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Display encourages students to take an educated guess

Several Farmington Elementary School students have gotten the right answers on questions posted in the school's new science window.

How many cotton balls fit in a gallon jar? How much does that pumpkin weigh, in kilograms?

Those are just two of the questions kids at Farmington Elementary School are being challenged to answer if they choose to think like a scientist.

FES teacher Debbie Ruth saw a vacant display window at the school and came up with a new idea to promote science. Now she uses the window to help students practice some of the things they learn in science class in a fun way.

Now referred to as the science window, the display case is in a central part of the school where most students can pass by and see it easily.

Every week, a new challenge is posted. Students are free to take their knowledge and use it to form a good guess to answer the posted question.

"We've really had some good participation in it," Ruth said.

FES student advocate Jen Venz said the project is also helping to get students to think about science more. Last year, FES students' science scores were not where teachers and administrators would have liked, so they're trying several different techniques to improve those scores this year.

"The premise is really to get kids everywhere in the building thinking about some form of science," Venz said.

At first, a new question was posed daily, just to get the project off the ground. These days, a new one is posted every Monday. It's read over the morning announcements, too, and students can stop by the window any time to make their calculations.

Fourth grader Phillip Peterson has met -- and conquered -- the challenge.

"I think it's just a fun and interesting thing to do every week," he said. "I enjoy science a lot. It's a fun thing to do."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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