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DCS Montessori students host CSI Fair

Pictured top:  It’s all about survival for Cade Varella, whose supplies for disaster survival included food, fire starting materials, and a good luck charm.

Pictured center:  Bella Wheeler was a germ detective, inspecting surfaces throughout her home and culturing the surfaces to determine which harbored the most contaminants.
Pictured bottom:  Fourth grader Nikki Flocco held a model of the Cheyenne Owl Woman, who she studied as part of the DCS Montessori CSI Fair.

Article and photos by Lisa Crockett

Hearing the letters C, S and I together usually conjures images out of a television crime drama.  But for students at DCS Montessori school (DCSM), those letters stand for Colorado history, Science, and personal Interest.  A recent event at the school allowed fourth, fifth and sixth grade students to showcase their work in these areas and then share their findings with fellow students and other visitors.

The CSI Fair, held last month at the school, featured everything from scale model replicas of Colorado historic sites to detailed tests of the elasticity of different brands of chewing gum.

Fourth grader Nikki Flocco focused her research on the Cheyenne Owl Woman, a historic figure in Colorado’s history.  The Owl Woman, a Native American from the Cheyenne tribe, was married to early Colorado settler William Bent.

“I started wondering who this woman really was,” said Flocco.  “She was really important to Colorado and I learned that she viewed her marriage to William Bent as a way to make peace in the world.”

On the science front, fifth grader Bella Wheeler set out to determine where germs lived at her home in Castle Pines.  Testing various surfaces around the house, ranging from the inside of her mouth to a doorknob, Wheeler grew cultures in Petri dishes for 12 days.  

“I thought the television remote would harbor the most germs,” said Wheeler.  “But it turned out to be the toilet.  It was interesting to see what happened when I did this test around the house.”

Sixth graders were given some latitude in choosing their subject material for the fair, simply given direction to report on a personal interest and prepare a display and a report on their chosen subject matter.  Cade Varella is especially interested in extreme survival, and gathered diverse materials to help her stay alive and even comfortable in adverse conditions.

“Nature trumps mankind,” said Varella.  “So it’s important to be prepared with fire, shelter and supplies if you find yourself in a tough situation.”

Varella’s presentation included a kit containing gum, a fishhook, a tea bag, a safety whistle and a safety pin.  It wasn’t all business, though; Varella also displayed a favorite piece of jewelry.  “It’s a good luck charm,” she said.  “I think it would be nice to have it along.”



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