Riverview Elementary science fair draws record-breaking number of participantsRiverview Elementary School third grader Liam Barnett thought maybe he’d try to do his science project on how fast sound travels, but he found it was just a little too hard to form his own hypothesis. So instead, he decided to see if sound traveled faster in hot air, or cold. Barnett was one of 176 Riverview Elementary School students who signed up for the annual science fair Feb. 22
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Riverview Elementary School third grader Liam Barnett thought maybe he’d try to do his science project on how fast sound travels, but he found it was just a little too hard to form his own hypothesis. So instead, he decided to see if sound traveled faster in hot air, or cold.
He thought cold. He formed his hypothesis around that, and went to work with his dad. The only thing was, he found out his hypothesis was wrong. After conducting his experiments, he learned that sound travels faster in hot air.
Barnett was one of 176 Riverview Elementary School students who signed up for the annual science fair Feb. 22. Because some students partnered up, there were 137 projects registered at the school this year.
There were a handful of students who did not show up with projects on the big day, according to first grade teacher Crysti Dufon, who organized this year’s science fair. That was to be expected. But what she had not expected was the number of students who would show interest in the first place.
The science fair was mentioned a couple of times at family events during the school year. The school had a science night where parents and students could work on experiments together, and it was promoted through the classes at the school. The hope, Dufon said, was to increase the interest in participation.
Apparently, the efforts worked. The science fair was open to kids in grades K-5. Students in kindergarten through second grade were asked to do displays of something with a scientific theme. The older students had to do full projects, which included all parts of the scientific process, from forming a hypothesis to conducting experiments and tracking results to determining whether their hypothesis was correct.
“It really was a great surprise to see this many kids,” Dufon said.
That many projects to be judged meant there were lots of hypotheses to prove. One group’s project was to create a video game for the blind. One group determined which brand of diaper held the most moisture and another looked at the life cycle of a frog. There was even an experiment to determine the most popular color of M&Ms.
Students could do projects individually, or in groups of up to three. Each project was judged by three judges. The judges were volunteers from the community and high school science classes.
Barnett worked on his project with his dad, but he had everything down pat for his presentation. He brought props and offered judges the chance to hear the difference for themselves.
So, does he have plans to become a scientist one day?
“Probably,” he said.
The top 10 distinguished projects go on to regional competition in Mankato at the end of April.