Every great idea starts somewhere. Scientists spend years working toward a solution to a problem in labs and natural environments. Sometimes those great ideas that impact the world are discoveries that happen by accident such as with penicillin, Post-It-Notes, x-ray machines, and pacemakers. Sometimes good old science and investigative research lead us to findings that forge changes that help medicine, daily life, or even our planet. It is with that love for discovery that our NSCS Beverly campus students embarked upon their 2019 Science Fair.
On the evening of February 11, 2019, family, friends and faculty were treated to an evening dedicated to the pursuit of scientific discovery. Beginning in the hall of the lower chapel, Mrs. Heinz delighted the crowd with a spirited trivia game with questions about the science topics the students researched for the past few weeks and months. Each grade focused on a different area of study and every single project showed hard work and dedication.
The Kindergarteners focused their science studies on, “The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.” As a class, they examined the effects that the sun has on paper as well as the impact that the sun has on plants. They made educated hypotheses and followed their experiment through with data and a conclusion about how the sun can fade paper and help plants grow. In addition to their experiments, the class made paper mache planets and drawings of constellations. Individually each student created a trifold poster board about their planet including pertinent information regarding size, location, and characteristics that set it apart from the other planets. This was an amazing night for our early learners explaining their studies and how much they learned.
The 1st and 2nd graders studied, “The Fabulous Five Senses.” It was easy to tell right away that the students, dressed in lab coats and goggles, we ready to captivate their audience with experiments. The aroma of popcorn and tastes of sweet, salty and sour items were just a few of the ways that these students “showed-what-they-know” about sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. They even examined the mind-blowing McGuirk Effect. This discovery shows how we all use visual speech information. It involves showing a person’s lips making the shape of one sound—like “bah”—while the audio is actually the person saying “fah.” What’s interesting is that your brain changes what you “hear” based on what you see. The students did a marvelous job explaining their individual projects and taking parents through the experiments they tried in class.
The 3rd and 4th graders looked at, “The Engineering Process.” The engineering design process includes a series of steps that engineers follow to come up with a solution to a problem. The engineering process is different from the scientific method in that it deals with designing, building, and testing rather than merely making observations and doing experiments. Our students chose different topics within the umbrella topic of engineering design and displayed their research on trifold. Some of their deep research dealt with building bridges, objects that sink or float, energy, heat energy, colors, winds and turbulence, temperature and climate. Each student examined their topic while collecting data and conducting experiments. Some even made prototypes of their experiments. They learned so much about their topics that many plan to continue their studies on their own!
Finally, the 5th and 6th graders chose a topic that is near and dear to hearts, “How to Save the Coral Reefs.” Entering the classroom, one would think they you were entering an actual coral reef with the underwater lighting and seaweed floating from the ceiling. Each student took a look at the different coral reefs that are around the globe such as the Great Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef. They posed questions such as: what are coral reefs, what is harming them, and how can humans help stop the pollution of the ecosystem that is dependent upon these environments. They also took a close look at the bleaching of coral reefs and how this could impact our Earth over the course of many years. Our most mature learners showed poise and a wealth of knowledge as they presented their findings.
In all, the night was a wonderful way for our students to show off what they have been learning and how hard they have been working. They should be very proud of their efforts. The NSCS community is proud to call them our own.