Enjoying a night at a science fair

A joint science fair

Tonight, the wife and I went to Passport to Learning and Columbia, Maryland Homeschoolers science fair. There were some twenty displays, four of them were those of our grandchildren.

Safe Cosmetics

At science fair  Elizabeth’s exhibit identified harmful chemicals in cosmetics and created a safe recipe for makeup and lip balm. She used commonly available materials, many found in the kitchen. She demonstrated the makeup on her arm and noted it contained sparkles. Samples were available for attendees to take and enjoy.

Sensory Adaptation

Bradley’s exhibit demonstrated sensory adaptation. Attendees had the opportunity to evaluate the effect of long exposure to temperature extremes. Bradley had three bowls of water as part of the demonstration. One bowl contained hot, but not excessively hot, water. The second contained ice-cold water. The third had room temperature water.

We participated by placing one hand in the cold water and the other in hot water. A minute later, we placed both into the water at room temperature. The hand from the hot water felt cold for a moment while the other hand from the cold water felt warmer than room temperature. This demonstrated the thermoreceptors in our hands were desensitized to temperature as predicted.

Peeps clay?

Autumn’s exhibit was an effort to test whether she could create clay using Peeps. She processed Peeps, corn starch, powder sugar, and water into a clay-like substance. She showed it was malleable, a clay characteristic.


The wonder of nature

Theodore’s display consisted of time-elapsed pictures showing eggs becoming caterpillars, the Chrysalis stage, and finally the resulting butterflies. This didn’t have a theory to prove, but it was a fitting project for a five-year old with a love of nature.

There were other interesting displays. One was a demonstration of buoyancy. The attendee offered the opportunity to shape clay into a shape that would float. I noted one success, but many failed attempts rested at the bottom of the water tank.

What does a fast spinner sound like?

Another recorded the sound a spinner makes when spun. The participant recorded on a cell phone the sounds the spinner made when he and his mother spun it. Then, he used a can of air to spin it and recorded these sounds. The cell phone display was a ramp as the sound frequency increased with speed.

It was an interesting time at the Passport to Learning science fair seeing inquisitive minds selected a project and seeing it to a conclusion.

Tell me your favorite science fair exhibit in comments.


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