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Fun with science

Barnum students participated in a science fair Thursday, March 15. 1 / 5
Ali Muhawesh explains his bridge support experiment for his science fair project at Barnum Elementary School on Thursday, March 15. Photos by Jamie Lund/Pine Journal2 / 5
Barnum students Levi Anderson and Odin Warren teamed up to work on their science project. The boys wanted to see which parachute material has the most air resistance. 3 / 5
Sixth-grade student Saniya Edwards sits in front of her project about optical illusions on Thursday, March 15, in the Barnum cafeteria. According to her research, age affects how quickly a person can see the illusions. 4 / 5
Barnum fourth-grade student Katrina Petersen proudly holds a lava lamp project she made for the science fair last week. She was excited she developed the idea for the project, created her board and made the lamps without assistance. 5 / 5

What do bending chicken bones, cupcakes and ice fishing have in common?

They were all ideas for science projects at Barnum Elementary School on Thursday, March 15.

"The fair is to promote knowledge of the scientific method scientists use to test experiments," fourth-grade teacher Paula Baier said. "It's also a great home project to encourage families to create an experiment together."

Fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students gathered in the cafeteria and proudly displayed their projects and results for parents and other students to view.

The project is a class requirement for the students and it fulfills a state science standard.

While many students had parental help with their projects, one fourth-grade student was proud to complete her project on her own.

"I did it all myself," Katrina Petersen said. "I cut it and glued it and mixed it."

Petersen said she got the idea for her lava lamp project from the internet, as did the majority of her classmates. Students searched specific sites for ideas as well as science experiment books, or came up with their own ideas, according to Baier.

Petersen added that it was her idea to add glitter in the oils inside the lamps.

She tried coconut oil for the first experiment. She wrote on her display board: "First I poured the oil into the cup, then I filled it up the rest of the way with water and last I put the five drops of food color in. This one did not work; it just turned chunky."

Petersen also used vegetable oil, which she used assistance to pour from a heavy bottle. That oil was too dark for a lava lamp. The baby oil, however, was the clear winner.

"I like the baby oil best because it is super-smooth," Petersen wrote on her display board. She said she was surprised because she had hypothesized the baby oil would work the best, and it did.

"It was really fun," Petersen said. She advised that it was also really messy.

Fifth-graders Odin Warren and Levi Anderson paired up to see which type of parachute has the most air resistance. They hypothesized the plastic one would work best because it was nonporous.

The materials for the project included a plastic bag, cotton T-shirt, coffee filter and yarn to attach their Lego figures.

Warren explained that his father stood on a tall stool at home and dropped the parachutes while Warren timed the descent and Anderson recorded the times.

The tissue paper parachute averaged 1.39 seconds, the cotton parachute was 1.17 seconds and the plastic worked best with the average of 1.61 seconds.

Sixth-grader Saniya Edwards chose optical illusions as her project.

She based her project on the question, "Does age affect how you see/process optical illusions?"

"I like looking at optical illusions," Edwards said. She explained she showed several people of various ages the three pictures and charted which age saw the most.

One picture showed a rabbit/duck. Her conclusion read: "People 21+ saw the rabbit first, but 20 and under saw the duck first, then the rabbit."

According to her research, the people who see the duck first are apparently more creative.

Another photo showed black and white animals layered inside and around each other. Five pop out immediately, but upon closer examination, there are 12.

Edwards said that according to her research, the more animals a person sees quickly, the higher his or her IQ.

Another unique project among the fourth-grade students was testing the strength between building a bridge using triangle or square support systems.

Ali Muhawesh said his parents helped him with his project.

His favorite part was building the little bridges out of dowels. According to Muhawesh, the square support bridge held 11.5 pounds, while the triangle support bridge held an impressive 14 pounds.