School science expo attracts a diverse crowd

Photo by Ken Cashman Cassidy Cubito (foreground) and Olivia Weir (far right) attracted a crowd with their “Dancing Ooblick” demonstration at the Nov. 29 Science Expo. The event for third and fourth-graders took place at the middle school.

Photo by Ken Cashman
Cassidy Cubito (foreground) and Olivia Weir (far right) attracted a crowd with their “Dancing Ooblick” demonstration at the Nov. 29 Science Expo. The event for third and fourth-graders took place at the middle school.

There was a diverse group at the middle school on Tuesday night, Nov. 29. And that was part of the event’s appeal.

Third and fourth-graders were there for the Elementary Science Expo. A group of middle school students sold baked goods at the door. And a bunch of high school volunteers served as judges.

Well, they weren’t really judges. They were interviewers. They talked to each exhibitor and, if the conversation lagged, the interviewers had a list of six questions they could ask.

There was no competition, and everyone received a certificate for participating. The interviewers were members of the National Honor Society or the high school science club. Many of them were back for a second year.

While the incentive may have been free pizza, most of the teens said they liked the job because it reminded them of their elementary school days.  The third and fourth-graders felt comfortable with the older students, and they also had no qualms about talking to the press.

With the teens conducting interviews, the three principals (Megan Argenio, Darren Corsetti and Greg Schmalz) were free to be spectators. The third and fourth-graders also had a lot of freedom. They could do an experiment, a demonstration or a display. Caryn Mante, who helped coordinate the event, said the goal of the expo was to have the kids develop a love of science. Participation was optional.

The expo also gave students a chance to see the middle school and to meet kids from all over the district. Cornwall’s three elementary schools participated.

Most exhibitors worked alone or with classmates, but there were other options. For example, a pair of cousins worked together even though they attended different schools. Friends from Little League or Scouts could also form teams for the science expo.

At the end of the night, another group added to the diverse nature of the crowd. A basketball team showed up to practice in the gym. But the players got the night off, because the gym was filled with 100 exhibits.

SCIENCE EXPO CONVERSATION STARTERS
1. How did you get the idea?
2. What did you learn?
3. Did you have problems?
4. Did the results turn out the way you expected? (At least one third-grader admitted that they didn’t.)
5. If you did the experiment again, how would you improve it?
6. What questions do you still have?

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Ken Cashman