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Published March 19, 2009, 12:00 AM

Prairie Science Fair commences Saturday

WORTHINGTON — Shore up the paper-mâché volcanoes. Prairie Elementary will host its first-ever science fair Saturday at the school gymnasium.

By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — Shore up the paper-mâché volcanoes. Prairie Elementary will host its first-ever science fair Saturday at the school gymnasium.

“We just put it together from the ground up,” said Prairie teacher Stephanie Fletcher of Principal Paul Besel’s idea to organize the event.

“A science fair is a really good opportunity to allow students to work on the scientific method (question, hypothesis, experiment and conclusion) and explore a whole bunch of different areas that science offers,” said Besel, who first began his work with science fairs as a judge when he was a college student.

“It’s another way for us to use our gifted and talented funding, because it does give an opportunity for kids to show their talent in a different way,” he continued.

Parents and other community members will be able to view student projects from 11 a.m. to noon, when the judging has been completed.

“It gives them a challenge outside of school,” said Fletcher, who is coordinating the event. The students had two after-school workshops during which they could work on their projects and were supposed to get additional help at home.

A total of 53 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, most working individually, will participate in the fair. Projects are varied, with some students studying the solar system, or how muscles work or even making ice cream.

Fifth-graders Meredith Moore and Lauren Martin made homemade bath fizzies and timed how long they fizzled in three liquids: water, milk and orange juice.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” admitted Moore.

Water spent the least time fizzing, while the orange juice fizzed fast at first then slowed when the fizzy had almost dissolved.

And the milk?

“It smelled really, really bad,” reported Martin with a giggle. The girls plan to re-create their experiment at the fair and may even have a few bath fizzy samples on hand for visitors.

A panel of 16 judges — teachers, college students, school board members and other community members — will evaluate the projects based on use of scientific method, scientific knowledge, presentation and creativity, and awards will be presented at noon.

Besel is impressed by the things students have learned in preparation for the fair.

“It’s only going to get bigger as the years go on,” he said.

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