LAKEWOOD — Tyee Park Elementary School fifth-grader Evelyn Zeigler got surprising results when she tested balloons filled with various temperatures of water and yeast to see which balloons would rise the highest.
The 11-year-old created the test and display board as one of hundreds of kindergarten through 12th grade students exhibiting during Clover Park School District’s annual Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fair at Harrison Preparatory School March 10.
“Let me explain,” Evelyn said, after sharing her amazement that refrigerated water beat hot water in her experiments.
“The cold water had to heat up to room temperature, so it kept rising,” she said. “But the hot water went up fast — and because it began to lower its temperature to room temperature, it had no where to go, so it started to deflate.”
Alexandrea Rood, 11, a student at Lakewood’s Dower Elementary School, also enjoyed sharing her scientific findings at the STEM Fair.
Alexandrea’s dad, Charles Rood, watched proudly as she explained that although the traditional baking soda version of the slimy substance, called Slime, was elastic and fun to play with, an alternate shaving cream version was sticky and not much fun.
“I watched a lot of Slime videos (on YouTube), but baking soda makes the best Slime,” she said.
Although the traditional science exhibit portion of the STEM Fair drew crowds, what took place in the school’s gymnasium was the rowdiest side of the event.
There, the district’s first grade level challenges took place, pitting kindergarteners through fifth-graders in grade-specific activities of skill, dexterity, scientific thought-process and teamwork.
“The classes did a great job of incorporating the engineer design process,” said Don Pruett, Clover Parks Schools’ supervisor of science curriculum, as he walked past the kindergarten challenge where each team designed and created a spaghetti and marshmallow tower.
“It’s hard, but you do it like this,” said 6-year-old Kira Sliwoski, a Carter Lake Elementary School kindergartener, as she and her classmates, J’den Reyes and Dante Magoon Barker, gingerly connected small marshmallows to the ends of uncooked noodles, forming a tepee on the table.
Kira’s parents, Master Sgt. Rick Sliwoski, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Master Sgt. Jessica Sliwoski, 446th Maintenance Group, laughed as they enjoyed their daughter’s interaction with her male teammates.
“She’s never done a science fair before, but she’s used to being bossy,” Kira’s mom said.
Tech Sergeant Jesse Reyes, 627th Security Forces Squadron, watched as his son, J’den designed the tower on paper before the three moved on to the construction phase.
The children practiced the activity a few times at school during the elimination process to select contestants for the STEM event, according to their teacher, Savannah Taylor. She said the kids were learning some engineering skills, but the most important lesson was collaboration and teamwork.
“These are great kids, but all my students are great,” Taylor said.
She sat with Dante’s mom, Victoria Magoon Barker, in the bleachers as they watched and cheered on the students.
“Mommy what do I do?” Dante asked, covering his eyes, as the top of the tower inverted down into the tepee.
“It’s still standing,” J’den said, as his group’s project wobbled.
Over in the third grade section, 9-year-olds Maverick Sanchez and Logan Metzler from Meriwether Elementary School worked on an electromagnetic challenge to move washers and drop them in a cup. The team with the most washers in its cup won the challenge.
Maverick and Logan weren’t able to get any washers in their cup; however, they still enjoyed the project. They were cheered on by their parents: Maelisa and Sgt. Matthew Sanchez, Alpha Company, Madigan Army Medical Center; and, Karri and Capt. Adam Metzler, 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 62nd Medical Brigade; and Logan’s siblings, Ivy, 10, and Tyler, 4.
Logan’s 5-year-old brother Colby also was selected for the competition in the first grade category. He spent the morning with his teammates making a straw tower.
“It’s OK if they didn’t win,” Maelisa Sanchez said. “It was a great experience, and they still made us very proud.”