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Young scientists abound at Hilltop Elementary

May 30, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

On May 23, Hilltop Elementary School held its annual science fair for the fourth grade. The entire gymnasium was set up with tables and displays showing experiments ranging from gas-filled basketballs to germ-finding black lights.

"We've been doing this for many years at Hilltop," said Suzen Woolley, fourth grade science teacher.

Woolley took over the annual science fair this year. She said it actually started on the first day of school.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Hilltop fourth grader Andrew DeRosa “bounces into action” in his science experiment that was featured at the school’s annual science fair on May 23. His experiment was to test the effects of different gases in the bounce-ability of a basketball. His parents, Michael and Phyllis DeRosa, attended the science open house where Andrew showed that helium made the biggest bounce.

"Right off, the students learned all about the scientific process," she said. "Then we used that throughout the year."

For the science fair, the students were given a packet on what they had to do to present their experiments. They had to show the scientific process and the results on a tri-fold board.

Woolley encouraged the students to find something that really interested them, then use that subject for their experiments. Some of the boys took on projects that were aligned with a favorite sport. Andrew DeRosa loved basketball and decided to an experiment on what gas could be used in a basketball to give it the highest bounce. He used straight air, nitrogen and helium. Each ball was bounced several times to measure the bounce. When all was said and done, the helium filled basketball was number one.

"We had it filled at Party Max and they asked to be informed of the outcome, probably so they could sell more helium," said Andrew's father, Michael DeRosa.

Among some of the displays from the girl scientists was the project of Maddie Hammond. She wanted to find out which hand soap worked the best at removing germs. She first used a Glo Gel fluid and a black light to expose the germs on a person's hand. Then after a quick wash in one of the test liquids, she repeated the process to see how much of the germs were removed.

"The lemon soap did the best," she said. "Hand sanitizer was the worse."

There were a good share of plant projects at the fair as well. Hannah Kelly wanted to find out which fertilizer was best for her sunflower crop. She took five fertilizers and placed three seeds in a cup of dirt with each applied. After several weeks, she found that coffee grounds and water offered the best growth and the worse was a store-bought product. She said the coffee grounds worked best because sunflowers love acidic soil.

All the science fair projects were interesting in their own right and the fair was open all day for parents to visit and see the work their fourth-grader had done. The students also manned their project to describe the work they did to achieve the outcome. Some projects were done in a day, while others took weeks to complete. In the end, the students demonstrated that they had mastered the art of the scientific process.



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