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April 13, 2013

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE: Elementary science fair shows students’ work

NEW ALBANY — An aspiring structural engineer hypothesized that a bridge with more support beams could handle more weight. After building four models, Trevor Warster found out he was right.

All he needed was a set of K’NEX and a little help from his mom.

Students in the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. participated in the district’s Elementary Science Fair at Scribner Middle School earlier this week. Science fairs were held throughout the district last month. Each elementary school sent one student per grade level to the districtwide fair at Scribner.

Warster said the final model he built — a Warren Truss bridge — supported the most weight of any bridge model he constructed. But he said it wasn’t easy getting to that point.

“The hardest part was just putting the bridges together,” Warster said. But a helping hand from his mother helped him test after test. “I’m not used to someone helping me, but it went a lot faster.”

Michele Adams, science fair coordinator, said though there’s a strong focus on math and language arts in schools, science still plays an important role in a child’s education.

“Science is everywhere, it’s part of our everyday lives,” Adams said. “It’s important just to make good decisions, engage in intelligent conversation about our world, and science is fun. When you ask elementary students, they’ll often say science is their favorite subject. It’s more hands-on than reading and math often times.”

Michele Day, director of elementary education and Title I, said younger students enjoy science because it sets off their curiosity.

“I think that whole discovery of learning piece sparks curiosity and children want to find an answer to a question using science,” Day said. “I think there’s also that family time with parents to working on a project.”

Following the project showcase, students got recognized by the school district’s board of trustees with a medal for their participation.

Kyle Lanoue, principal at Grant Line Elementary School, said he thought the students put together a good series of projects.

“I’m really impressed with the work they did,” Lanoue said. “We get more participation every year.”

He said while school districts have a focus on math and reading, he’s glad to see those skills come together with science projects.

“There’s that naturally curious side to science with the aspect of investigation that just comes naturally to kids,” Lanoue said. “I just think the kids have done a great job.”

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