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Dec 14, 2017

Science Fair at Lincroft School

By Les Pierce

Hailey Casale (left) and Grace Sullivan with their project, “Germs”

The principles of science are readily conveyed in a classroom setting or from a textbook. However, participating in a hands-on experiment provides an in-depth and lasting understanding of a scientific principle. Lincroft Elementary School students recently engaged in such knowledge acquisition at the annual Science Fair facilitated by the Lincroft School PTA.

Students worked on their projects at home and many partnered with others to pursue their experiments. Participants were advised to include five components within their presentation: (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.

Forty projects were submitted. A panel of three judges, which included a Merck scientist, selected four as superior in one of the award criteria: (1) most innovative/creative project, (2) successful sharing/presenting to visitors, (3) helping the environment, and (4) learning through failure.

Hailey Casale and Grace Sullivan collaborated on a project named “Germs” that was a bit unnerving, as the pair proved the existence of germs seemingly everywhere. They created a control group by using clean tongs to place a slice of bread in a plastic bag. They then handled another slice with unwashed hands and placed it in another bag. After a period of time, they noted that the handled bread developed mold much faster, proving the existence of germs transferred from their hands to the bread.

Carolena Blasucci sought to identify an economic benefit in her experiment, named “Insulate and Save.” The fourth grade student tested four materials for their ability to hold temperature: wool socks, tin foil, bubble wrap, and fiberglass. Based on periodic temperature measurements in a controlled environment, she determined that all four retained temperatures, but the fiberglass proved to be the most effective. Her experiment is timely, as her parents are planning a new kitchen and she has recommended they use fiberglass insulation in the construction.

Via her experiment titled “Electric Play Dough,” Lily Konefal demonstrated conductivity and the principles of open and closed circuits. She created a playdough model doll and used LEDs (light emitting diodes) as eyes. By inserting wires into the model that were attached to a battery, she was able to light the eyes of the doll.

Thomas Hines studied volcanos and learned how eruptions occur when thick magma and large amounts of gas build up under the earth’s surface. He replicated that phenomenon via a highly graphic project, “The Truth About Volcano Eruptions.” He was able to simulate an eruption by exposing a vinegar and dish washing detergent solution to baking soda. He also added red dye for a visual effect. As he conducted his experiment in front of onlookers, he stated, “It bubbles over fast, and it looks like a real volcano. The reaction was faster and larger than I expected.” He repeated the experiment, substituting ketchup based on the vinegar content. However, he deemed this a failure.

The projects remained on display in the Leopard’s Den for an evening session that was attended by parents, family members, and Middletown School District members. The Science Fair was chaired by PTA member Karen Whitaker, who stated, “I am thankful for the outstanding support by the teachers, office staff, and Mr. Imbimbo.”