Wapello students use hands-on approach to learning science

BLACKFOOT – Kayelee Williams participated in science fairs during her elementary school years in Blackfoot. So, when she had the opportunity to judge the Wapello Science Fair on Thursday during her spring break from Utah State University, she took it. "They're learning presentation skills and to have confidence in what they're presenting," Williams said of Wapello's fourth and fifth grade students. Amy Wren, the school's science fair coordinator, noted that approximately 100 fourth and fifth grade students are required to participate in the fair as part of their science grade. First, second and third graders have the option of participating or not. "We really want them to learn the scientific method," Wren said. "We want them to have a firm base because of the state's increased science requirements." Williams said learning to be analytical, something she learned from involvement in such activities as the science fair, has served her well in her college studies. Fourth grader Cayden Cornell wondered about the benefits of watching someone playing the Lego Star Wars video game versus actually doing so. His hypothetical question asked if an individual's heart rate rose watching someone else play the game.He thought that it would. "My hypothesis was wrong," Cornell said after having 12 people either play the game or watch someone else do so. "What I learned is it's O.K. to be wrong," he said. "If you got it right, you just got lucky." Cornell said he doesn't really like science, but said he will do it and have fun with it. Amber Leyba wondered if paying more for a specific brand of paper towel was worth the added cost. "I learned which paper towel worked best," she said. "It showed me how to do an experiment." Avery Brown hypothesized that four hollowed-out egg shells would hold eight pounds of weight. She said her hypothesis would demonstrate the strength of domes. "I thought it was cool," she said of her experiment. She noted that one example of a strong dome shape in building is the roof of the Blackfoot swimming pool. "I know that starting young was a definite advantage because I did things like this," said Williams, who is studying art and biology. Other judges included such people as Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue and some school board members.