Science takes center stage at school tonight


February 08, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A NIGHT OF scientific exploration and discovery is planned at Mount Airy Elementary School today.

More than 100 pupils will display their research efforts, performing experiments and having fun learning about science at the school's sixth annual Science Fair.

"What strikes me is the pride in the kids' faces when they're showing the projects they've completed," said Dana Buswell, co-chairwoman of the Science Fair.

"We encourage all of the school's children and families to work together on a project. We don't judge the entries. Everyone gets a medal. But it's the fun of the learning experience that's all worth it," she said.

Fifth-grader Christina Michie has been growing root vegetables for the past four weeks.

"I wanted to make a root view box to show what vegetables look like when they're growing underground," said Christina. "Since carrots, onions, beets and radishes grow underground, nobody could see before what they look like growing. It'll be fun to be able to see that."

One project tells how a submarine works, one explains the solar system and another demonstrates which fruits conduct electricity.

Kindergartner Avery Renshaw inspired her sister Sheridan to explore how soap weakens water molecules and lowers surface tension.

"Avery plays with boats in the bathtub. We're studying how soap can make the boat move," said Sheridan Renshaw.

Ali Noel let her love of popcorn lead her scientific quest.

"My sister Kendall and I compared three different kinds of popcorn to see which had the biggest volume, the largest number of kernels, and most unpopped kernels," said Noel.

"We spent time together working on it, and it's just a good learning experiment, plus we'll be giving out free samples," Noel added.

Hands-on learning will be provided by Hashawha Nature Center, which will show live owls. Piney Run Nature Center will provide snakes, baby snapping turtles and a toad for pupils to handle.

"The kids love the snakes, and the parents aren't that thrilled," said Lynette Lenz, seasonal naturalist at Piney Run.

"But I like to use this as an educational experience, to tell kids who want a snake as a pet the differences between getting a hand-raised snake as opposed to a native snake," said Lenz, who will be bringing a 4-foot California snake.

Science Fair co-chairwoman Valerie Gilman said the entire school has become involved in science discovery this week, including a daily science trivia contest during the morning announcements and a science fair poster contest.

The Science Fair will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Mount Airy Elementary School. It is open to the public.

Mary Brown blanket fund

A Mount Airy fund-raising tradition for more than 20 years continues this month as the Mary Brown Blanket Fund gets under way.

The local effort collects blankets and monetary donations for Church World Service, an organization that has been providing blankets and other essentials to people in need in more than 80 countries, including the United States, since 1946.

"I think the response this year will be good," said Carole Van Gosen, a Mount Airy resident organizing the local fund. "It's a communitywide effort, and several different churches have already contacted me.

"People have expressed to me that many of us are more aware of how blessed we are. There are so many places in the world where people are suffering and whose people's lifestyles are so different than ours. We have so much we can give," said Van Gosen.

The local effort to assist Church World Service was begun more than 26 years ago by Mount Airy resident Mary Brown, who has since passed away.

Clean, new or used blankets of any size may be taken to Calvary United Methodist Church, 403 S. Main St., Mount Airy.

Checks made payable to Church World Service should be mailed to Carole Van Gosen, 14707 Harrisville Road, Mount Airy 21771.

The drive will run through this month.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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