Science Fair 2021

It starts with a question

What kind of chewing gum is the best for blowing big bubbles? Why do trucks put salt on the roads in the winter? What’s happening behind the scenes when you flick a light switch? Everyday wonders like these became jumping off points for investigation and learning at the Katonah Elementary School Science Fair!

In a traditional year, the KES Science Fair is a crowded, exciting event, packing well over one hundred displays, students and guests into the school gymnasium. This year, the school’s Science Fair pivoted to be an evening of shorts; each student turned in a one-to-two -minute movie documenting their project. Teacher Paul Hughes reviewed and equalized the videos' sound and parent volunteer Amita Singh edited them into grade level presentations.

why does salt do to ice?

what's happening when you roast a marshmallow?

an exciting virtual event

Science Fair 2021 was screened for students and their guests in two sections on Monday, February 23 via Zoom: kindergarteners and first graders, and second through fifth graders. Students were excited to see their projects displayed on screens at home and enjoyed learning from each other. “It was beautiful to see the students cheering for each other’s projects in the chat section,” relates Geraldine Zikely, the first-time chair of the PTO-sponsored event.

Students did most of their work on their Science Fair project during the month of February, explains Zikely. The two feet of snow on the ground at that same time may have influenced some of the young scientists’ investigations, such as Snowflakes, Will Weight Effect Sledding Speed, Why Does Moving Water Not Freeze, The Chemistry of Winter and How do Icicles Form.

projects grow out of students' interests

The broad variety of projects—from learning about baby robins and researching the Seven Wonders of the World to experimenting with weights of various liquids and presenting facts about a telescope you can use to stargaze at home—reflects the diversity of students’ interests. “The Science Fair is an enjoyable way for students to become experts in an area that fascinates them and develop confidence in sharing information with others,” said Hughes.

Some new ways of doing things are certain to stick even when students return to in-person school full time. For attendees of the Science Fair, it was a treat to be able to hear each student describe their project and see demonstrations like flaming marshmallows, bubbling beakers and flying paper airplanes that couldn’t happen inside the gym. The home-movies aspect of the KES Science Fair may be here to stay.

what happens when you mix polymers with water?

Thank you!

Special thanks to Science Fair Chair Geraldine Zikely, parent committee members Amita Singh, Nina Cascone and Gentian Falstrom, and teacher Paul Hughes!