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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Hands-on science at St.John Lutheran School

  • Science is everywhere and done by anyone, as exhibited recently when students at St. John Lutheran School showed their science fair projects to the public.
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  • What is science?
    Can you find it in a book, or does it only take place in labs by people wearing white lab coats with prestigious diplomas hanging on the wall?
    The answer is science can be found everywhere and done by anyone, as was exhibited recently when the students at St. John Lutheran School exhibited their science fair projects for the public.
    A gym full of scientists talked about everything from magnets to water and explained to those who stopped to listen to them talk about what they did as well as the lessons they learned as they practiced the scientific method.
    Students were judged by members of the community and were required to talk to several who stopped to visit in order to help them learn lessons not only about how science can and does work but also about speaking in public with others.
    Among the students displaying their work were those who like science and would say they are already looking forward to the project they want to do for next year, as well as those who “tolerate” science – admitting they did learn something as they researched, tested and discovered.
    Among those scientists was Abi Nelson, who is a fifth grader. Her project, entitled “Making Light From Lemons,” tested the theory of what is actually required to make a battery.
    Her research led her to discover one needed zinc, copper and acid to turn on a light.
    So, she tested that theory, using a lemon, a nail and a penny.
    Those three items, she said, met the requirements.
    “I thought only a potato would work,” said Nelson.
    The diode she hooked up to the items she had connected lit up, and she confirmed the hypothesis.
    For Dylan Woodford, his research led him to ask the question “can someone really get an egg inside of a bottle?”
    His “Egg in the Bottle Trick” project led him to discover air pushes the egg into the bottle.
    “This was a cool way for me to learn how air works,” said Woodford.
    Tristan Scharlemann wanted to know what wood type was least likely to burn.
    He added the application is in structure building, as one would want to know, for example, when building a house, what wood to use to have the best chance against a fire.
    He tested three types of wood – oak, pine and walnut, and, as he guessed, the oak was the best.
    The oak, he explained is lighter in color and does not absorb heat like the walnut would and it is harder than the pine which also burned more readily.
    Page 2 of 2 - As an eighth grader, Micah Schoer wanted to know if chewing gum would make a difference for students as they studied, did homework or took tests.
    “Seventh and eighth graders can chew gum in school” said Schoer, who added she wanted to see if it was beneficial for them.
    She had the students at the school in Grades 5-8 take a math and division test, with each student taking a test with and without chewing gum.
    Her “Smart Gum” results showed as the students chewed the gum longer the  more effective they could be.
    Nelson said she enjoys learning about things like magnetism in science, and Woodford said he likes to learn about how things grow.
    Schoer said it is the hands-on parts of science education which she appreciates.
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