DALLAS — For one night a year, the gymnasium at the Dallas Elementary School is transformed into a celebration of science.
Approximately 180 Dallas students in Kindergarten through fifth-grade participated in the school’s annual Arlene Besecker Memorial Science Fair on March 1. Students used a variety of materials in their displays, from a demonstration of the moon’s phases using Oreo cookies to experiments that featured turtles and gerbils.
Parent Teacher Organization volunteer Kristina Coy has participated in the event for the past five years.
“This year we have a few more animals than usual,” Coy said. “They always come up with different things. There’s projects with soap, popcorn, all different things.”
One project, entitled Bye Bye Germs, used synthetic germs and a blacklight to show the difference between five, 10 and 20 seconds of hand washing. Project authors Cecily Johnston, McAuley Somers and Gianna Hoover, each 7 years old, chose the idea because it interested them the most.
“It’s really cool because you can have a gel with it, too, so you can show other people’s germs to them,” Gianna said.
When asked if she’d take part in the fair again next year, McAuley said “probably.”
Participation in the fair is on a voluntary basis. Coy said the event begins during the school day, when teachers bring their students through the fair and explore their classmates’ experiments. Later, the gymnasium opens to the public.
“It’s a great night for parents and grandparents to come and the participation is really what keeps us doing it,” Coy said. “The kids always look forward to it.”
Roman Carpenter, 11, and his 10-year-old friends Cole Johnston, Vinny Fazzino and Logan Herman decided to participate as a group after working on a K’NEX project together. They watched an online video depicting feats performed with static electricity and chose four to complete for their science fair project, Static Magic.
Roman used a PVC pipe charged with static electricity to fly a bag in the air and roll a can. Vinny tested for static electricity in different materials.
“We did a mini-project to see what material holds the most static electricity and it turned out to be a wool blanket,” Vinny said.
“He made little balls of Styrofoam and tin foil, put them under glass and ran materials over to see how they’d be pulled,” Roman elaborated.
Cole used static electricity to manipulate a stream of water, while Logan sent static electricity through copper wiring to move bits of tin foil.
The boys’ projects were part of over 100 on display at the fair. PTO member Karen Alaimo said she’s glad the event celebrates science, math and community.
“I hope that it’s fun for kids and parents,” Alaimo said. “It’s something for them all to do together, see different ideas, get hands-on, which I think the kids like.”
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