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Launching science fair excitement

Fourth grade science fair winners: Zoey M., Katelyn G. and Taylor S. won first place for their “Physics in Aviation” demonstration. Barrett R. and Calvin R. took second place with “The Evaporation Race” experiment and Cameron R. clinched third place for his demonstration called “How does music affect an animal’s behavior.”


Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) school held its 12th annual science fair this spring. Students got excited weeks before the fair with grade level science demonstrations. Kindergarten students had several volunteers come into their classrooms to do demonstrations about diffusion, capillary action and sublimation. Second graders witnessed demonstrations that related to their Earth science curriculum, including earthquakes, volcanoes and pH.

Fourth grade dad Jeff Gamon launched real rockets while students used altitude trackers and measured angles on the field to calculate the rocket heights. Jeff volunteered a lot of time and shared his expertise with students. He kept an eye on the weather and worked closely with South Metro Fire Rescue to get required permits for rocket launching. The day before the launch, he spent time inside the classroom teaching students relevant lessons and theories, so they were ready for height calculations.

Jeff, who has a longtime love of STEM which ignited from the enthusiasm of his fifth grade science teacher, is a mechanical engineer by trade. He and his launch team had four rockets in two sizes for the demonstration. The first and last smaller ones went about 100 feet in the air. The second and third rockets, both larger, went significantly higher. “They went VERY high; so high, the recovery team could not find them. It was obvious the kids loved this event, with all the gasps, oohhhs and ahhs,” Jeff said.

Fifth grade had a panel of science professions come and discuss how they use science in the real world.

Other school-wide science demonstrations were held during the solar eclipse, with the intent of building science excitement for the upcoming fair. Volunteers made elephant toothpaste, launched air pressure rockets and attempted to explode a watermelon with rubber bands. Jeff also set up a telescope and captured some amazing photographs from BRE.

Students submitted nearly 100 science projects, with 140 budding scientists participating.

First, second and third place winners were announced in each grade level. Winners received a certificate and medal. The judges were very impressed at every grade level, and especially fifth grade. Winners were: Kindergarten – Brady C. and Graham T. for their “wormtastic” experiment. First grade – A “floating train” demonstration by Dallas M. Second grade – Brody G. did a demonstration about “bioluminescence versus biofluorescence.” Third grade – Sebastian F. created a demonstration called “Iron Extractor.” Fourth grade – Katelyn G., Taylor S. and Zoey M. gave a “Physics in Aviation” demonstration. Fifth grade – Amalia S., Sarah K., and Suhana S. created an experiment called “Celestial Seasonings: Space A.I. is our cup of tea! A space exploration image classification experiment using artificial intelligence.”  Congratulations to all who participated.

“Wormtastic” was the first place winning experiment. Brady C. and Graham T. set out to learn what worms like to eat. Their hypothesis was sugar, but their experiment showed that worms actually prefer starches more.


By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Sarah Hembree Ramos



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