by Sherry Goodyear
SPRINGER — It’s been a while since Springer Elementary has held a science fair, but Principal Laura Cordova thought it was high time they did. Children from Kindergarten through 3rd made group projects, while 4th-6th, made individual or two-member team projects.
Students spent the past several weeks PARCC testing in the morning, and working on science projects in the afternoon. The array of projects was as varied as the interests of the students. All types of household products, such as sugar, eggs, vinegar, and baking soda were combined, so students could see whether or not their hypotheses stood up to the science.
In addition to student displays, several organizations donated their time to set up tables, showing how various aspects of science work. Among them, Springer Electric Cooperative had an electricity table with a model of electric lines, allowing them to show what happens if a tree falls on the line, or if a human gets too close. As electricity arced, interested children stared in wide-eyed wonder as David Balizan showed them how dangerous electricity can be.
Luna Community College STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) instructor Sequoia Romero set up a display of electronic devices, including a Tesla Coil which lights up light bulbs from inches away and will burn a person’s nose hair if they press it up to the glass for too long, a ray gun which Springer High School freshman Ron Gurule was allowed to shoot a hole into the side of a plastic cup with, and a canister of liquid nitrogen Romero used to freeze a banana so hard it shattered when hit on the side of the table.
Soil and Conservation also had a booth, showing students how erosion works. All of this had students excited about science.
The first place winners of the science fair competition between 3rd and 6th graders were Estevan Casaus and Angelia Ritchie, who won for their “Soda Explosion” experiment, which tested to see what kind of soda and Mentos candy makes the best explosions. According to Casaus, Diet Coke and whole Mentos are the way to go. Casaus, a fifth grader, said with a shrug, “Science is science. You can’t change it.”
Unfortunately, Rebecca Ramirez’s 5th grade class’s egg incubation experiment was adversely affected by the vast number of power outages Springer has experienced over the past few weeks. Boe Lopez of the Colfax County Extension Office, who lent the class his incubator, said the power was off for over an hour one weekend and that was enough to kill the embryos growing in the eggs. Ramirez said the kids took the news well, and were still holding out hope something would hatch over the next few days. Lopez was able to round up a few live chicks to put on display for the science fair, while the twelve un-hatched eggs sat quietly by in their incubator.
Overall, the science fair was a wonderful success, and principal Cordova and superintendent Eddie King are already discussing plans for next year’s fair, kicking around ideas for including the high school and junior high students as well. “The talent is there,” King said, “We just have to give them an opportunity to show it.”