BY MICHELLE MILLER
Cooperstown fifth-graders have been hard at work learning about what scientists go through when working on a new idea.
As part of a science inquiry unit, students were asked to come up with their own question of interest that could be tested.
After deciding on a question, students were asked to form a hypothesis, or an educated guess, to what the answer will be to the question.
Then students designed their own experiment containing control and variable factors. Students observed the experiment’s progress and kept detailed records of their observations.
At the conclusion of the experiment, students analyzed their observations and used them to determine whether their hypothesis was correct. Work was displayed on trifold boards, which are on display in the elementary library.
Fifth-grade teacher Joan Williams said students used programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel to create bibliographies and design graphs and tables. Some went as far as using PowerPoint, she said.
“This was not all done in science class,” she continued. “It was a collaborative effort. They worked with the librarian and the tech teacher helped teach them a lot of program.”
Each year the projects get better, Williams said. “When I look back at the first year I did this with students, the projects lookso much more beautiful,” she said. Williams said she has been having the students do a science project of this kind for about 15 years.
“Everyone’s ideas are different,” she said. “They walk away with so much. They learn a great deal. A lot of the core subjects are incorporated such as language arts, math and technology.”
Students said they spend three weeks doing research.
Cali Phares and Hayley Bernier did two tests with 10 participants to see if exercising before taking a test would enhance performance. The girlssaid they had the participants exercise for 15 minutes for the first test and used the same participants doing nothing for the second test. They said they thought exercise would help testing results, but they were wrong.
Delilah Griger’s experiment tested how well popcorn would pop when being stored in different temperatures. She said she believed the warmer temperature would be best, but was proven wrong.
Griger said she refrigerated one batch of popcorn, put another on a hearth of a stove and the last was stored at room temperature. The kernels kept at room temperature popped the best, she said.
“The hot temperature actually was the worst,” she added.
Kai Wasson said he was curious to know how much carbon dioxide would be produced if he added honey, sugar or a sugar supplements to yeast. He said he took four glass bottles and warm water and added either honey, sugar or the supplement to each. Then he said he placed a balloon on top and put the bottles on a stove to check every half hour by measuring the circumference of the balloon. “My hypothesis that adding sugar to the yeast would create the most carbon dioxide was true,” Wasson said. “The sugar substitute produced no carbon dioxide.”
Noah Greenblatt and Jack Lambert made their own rockets for their project. They said they wanted to see if having more fins would help the rockets fly higher because they believed that would be true.
The hypothesis seemed to be correct, according to the boys. However, they said they did not build the four-finrocket correctly so that one did not fly at all.
The boys built an altimeter, an instrument used to measure the altitude of an object above a fixed level, to conduct their experiment.
Emma Johnson, Josie Hovis and Quincey Chase made a four-foot track to race Hex bugs. The girls said they wanted to find out which kind of bug would be the fastest, a Nano, larva or scarab. Johnson said they built their track onehalf inch wider than the bugs.
“We thought the scarab would win, but our hypothesis was wrong,” she said. “It actually came in last.”
Hovis said they did 10 trials and the larva came in first most times, she said. The average speed of the bugs per foot was 1.66 seconds, she said.
BY MICHELLE MILLER
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