiled faster than water did,” Koepsell said, adding he chose the experiment because he wanted a project he could have fun with. “You would think if I had more Kool-Aid, it would boil slower.”
Judges evaluated the students primarily on the use of scientific methods.
“I don’t want them to be nervous, so I try to be friendly and non-critical,” Dalrymple said, who recently retired as an instructor at Minnesota West.
Community members were in attendance at the science fair at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Winners will be listed in next Saturday’s edition of the Daily Globe.
Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at 376-7321.