West Science Fair big again

       Hundreds of parents and students packed the West Middle School gym for the annual all-school Science Fair Dec. 10.

Stephanie Tophoj of Denver Botanic Gardens was giving interactive planting opportunities to young West scientists at their fair Dec. 10.
Westside Pioneer photo

       West science chair Kathy Malone said the fair has been showing continual improvement since she decided to make it an all-school event four years ago. This year, “we had 300 boards out of 346 students,” she said. “That's a nice celebration of learning.” And, as for the 46 who didn't have entries ready for the fair, Malone (interviewed before the semester break) commented that “some still have time to get theirs in” for academic credit.
       Adding to the scientific appeal of the affair were booths by the Denver Botanic Gardens, Dinosaur Resource Center, Cave of the Winds and Colorado College's “Cool Science.”
       The winners and their topics this year were:
  • Sixth grade - Olivia Stenholm (“Smell: To Taste or Not to Taste”).
  • Seventh grade - Rob Newell (“Homemade Backpacking Stove”).
  • Eighth grade - Heather Woolley (“Death on a Toothbrush”).
           The entries - each using a large cardboard tri-fold board to explain the approach used to resolve a question - revealed a broad range of interests. Some randomly noted questions were the following: Which brand of gum has the longest flavor? Does a wooden or aluminum baseball bat hit a baseball farther? How does talking on a cell phone affect your driving while playing a video game? What effect does frost have on plants? Which brand of diapers holds the most water? How does the density of liquids affect their resistance to being magnetized?
           “We give them a little leeway in what they're interested in, but they have to follow scientic method,” Malone explained.

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