Where do science and fun come together? The answer is – at a science fair! There has not been a science fair at Lincroft School in over 20 years. Lincroft School PTA President Debbie Piperno spearheaded the concept of the venue and hopes it will become an annual event.
Christy Jenkins joined Ms. Piperno in the development and design of the fair. This work began with the review of about 200 popular experiments. Based on several factors, including level of difficulty and availability of materials, the pair identified and catalogued 50 experiments to choose from. The students were also instructed that they could create their own topic, provided they could demonstrate they had a testable hypothesis. Participation in the fair was limited to fifth grade pupils.
Students were also provided guidelines as to the components of their ultimate presentation, which were closely aligned to the basic steps of scientific method. Each experiment presentation was to include (1) a hypothesis statement, (2) list of materials used, (3) description of the procedure, (4) disclosure of data collected and (5) a conclusion, including a determination if the hypothesis was correct. Students worked at home on their project, many in teams of two to three participants, over a four-week period. In addition, a one-hour session per week was scheduled in school. Fifteen parent volunteers made themselves available for the sessions to mentor and coach the students and assess their progress.
The four-week project work culminated with a presentation exposition on June 11. Parents were invited to attend and review the 19 experiment presentations created by 40 student scientists.
A crowd favorite was the “volcano” experiment called “Long Lasting Lava” presented by Brenden Prefer and Peter Winters. They simulated a volcanic eruption as parents and students gathered around to witness the phenomenon. Although the experiment was a success, Brenden and Peter admitted that their hypothesis was incorrect. They had predicted that equal parts of baking soda and vinegar would produce the longest lasting reaction. They determined through experimentation that increasing the proportion of baking soda would yield the desired effect.
Cristina Marsicano and Elizabeth Reavey teamed to conduct an experiment called “Crazy Crystal Creations.” Using borax, pipe cleaners, and string, the pair determined through experimentation that crystals grew longer and stronger in colder temperatures. Cristina stated, “It was really exciting being in the science fair. I learned a lot and it was fun trying to figure out if our hypothesis was going to be right or wrong.” Elizabeth concluded, “If I could do the Lincroft School Science Fair again, I would. It was definitely a great experience.”