For the past month, the students at have been preparing for the Science Fair, the second annual showcase that involves students in preschool through fifth grade.
“We need more scientists,” Sandra Lefler, Holy Spirit School’s science teacher who overseas the Science Fair, said. “If they can get interested in science at this age, we hope they’ll continue in middle school and in high school.”
The younger grades work together on a project — Carol Keeney’s first grade class studying light and using flashlights to create silhouettes and Barbara Hess’ second graders studying dinosaurs and creating models. By the second grade, students are beginning to work independently on their projects, each choosing a dinosaur to study.
Third, fourth, and fifth graders chose their own project in early April and displayed the results of their work for other students, parents, and faculty to see at the Science Fair.
“They had to choose something they wanted to do, that would be fun, but they had to learn something,” Lefler said. “We followed the scientific method and their projects had to state a question that they could answer.”
Students kept journals that Lefler checked weekly to look in on their progress and offer guidance.
“I always tell them, dig a little deeper,” Lefler said. “One student wanted to learn about how her dog reacted to her, I suggested she look into stimulus and response and read about Pavlov’s Dog.”
Third grader Christian LaLanne used the internet to learn how to retrieve DNA from a strawberry and followed the steps in a video to try it for himself.
“We started by smashing the strawberry and putting it in detergent with salt,” Lalanne said. “I learned about DNA and how to get it.”
Third grader Anna Babshak decided to explore why dropping a Mentos into a Diet Coke causes an explosion. Learning about physical and chemical reactions, Babshak broke down which ingredients in the Mentos and the Coke caused it to react.
“It was interesting and fun to do,” Babshak said. “I learned that a little thing can make a big difference.”
Third grader Tehya Summers Wallace raised painted lady butterflies, watching them through the life cycles and recording the process in her journal. With the Science Fair over, she plans to release them outside.
“I wanted to learn about butterflies, I love how they look,” Summers Wallace said. “When I started, they were caterpillars and some were turning blue, I thought they were dying, but they were just starting to turn into butterflies.”
“She was telling me every day about her butterflies,” Lefler said. “She did a great job.”
[Editor's Note: This article has been updated with the correct spelling of Sandra Lefler's name.]