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Students put science skills on display at Kids' Expo



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Students, friends and staff at New Hampton Community School watched as one by one eggs in protective containers engineered by students were dropped from a fire department ladder truck during last week's Kids Expo. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 09, 2019
NEW HAMPTON – Kids Expo at New Hampton Community School took place last week, an event where young students got to display some of their newfound knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math.

Sponsored by the NHCS's Parent/Teacher Organization, Nora Foster said that while the children had projects to work on ahead of the event, there were also some onsite challenges for them this year.

For a Catapult Challenge, participants had three weeks to come up with ways to launch a marshmallow as far as they could. A Recycling Challenge also had them inventing means to create something from recycled materials that they could wear, such as shoes or hats.

On the night of the Expo, however, there was more to do for those who chose to participate.

First up was a Popsicle Airplane Challenge. Using materials that were supplied by the PTO that night they had to think quick and come up with an airplane that would fly.

Next up was the Balloon Tower Challenge, which many of the students seemed to enjoy. Their task was to construct a freestanding tower of balloons and it wasn't as easy as it sounded. Fifth grader Ava Kosakowski enjoyed both of those challenges though.

"This was my first time doing all of this and I liked the Balloon and Airplane challenges but the Balloon Challenge was really a lot of fun," she said.

Logan Baker also liked the Balloon Challenge, saying that while it was hard to keep the tower standing, he still managed to get it done and came in second place for his efforts.

The event everyone was "all-in" for though was the Egg Drop Competition. Entrants in that event had three weeks to come up with a design that would prevent an egg placed inside their handcrafted vessel from cracking when dropped from high above.

New Hampton and Bristol Fire Departments assisted in that event, which took place on first the lawn and then the pavement in front of the school. Fire department personnel climbed to the top of their extended ladder truck and one by one hauled up a bucket with each Egg Drop entry inside. They then held each entry carefully off the ladder and, after the excited crowd below did the count down, let them drop to the ground.

Some drops ended with a groan as a loud splat was heard when the egg containers hit the ground. Others were met with cheers and applause as the student engineers uncovered their egg, still intact.

Third grader Madison Ahlquist created a container for her egg that was filled with Styrofoam and floated down beneath a parachute made from a square of tarp. She said she felt the parachute would be her key to success. Classmate Ryan Blais also liked the idea of a parachute for his egg. The egg was tucked away in foam and a plastic cup with a parachute created out of an old rain poncho.

Their fellow classmate Logan though thought outside the box by heading to YouTube where he came up with the idea to include popcorn as a cushion. His egg was carefully seated inside a portion of a well-wrapped cardboard egg crate then placed inside an old rubber ball, which was then stuffed with popcorn as added insulation. Another success.

Those that did not break in the first round of lawn competition then waited as the fire engine was repositioned for the eggs containers to land on the pavement. While Ava discovered that her pyramid of drinking straws and lots of tape to protect her egg worked fine on the grass, on the pavement, it was not a success. Lesson learned for future Expos, she said.

Still others like Logan's made it through both rounds and each time cries of "Success!" were heard as students unwrapped their eggs.

NHCS Principal Annmarie Holloran said she thought it was "amazing" that the PTO would offer such an opportunity each year to the students and their families, helping to broaden their educational horizons.

"There is so much excitement, creativity and knowledge gained through this event that allows our students to grow," she said.

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