By JACQUELINE PRIMO | Assistant Managing Editor
The Palisades Charter Elementary School Science Fair was full of pop, bang and boom as students in kindergarten through fifth grade demonstrated their experiments and displayed their results for family, friends and visiting scientists on Monday, Feb. 1 in the Pali Elementary auditorium.
Fifth graders who participated in the science fair, which is voluntary for all students, competed for prizes including various science kits and award ribbons.
In first place was Sophia von der Ohe with her project, “What Kills Lice?” In second place was Jacquie Traenkle with “5 Second Rule; Good or Bad Idea?” Tying for third place were Jack Dawson with “Canine Rainbow Vision” and Peter Garff and Finn Karish with “Do Video Games Rot Your Brain?” Coming away with an honorary mention was Hailey Barbera with her “Thirsty Plants” project.
Parent organizer Kristy Morris, who was on this year’s science fair team with Alissa Bartle, Christina von der Ohe and David Dawson, said about 180 students participated in this year’s “optional” science fair. Nine parents with PhDs or MDs (including Dawson), as well as seven UCLA and Cedars-Sinai medical professionals, donned their white coats and served as judges.
Morris added that one of the organizers’ goals was to have each science project seen by at least two judges, even though only fifth-grade students’ projects were judged.
For her project, fourth-grader Safiye Gurdil answered the question, “How do plants get their food?”
“My conclusion is that stomatas use carbon dioxide and water to make food. I finally have the answer to my question!” Gurdil told the Palisadian-Post as she gestured to her project, a trifold presentation board decorated with original flowery artwork.
Twin sisters Kaitlyn and Olivia Gregory experimented to see if it was easier to run or walk up a “slippery slope,” coming to the conclusion that the added momentum of running made it easier than walking.
Fourth-grader Vincent Gedgaudas’ hypothesis that water will cushion a falling object and allow it to stay intact when dropped from a great height proved partially true—except when that object is a ball of clay, an egg or a tomato and said object is dropped off of Gedgaudas’ roof.
Friends Devon Farwell and Lily Parlane, a Post Junior Reporter, had messy fun experimenting with Coke and Mentos.
Elise Charbonneau got the inspiration for her project called “Sound Bites” from a visit to the Exploratorium in San Francisco over the winter break.
The experiment involved biting down on a wooden pencil (covered with a plastic straw) to literally hear music coming from a radio attached to the pencil with a speaker wire and battery. Charbonneau said Ludwig van Beethoven, a German composer who was mostly deaf, used a similar method, but with a wooden spoon, to listen to his own compositions.
And answering the age-old question of which kind of gum will blow the biggest bubble—sugar-free or sugar gum—were Sam Ceja and Ryan Natvig with their project “Bubblemania.” The boys said they went through eight packs of gum while conducting their experiment before coming to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what type of gum you chew—it depends on what type of gum-chewer you are.
Their favorite flavors of gum? Starburst and Swedish Fish.
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