Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Education

Chocachatti Elementary engineers in making compete in Science Olympics

BROOKSVILLE

The kindergarten partners each faced five file folders, 10 plastic cups and 20 smaller paper cups. They had 10 minutes to combine the items into the tallest tower they could make. And they had an audience. The teams were competing in the Chocachatti Elementary School Science Olympics, under the direction of science lab teacher Ruth Markham. They were the tower-building winners in their classrooms and, at the Olympic event, were being cheered on by their classmates.

Other grade-level events went on throughout the day.

First-graders made aluminum boats that were tested to see how many marbles they could hold.

Second-graders designed paper airplanes.

As the grade levels went up, so did the degree of engineering difficulty. The third-grade balloon racers were made from pasta wagon wheels, pipe cleaners, drinking straws and masking tape.

Fourth-graders made marshmallow fliers (catapults) using paper cups, pop cubes (plastic toys that lock together), paint stir sticks, rubber bands and masking tape.

Fifth-graders constructed marble roller coasters using 3 ½-inch pieces of 1-inch pipe insulation, paper cups, masking tape and a student-size chair. The idea was to roll a marble into a cup and measure how far the cup would go.

"They're learning basic engineering, and they've got to think about all the design principles that make those things work the best," Markham said.

Jazlyn Brown, 6, and Nani Langley, 6, were kindergarteners building towers. Jazlyn explained why the big cups should be on the bottom.

"They might be kind of stronger," she said.

Nani said the purpose of the folders was "so we could set 'em on the cups."

The girls' tower was the tallest in their classroom, and both showed just how tall by putting their hands up just short of their heights.

Nani suggested a reason Mrs. Markham has them start in the Science Olympics in kindergarten.

"Because we can be good at it in first grade," she said.

Winners in the Chocachatti Science Olympics included:

• Kindergarten tower building: Isaiah Monticelli and D.J. D'Acunto for their 85-centimeter tower.

• First grade: Jack Benoist, whose aluminum boat held 105 marbles.

• Second grade: Cameron Zack, whose paper airplane flew 600 cm.

• Third grade: Sydney Benoist and Antonia Matos, whose balloon racer rolled 212 cm.

• Fourth-grade marshmallow fliers: Isabella Traudt and Madison Kilday, who catapulted a marshmallow 915 cm.

• Fifth-grade roller coasters: Max Carlson and Dylan Kelly, whose marble rolled off their roller coaster traveling 85 cm.

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