September 25, 2017
School & Youth
68° Scattered Clouds
  • Joshua Randall posed with his project, the Lemon Battery.
    Gracie Fairfax
    Joshua Randall posed with his project, the Lemon Battery.
  • Brendan Abell posed with his project, which examined how temperature affects the bounce of a tennis ball, lacrosse ball and basketball.
    Gracie Fairfax
    Brendan Abell posed with his project, which examined how temperature affects the bounce of a tennis ball, lacrosse ball and basketball.
  • Brayden Roventini presented his project, the Spin Art Bot, to a panel of judges.
    Gracie Fairfax
    Brayden Roventini presented his project, the Spin Art Bot, to a panel of judges.
  • Judges (l-r) Donald Selvy, Kim McAllister and Jamie Miller evaluated a project using iPad evaluation forms.
    Gracie Fairfax
    Judges (l-r) Donald Selvy, Kim McAllister and Jamie Miller evaluated a project using iPad evaluation forms.
  • One student’s project studied whether bubble gum or mint-flavored gum lasts longer.
    Gracie Fairfax
    One student’s project studied whether bubble gum or mint-flavored gum lasts longer.

Creativity Abounds At Jones Elementary STEM Fair

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
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April 5, 2017

All-in-one toothbrushes, bubble gum and cupcakes were just a few of the topics covered in this year’s STEM fair at Jones Elementary. Participation in the fair was required for fifth grade and optional for third and fourth grade. Younger grades also contributed projects to the fair, whether through whole class projects or individual projects.

“They’re taking their learning from the classroom and applying it,” lead science and third-grade teacher Shannon Leichling said.

Students chose between a traditional science fair project and an engineering project, which included an invention. Those who chose the traditional science fair route thought of scientific questions to form a hypothesis and then tested their hypothesis to draw conclusions. Those who chose the engineering route looked at real-world problems and created inventions to solve the problems.

One of the students came up with an alternative approach to an automatic door.

“One of the judges [saw the automatic door project] and said, ‘This is such a great idea because I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on a new door. This student should patent this,’” Leichling said.

Volunteers came in to judge the projects. Each project is judged three times; then, the points are averaged. Each grade level has a first-, second- and third-place winner. The first-place winner from each grade level goes on to the regional science and engineering fair.

“I liked how when things didn’t work, they came up with creative ways to do it again,” judge Donald Selvy said. “They told us about how many different times they tried something and the ways they changed it. They always came up with a good answer at the end.”

The engineering projects were judged based on problem, design plan, construction, testing, creativity and presentation. The traditional science projects were judged on the question, hypothesis, procedures, data log/observation log, graphs/charts, the analysis of data and the conclusion.

One of the memorable projects for judge Kim McAllister was a butter stick. “It was just so creative. They took an empty glue stick and filled it with butter so you can just spread butter on your toast,” McAllister said. “It’s like a portable butter stick. They really sold me on that one.”

Joshua Randall created a lemon battery. He used lemons, wires as a negative charge and nails as a positive charge to light a small light bulb. He found the idea on YouTube and thought it would be fun to try it himself. “Lemons and any kind of fruit that has acid can light a light bulb,” said Joshua, citing his newfound knowledge.

Brendan Abell investigated the effects of temperature on the bounce of a tennis ball, basketball and lacrosse ball. He bounced each ball on a concrete surface in both cold and warm temperatures. The warm temperature was 69 degrees while the cold temperature was 33 degrees. One piece of data he found was that the basketball bounced seven inches lower in the colder temperature.

“[I learned] that the temperature really matters in sports. It affects the equipment you use too,” Brendan said.

Some students attempted to solve personal struggles with their projects.

“I always want to do spin art because it’s really cool and my mom always says no because it splatters,” Brayden Roventini said.

So Brayden set out to create a spin art bot using markers instead of paint.

“I thought it was going to be really complex but it’s really simple,” Brayden said. “You just need an unbalanced force.”

He created his bot using a cup, four markers, a nut, a hot-glue gun, paper, a toy motor, a AAA battery and a drill. He tried adding hot glue to the shaft to unbalance the weight and it wasn’t initially successful, but when he added a nut on the shaft, he created an unbalanced weight, which moved the shaft.

Leichling enjoyed seeing the variety of creative projects the students presented. “To see what they’re motivated by outside of school, it helps me come up with ideas of how to motivate them in the classroom,” Leichling said.
 

STEM Fair Winners

Third Grade

Invention Convention

1st Place-Scott Shushan

2nd Place-Jake Austin

3rd Place-Charlotte Ellis &

Annie Sitzmann

Traditional Science Fair

1st Place-Matthias Simonsen

2nd Place-Brooklyn LaBrier & Annabelle Ulak

3rd Place-Devlan Collier

Honorable Mention-Zachary Simpkins

Fourth Grade

Invention Convention

1st Place-Julian Malizzi

2nd Place-Conner Smith

Traditional Science Fair

1st Place-Nadine Maggio

2nd Place-Lily McCallister

3rd Place-Kate Roberts

Honorable Mention-Ella McCarthy

Fifth Grade

Invention Convention

1st Place-Evan Parsons &

Gavin Fridley

2nd Place-Spencer Feldman

3rd Place-Quinn Owen

Honorable Mention-Julia Sharpe

Honorable Mention-Jocelyn Simmons & Jessica Alden

Traditional Science Fair

1st Place-Andrew Glesmann

2nd Place-Finn Ackerman

3rd Place-Nora Bodkin

Honorable Mention– Charlotte Marriner & Kaitlyn Cochran

Honorable Mention-Anna Reilly

Regional Competition

3rd Grade-Matthias Simonsen

4th Grade-Nadine Maggio

5th Grade-Andrew Glesmann


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