McPolin hosts its first-annual science fair
The smell of smoke hung in the air and Principal Lori O’Connor said she hoped the sprinkler system wouldn’t be triggered.
On Wednesday night McPolin Elementary School hosted their first-annual science fair as part of their Innovations in Science Program.
Last year McPolin parents became concerned when the Park City School District eliminated the science specialist position, said mother Tania Knauer. Looking for a solution she, along with McPolin teacher Mike Holland, applied for a grant from the Park City Education Foundation for Innovations in Science.
"There’s been a lot of articles about parents wanting to bring science back into the schools, especially in elementary school," said Knauer.
They were given the money and developed a program similar to the Masterpieces in Art. It provides teachers with all the materials they need to conduct a specific science experiment such as learning what happens to seeds when deprived of basic elements such as sunlight, soil and water.
Knauer said the program was created to help support the curriculum already in place, and to strengthen the science education McPolin students receive.
As part of reinforcing the importance of science, Knauer, Mindy Holbrook and Stacy Dymalski organized a science fair.
Nearly half of the students at McPolin created exhibits for the science fair, and approximately 120 were displayed. Judges evaluated each project and students got a participation ribbon along with a Coldstone Creamery gift certificate.
Each group or individual that participated was entered in a drawing for prizes.
"My goal anyway was to get the kids excited about science," said Holbrook.
Dylmalski said she didn’t want to make the event a competition so science could remain fun.
"We just didn’t want kids to feel the pressure of having to beat their neighbor," Dylmalski said.
Logan Stout, a third-grader in Kim Jensen’s class had to do his science fair project a little differently. Jensen required all of his students to invent simple machines for a class project called the Invention Convention and display them at the fair.
Logan invented a balloon popper, designed to pop a water balloon.
"A lot of people, when I brought it, asked me when I was going to pop it," he said, adding that when the big moment came he drew a large crowd of spectators.
Logan learned a lot about the way simple machines work in addition to some other lessons.
"I learned that if you make a balloon popper it’s a really good father-son project," he said.
Pointing to his wet pant leg he also observed that you should never stand too close to a water balloon.
He created his project with a sense of humor. On the small model he wrote "stand here" under the water balloon.
Fourth grader Gwen Blue did her project on saving the Rainforest. She created a neon green flier for fellow students about how it is being destroyed and what they can do to help, including writing a letter to corporations that consume a lot of paper and ask them to change their business practices.
"They can maybe use less paper, less gasoline and plastic and use tree free paper," she said explaining other ways people can help.
She said the rainforest was a valuable resource people should take care of.
"Lots of things come from the rainforest like coffee, pineapple, chocolate and vanilla."
Gwen added that many animals live there and should be protected. The animals are her favorite thing about the Rrainforest, an area she became familiar with through books when she was learning to read.
Participation in the science fair was optional for Gwen.
"I just thought it would be fun to see other kids projects and see what kind of characters they are," she said.
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