OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP — Sinking submarines, wind turbines, duct-taped hammocks and boiled golf balls were just a few inventions created by third- and fourth-graders.
The annual Science and Engineering Expo at Lincoln Heights Elementary School had the little inventors showcasing their tested theories and engineering projects Thursday night.
“I am very excited about the project-based learning,” said parent Sharon Lutz-Krebill.
While observing the projects, Lutz-Krebill said she was encouraged by the depth of them — taking something simple a student loved and turning it into a science project.
“I never would have thought of some of the questions (the students) thought of,” she said, noting one student chose to do an experiment with golf balls to see how far they would go. “They have full control of the project.”
The science display Lutz-Krebill was referring to was done by 8-year-old Serena Schroeder, who tested whether a golf ball would travel farther if it was boiled, normal temperature or frozen.
“I feel like the (project) went really good,” said Schroeder, adding that she had fun doing it.
Schroeder spent Thursday night experimenting with other projects as well, including a battery-powered submarine.
“I thought it was really cool,” she said.
There were about 140 projects to be observed during the expo with about 350 people attending to see what the students had done.
All of Lincoln Heights’ third- and fourth-graders were required to participate in the Science and Engineering Expo, according Fran Gibbs, fourth-grade science teacher. However, this is the first year engineering was included in the expo, which only fourth-graders had the option of doing.
“It’s been very positive,” Gibbs said. “There is a huge variety.”
While doing the projects, students had to try different variables (up to three) if their project didn’t work, and explain why it did or did not work.
“They nailed it,” Gibbs said.
Lincoln Heights Elementary School is the only Greenville elementary school to hold a science expo, which Gibbs believes plays a role in the school’s higher MEAP science score. She explained a portion of the MEAP tests the students on the scientific process, which is what the students work through over and over while preparing their projects for the expo.
“It definitely (affects the score),” said Gibbs, noting Lincoln Heights has one of the highest science scores in the district.
Also during the expo, the school had classrooms set up for families to participate in a math activity. The activities included math games and creative problem solving to help advance mathematical learning at home as activity packets were also sent home for the students and families to practice.
Overall, the expo could not have been done without the hard work, dedication and support of the staff and parents, said Principal Michelle Blaszczynski.
“When we vow ‘Lincoln Heights shall provide a safe, positive environment where all students achieve academic outcomes, develop a sense of inquiry and acquire social skills to succeed in our ever-changing world,’ (the expo) is evidence of that promise turned into practice,” Blaszczynski said. “I believe the science fair projects created by students show hands-on learning and full investment in the process of inquiry.”