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Scientific process

May 16, 2012

Wapakoneta Elementary School Fourth grader Courtney Sutton demonstrates the importance of sunlight to plants for her science project at the school on Tuesday. Sutton’s will be just one of about 175 projects that will be on display at the science fair from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the school.

Wapakoneta City School fourth-graders will showcase their scientific talents Thursday with a science fair from 6 to 7 p.m. in the elementary school cafeteria.

The students got a chance Tuesday to warm-up for their moment in the spotlight by presenting their projects to fellow classmates during school.

“It’s to help them learn the scientific method and be in the shoes of an actual scientist,” Wapakoneta Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Tim Duncan said.

Students had to come up with a testable scientific question, and then make a hypothesis to what they expected to be the outcome. They had to reveal what items were used to conduct the experiment and give a step-by-step procedure of the experiment. At the conclusion, they had to be able to tell how the project turned out and why they got those results.

Students had to be able to make a practical application with the result of their experience, and most results proved to be applicable to average households.

One experiment proved that strawberries will go bad before grapes, and the practical application was to make sure you eat the strawberries first so you don’t waste food.

Another tested the ability of two brand-name laundry detergents and their ability to remove ketchup from clothing. Although one of the detergents cost more than the other, they both showed an equal ability to remove the stain. As a result of her experiment, the “scientist” concluded you can save money by buying the less expensive detergent to save money.

Student Courtney Sutton said she was excited to find out how important sunlight was to plants and the results were as she suspected.

Sutton planted three plants, one with plenty of sunlight, one with a limited amount, and one with no sunlight at all. The plant with the direct sunlight showed plenty of growth, while the other two showed minimal to no growth and eventually died.

“It turned out just like I thought it would,” Sutton said.

Renee Schulze was completely surprised by her experiment.

She set out to show the effects of water on people’s skin and hypothesized that older people would tend to have their skin wrinkle faster than a 10-year-old.

While her hypothesis that old people’s skin would wrinkle faster turned out to be not true, her ability to test her question and explain why her hypothesis was wrong still earned her an A-plus.

“It wasn’t what I expected at all,” Schulze said. “I thought older people’s skin would wrinkle faster from being older, but it just gets tougher.”

Student Jack Shepherd set out to find out how winding coils tightly can affect electromagnetic strength. He found that the tighter the coil, the stronger pull a magnet will have.

“I just like messing with magnets,” Shepherd said. “I thought it would be fun.”

All 175 fourth-grade students participated in the science project. They will continue to be graded on their presentations today in preparation of Thursday’s science fair.

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