Students Seek Answers through Science Fair

(Gibsonia, PA – November 2016) Do larger dogs run faster than smaller dogs? Does the shape of a paper airplane determine how long it will stay in the air?  When placed around a watermelon, just how many rubber bands will cause it to explode? Which liquid has the best ability to dissolve cotton candy? These are just a few questions that students inquired about during the 2016 Annual Science Fair at Richland Elementary Fair.

Students who participated put the scientific process into action step-by-step from posing a question, researching a topic, constructing a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis through an experiment or research, analyzing data and drawing a conclusion and communicating the results.

So if you were wondering, third grader Kaylee Bang discovered that bigger dogs cannot always run faster than smaller dogs.

“It was surprising,” she said. “You would think bigger dogs would run faster.”

Third grader James Amato said that he discovered that the shape is important to paper airplanes.
“I was surprised,” said James Amato. “The tailed plane stayed the longest in the air. I thought the cross wing would.”

So how many rubber bands caused the watermelon to explode? Third grader Megan Thel said it takes 370 rubber bands wrapped around the watermelon to cause it to explode.

When it comes to cotton candy, most would think that the soda would cause the treat to dissolve.  Giuliana DeRenzo said that she discovered that cotton candy allows liquid to flow upward and the soda caused the cotton candy to fizz.

Finally, third grader Isabella DeRenzo wanted to find out if the amount of water in a bottle would impact chances of it being flipped and landing up right.  She discovered that a bottle filled just a third of the way flips the best.

“It has just enough water for the center of gravity to pull the bottle and rotate it,” said Isabella DeRenzo.

Each student followed the scientific process to research, collect data and draw a conclusion.

Principal Gene Nicastro said that the program takes science beyond the classroom and is a project that can be embraced by the whole family since students rely on siblings and parents to help participate in experiments.

Parent volunteers enjoy helping students develop ideas. To encourage students, parent volunteers went to the classrooms to teach students how to employ the scientific project by showing them an actual experiment. 

"Their extra effort to connect with students really paid off, which was evident in the quality of projects and number of participants," said PTO Science Co-Chair Renata Pimenta Godoy. "It was very interesting to see how the students followed the scientific methodology and conducted their projects the same way that scientists do, Another interesting observation was that we had 4 projects focused on analyzing how much sugar are in different drinks, showing that kids are aware of nutrition and heath eating."

This year, Richland had 86 students participate. In addition to Mrs. Pimenta Godoy,  Susan Hong-Bang served as PTO Science Fair Co-Chair.