Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Livingstone School Science Fair (updated)

Chris Davis
(updated with results)

Livingstone School's annual Science Fair was held on January 29.  Exhibits, experiments, and demonstrations made the school's gymnasium a busy place for the afternoon.  On display were projects that were practical, whimsical, and in some cases truly innovative. I was particularly impressed with the willingness of many of the students to explain in detail, and to answer unexpected questions about their projects. 

Alina Pharis - First Place (Grades 5 & 6)
Alina Pharis earned First Place for Graes 5 & 6. She's an avid baker, and her experiment reflected that.  She examined the question  "Does the recommended amount of baking powder really yield the best result in a recipe?"  The resulting muffins she baked covered the spread from tiny and over-sweet to large and sour.


Grades 1 & 2:

  1. Madison Grandoni
  2. Shawn Smyth
  3. Anna Friesen

Grades 3 & 4:

  1. Amy Friesen
  2. Mackinley Mallard
  3. Layla Cannon

Grades 5 & 6:

  1. Alina Pharis
  2. Ryan Smyth
  3. Mathias Lynch-Staunton

Grades 7 & 8:

  1. Adeline Halibert and Hailey Grove
  2. Logan Sekella and Gus Halibert
  3. Megan Hurst  

Anna Friesen (3rd place Grades 3 and 4)
Anna Friesen (Grade 2) demonstrated how stalactites grow.  According to Friesen, it can take thousands of years in a cave for them to grow naturally, from the precipitation of stalagmites.  She demonstrated a small stalactite she made from everyday items.  "It only took a few days to grow in my house," she said, explaining that the first way she tried it didn't work (using baking soda and string), but an email from her Auntie directed her to a working solution, shared below.  Anna's project earned her third place in the Grades 3 & 4 category.

How to grow a stalactite at home:
  • Stir as much Epsom salts into hot water as you can.
  • Pour the water into two identical jars.
  • Roll up a paper towel and stick each end in the jars.
  • Enjoy watching it grow!
An Epsom salt "snowflake"

Blake Hollingshead
Blake Hollingshead (Grade 5) packed his own shells (under adult supervision) to determine which provided the most effective amount of gunpowder for accuracy when used with a .204 rifle.  Measuring from a target he made he determined that 22.8 grains (Gr,) (the second highest amount of gunpowder in his experiment) was the most accurate for the gun he used.  28.6 Gr. resulted in too big an explosion in the shell, too fast and inaccurate.  Lower grain counts resulted in the bullet going too slowly.  "There was not a big enough explosion in the shell to force the bullet to go fast enough for an accurate shot."

Detail from Blake Hollingshead's target

Caley Graff
Caley Graff demonstrated how vinegar and baking soda mixed into plastic bottles could be used to fill balloons with carbon dioxide, the result of the acid-base reaction between the two ingredients.

Danielle Hann
Danielle Hann explored how positioning can affect the accuracy and speed of a baseball throw.  Her Dad acted as a comparison subject.  They tested pitching 27 feet in "submarine", regular, on one leg, high leg kick, and jumping positions.

Gareth Kaack
Gareth Kaack had a colorful display.  He determined that scented candles last longer than unscented candles, because there are more chemicals to burn.

Jacob Hampson
Jacob Hampson demonstrated that incandescent light bulbs are 2-5 times hotter than LED bulbs, using a cookie thermometer for measurements.
Jaylene Giesbrecht and Mary Alice Goodwin-Tanner made matchstick rockets
Kale Taylor
Kale Taylor (Grade 6) tested which glow-in-the-dark recipe produced the most luminosity in a dark box.

Radiant heat exhibit by Markus Eden
Matthias Eden
Matthias Eden made waterproof matches out of ordinary stick matches coated with nail polish, an idea he got from Field and Stream magazine.  He tested three brands of nail polish, and kept one matchstick unchanged for comparison.  "Pure Ice" nail polish provided the best results, but all nail polish coated matchsticks worked after being soaked in water.

Megan Hurst
Megan Hurst (Grade 7) tested the effectiveness of dishwasher brands.  She earned Third in the Grades 7 & 8 category for her efforts.

Mina Wood and Indie McGarva
Mina Wood and Indie McGarva tested the absorbency of various brands of diapers.  An unexpected side-effect - when they cut the diapers open they discovered the liquid turned to a gooey "jello" inside.  Pampers Baby Dry was the winner in their experiment.

Morgan Dingreville and her Lava Lamp experiment
Morgan Dingreville (Grade 2) said her Lava Lamp experiment was "fun to do".  

Nadine experimented with dish soaps to see which would create the biggest and  longest lasting bubbles.  I asked her if bubbles were hard to measure.  "Yeah," she said with a smile.  She concluded that of the four brands she tested Dawn had the longest lasting bubbles.

Ryan Smyth's germinating sprouts - 2nd Place Grades 5 & 6

Waci Thomson
Waci Thomson proved that eggs are more buoyant in salt water.

Electric Potatos!

If I missed your experiment and you'd like to tell our readers about it, drop us a line at

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