Bel Air holds third-grade science fair | News, Sports, Jobs

Bel Air holds third-grade science fair | News, Sports, Jobs

During the science fair on Thursday at Bel Air Elementary School, Theo Iglesias demonstrated his potato-generated electricity project.

Minot’s Bel Air Elementary School third-grade teachers Brittany Knickerbocker-Montez and Laura Untz showcased their students’ science fair projects on Thursday in the cafeteria and gymnasium.

When Untz took her position at Bel Air, she brought the idea of doing a science fair with her from Sunnyside Elementary School. Knickerbocker-Montez thought it was an excellent idea and this was their third annual science fair.

The third-graders are the only students who participate every year.

“It gives them something to look forward to when they’re younger, and then it’s really cool seeing the fourth- and fifth-graders come through because they’ve done it. They remember what it was like so they can talk with the third-graders, coach and encourage them. It’s full circle for them,” Knickerbocker-Montez said.

Altogether, there were about 50 projects between the two classes. Knickerbocker-Montez’s class was set up in the gym and Untz’s class was in the cafeteria.

Sophie Hoverson at Bel Air Elementary School stands with her science fair project on moldy bread on Thursday.

Sophie Hoverson from Knickerbocker-Montez’s class decided to do her project on moldy bread. It required two pieces of bread from the same loaf. Hoverson put five drops of water on one piece and put it into a plastic baggie, leaving it in a dark area. The other piece was taken straight from the loaf and put into a separate baggie dry, sitting in an area with sunlight.

Both baggies had been in their respective spots since Sunday, not yet yielding any results. However, she had one excellent point.

“We have to remember that store-bought bread is a lot more processed,” Hoverson said.

Her neighbor at the table, Theo Iglesias, made his project out of a box, russet potatoes that were cut in half, wire, alligator clips and small street lamps. One end of the wire was stuck into the potatoes and the other half was connected to a circuit that lit up the street lamps on the top of the box.

To see the lights under the bright gym lights, he came prepared with three red plastic cups that had slots cut into them. He placed a cup on top of the light and the bulb in the little light could be seen.

All of the students were prepared with information about their projects, the science behind how everything worked and demonstrated for those who stopped at their tables.

Each student was able to choose their own experiment and how they wanted to go about it. Books of experiments were available for viewing if someone could not decide.

Some students even got ideas from projects that were done in years past. Iglesias said he got his idea from another student who used different fruits to see how each one rated in voltage. Rather than copying the project, he just used the russet potatoes.

“I just really like potatoes,” Iglesias said.

Several students made what the teachers called “Oobleck,” which is a combination of cornstarch and water. When the mixture is put under pressure or squeezed, it is more like a putty. When the pressure is removed, it turns back into a goop-like substance and falls back into the container.

The materials were bought and put together at home, then the finished product was brought in the day of the science fair to present to their classmates and set up for the fair.

When presenting to their own classmates, Knickerbocker-Montez said it helps to “get the jitters out of the way” before presenting to the rest of the school, friends and family, who were able to attend, as well.

“It’s a really nice opportunity for them to practice public speaking, demonstrating their knowledge and it’s just another great way for them to learn,” Knickerbocker-Montez said.

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