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Castleberry Fairs

Budding scientists display their findings at BES Science Fair



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Elementary school youngsters test out fourth and fifth grade science fair projects, including Lilian Colby’s “Amazing Sound” project, which won Best Display for Fifth grade. (Ashley Finethy) (click for larger version)
April 25, 2012
BRISTOL—Aspiring fourth and fifth grade students at Bristol Elementary School presented their science projects to judges, teachers, students and community members on April 19.

"This is an annual thing," said fifth grade teacher Elisa MacDonald. "We've been doing this for 10 or 11 years now,"

There was no lack of diversity on display during this year's Science Fair, with science projects looking to answer questions such as which nail polish dries the fastest, what wintergreen candy creates a spark in the dark, can I make a magnet levitate, and how do I make an egg float?

"We give them a lot of guidelines, and they have due dates all along the way, so we are checking on them on a weekly basis on each section of the project," said fourth grade teacher Selen Gordon. "This is one of their first experiences with a long term project."

With more than 100 projects on display in the multipurpose room, the science fair is a lot of work for both students and teachers, but faculty doesn't mind.

"It is so rewarding to see them work from day one, and work to produce a final project," said MacDonald.

With these youngsters getting the feel of long term projects and learning about the scientific method, discovering a project doesn't work as expected can be discouraging, but fourth and fifth grade teachers take this as an opportunity to point out to students that that is part of science.

"If their experiment doesn't work, or their hypothesis is proved wrong, we just tell them that it's okay if it doesn't work out because that's part of science," said MacDonald. "We just try to encourage them to keep trying."

With a new science program put in place about three years ago, the science fair continues to help enrich the curriculum and encourage students to get excited about science.

"I think our kids have gained a lot of science knowledge through this, and recently, with this new science program that has been in place for the past three years, I think the kids have learned a lot from it," said Gordon.

The faculty weren't the only ones excited about the science fair; students seemed encouraged and inspired, as well.

Young scientist Mathew Libby explained how rewarding his science project, to see which wintergreen candies gave off the biggest spark when crushed, was.

"My favorite part was testing it out to see if it did spark, and then, when I saw it actually did, I was really excited," said Libby.

Libby had searched the Internet for an experiment that would catch his eye, and would be something he was sure none of his peers would have.

"I was looking on the Internet, and there were so many Web sites with science experiments, but none of them caught my eye," said Libby. "I did a ton of looking around, and I found this experiment that said that when you break Wintergreen candies, it makes a spark or a mini explosion, so I thought that would be pretty interesting."

Libby's project, Spark in the Dark, won best display for fifth grade. Several other awards were given out in an award ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

For fifth grade: Mackenzie Davis won Mrs. Robie's Teacher's Award with "Which Remover is the Best!", Lilly Wright won Mrs. MacDonald's Teacher's Award for "Melting Ice," Mason Dalphonse won The Scientist award for his project "Got Dirt?", Megan Stafford won Most Original Idea with "Chromatography." Jacob Pfister won Best Oral Presentation with "Floating Parachutes," and Chris Opitz also won Best Oral Presentation with "How Plant Growth is Affected By Soda and Water," and Maddie Beddia won First Place Overall with "Moldy Bread!"

For fourth grade: Evelyn Cutting won Mrs. Gordon's Teacher's Award with "Testing Colors," as did Ezekial Richardson with "Double Trouble," Daniel Rosales received Mrs. Switzer's Teacher's Award with "Liquid Freeze," Jarod Cilley won The Scientist Award with "Boat Shapes," Kalib Clifton received The Most Original Award for "Memomonics Rock Your Mind."

Best oral presentation was given to Tuan Nguyen for "What else Can A Light bulb Power," Lilian Colby won Best Display with "Amazing Sound" and first place over all went to Lily Hewitt for her project "Can I Make a Paperclip Levitate Using Only Magnets?"

An award was also presented to Chris Opitz for creating the design for this year's t shirts.

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