The Keene Central School held the Keene Central School Super Scientific Science Slam – the first event of its kind for the school — on Thursday, March 8.
“It’s a combination of individual projects, team projects, and other displays,” said event coordinator Jen Kazmierczak, whose first and sixth graders took part in the event.
“We thought, ‘Let’s make a night where we can have kids come in and learn about and get excited about science,’ and it turned into a Super Scientific Science Slam,” Kazmierczak said.
“We wanted to do a night where science could be participatory and interactive,” said middle and high school life science teacher Mary Werner. “We were trying to make science fun — too many times people get intimidated by it.”
“The idea came from a simple conversation. We sent a note to the superintendent and she said to run with it,” added Kazmierczak. A planning team of parents, teachers, and community members organized the event.
“We had a lot of parental support,” said Werner. “It’s a very supportive community.”
“We hoped we would get community involvement, but we didn’t expect this — how many kids got the community involved in their projects,” said Kazmierczak.
Not only did the local community and parents get on board to help organize and foster interest in the events, but many area organizations, such as The Wild Center, The Adirondack Museum, and The Nature Conservancy (among many others) were present with their own science displays and tables.
But of the roughly 70 displays and events, most were put together by the students themselves — either individually, in teams, or as part of a class project.
“We’ve never done one of these events before, so it’s really cool to see everyone get into it,” said senior Anna Kowanko, who, with her physics class, created a display, complete with dominos and marbles, that was designed to show energy transfer. Kowanko is planning on majoring in biology or biochemistry in college.
“It’s cool seeing how all the experiments have to do with what you find every day,” said eighth grader Brianna Joannette, who, with her friend Vanessa Held, was displaying how limes can transfer electric current due to their acidity.
“I got the idea from a book on Leonardo DiVinci,” said homeschooled fifth grader Aiden Daniels, whose trebuchet was firing tennis balls the length of the gymnasium. “I named it the Bad Neighbor.”
Other projects were looking to alert visitors and parents to societal concerns. The seventh-grade class conducted an experiment on reaction time and distracted driving, using those who attended the event as their subjects.
“I feel like it would tell them [the participants] not to drive and talk on the cell phone — it isn’t safe,” said seventh grader Ethan Giglinto.
The night culminated with two events in front of a packed house in the gymnasium. The first was an egg drop contest in which students designed containers to protect an egg from breaking when it was dropped from the gym catwalk to the floor below. Four designs succeeded.
In the second and final event, teams of sixth graders raced hover crafts the length of the gym floor. Team Sparta defeated Team Hippies 2-1 in the best of three series.
The night’s success is already building anticipation for next year.
“I’ve heard a lot of kids say ‘I know what I want to do next year,’” said Werner. “If it’s anything like this year’s event, it will be something to get excited about.”