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Science fair prepares students for state exams

By By Carolina Astrain - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 9, 2013 at 12:03 a.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2013 at 8:10 p.m.

Alexander "Lex" Wheelock, 7, gives a last look at the car motor he made for his science project, being held by his father, Erik, before moving it to the library to display during the science fair at Ella Schorlemmer Elementary School on Jan. 31.

2013 Schorlemmer

Life Science, Best of Show

William Wright, third grade

Caroline Elliott, fourth grade

Riley Pruski, fifth grade

First place

Joaquin Marroquin, third grade

Kevin Rankins-Perkins, fourth grade

Ross Simnacher, fifth grade

2nd place

Koultre Perry, Third Grade

Kadie Dueser, Fourth Grade

Jordan Council, Fifth Grade

3rd place

Amber Dohman, Third Grade

Isabel Seilkop, Fourth Grade

Karolina Perez Cancel, Fifth Grade

Consumer Science, Best of Show

Andrew Burgos, third grade

Grace Heyde, fourth grade

Beau Henry, fifth grade

First place

Embrie Whisenhunt, third grade

Mathew Greer, fourth grade

Evans Saenz, fifth grade

2nd place

Dakota Schott, Third Grade

Kelsi Darilek, Fourth Grade

Teagan Wertman, Fifth Grade

3rd place

Nathaniel Perez, Third Grade

Jenin Ajrami, Fourth Grade

Rama Hamoudah, Fifth Grade

Earth Science, Best of Show

Jaydn Rangel, third grade

Emily Bastian, fourth grade

Vanessa Gonzales, fifth grade

First place

Liliana Farias, third grade

Madison Nelson, fourth grade

Allen Rojas, fifth grade

2nd place

Gabriel Adams, Third Grade

Madison Long, Fourth Grade

Haleigh De Los Santos, Fifth Grade

3rd place

Sandra Johnson, Third Grade

Brian Guerra, Fourth Grade

The fifth grade winner in the Earth Science category was withheld by the student's guardian.

Physical Science, Best of Show

Lauren Berryhill, third grade

Griff Harrell, fourth grade

Keaton Sides, fifth grade

First place

Gavin Wartsbaugh, third grade

Grayson Maples, fourth grade

Jude Stehling, fifth grade

2nd place

Abram Hinijosa, Third Grade

Rami Ajrami, Fourth Grade

Jay Orosco, Fifth Grade

3rd place

Nate Wooters, Third Grade

Damion Marin, Fourth Grade

Will McBrayer, Fifth Grade

Models/Collections, Best of Show

Kaeli White, second grade

Hailey Despain, second grade

Ms. Hermes, kindergarten

Ms. Yur, kindergarten

First place

Timothy Medrano, second grade

Max Saenz, second grade

Ms. Hernandez, kindergarten

Ms. Miller, kindergarten

2nd place

Laney Morales, Second Grade

Ricardo Johnson, Second Grade

Ms. Kim, Kindergarten

Ms. Spanihel, Kindergarten

3rd place

Lex Wheelock, Second Grade

Josiah Garcia, Second Grade

Ms. Kubala, Kindergarten

SOURCE: VISD

NOTE: Other campuses across the Victoria school district held their own science fairs this winter on varying dates. To get information on the winners, contact the campus of your choosing at their front offices.

Rows of tri-fold poster boards created a labyrinth within Schorlemmer Elementary School's gymnasium Thursday afternoon.

Parents and students waded through clay figurines, petri dishes and detailed explanations behind each project's scientific method.

Michelle Sturm, an Ella Schorlemmer Elementary School learning facilitator, said the fair was the second annual campuswide science competition since the school's opening in 2009.

Judges from the community stepped forward to help decide which students would be walking away with the top-ranking award certificate for Best of Show.

"We had about 12 judges this year," Sturm said. "No parents are allowed to judge. We had some of the administrative staff, parents of faculty members and retired teachers volunteer."

Each presentation received marks for correctly applying the scientific method to their projects by posing a question and then answering it, organization and comprehension.

Fifth-grade science teacher Katherine Schuelke, who has taught for the past 27 years, said she offers examples of projects past to help students brainstorm their entries.

"Sometimes kids absolutely can't figure out what to do," Schuelke said. "All we can provide is guidance."

In fifth grade, Schuelke said she encourages students to create a project to coincide with the grade-level's upcoming science-based STAAR examination.

Fourth-grader Amar Hamasagar, 8, created an electric buzzer using a soda can, rubber band and nail file.

By pushing down on a mouse trap, Amar sent an electric current through a red wire, creating a gameshow buzzer sound.

"It was hard to put together because I had trouble choosing the right bolt," Amar said. "I want to study electrical engineering when I grow up."

Other students posed questions such as, "Why endangered species are endangered?" and put the 5-second germ rule to the test.

Third-grader Andrew Burgos, 9, received a Best of Show award for ranking three brands of batteries by their performance and price.

"It's been fun. It took a lot of hard work," Andrew said. "It took me 11 hours to finish it."

Andrew hypothesized that the cheapest battery, Rayovac, would come out victorious, but the Duracell battery he tested came out on top.

In the Life Science competition, third-grader William Wright, 9, took the Best of Show award by seeing which type of fruit would rot the worst in a 25-day time period.

William and his mother Laura Wright ate the surviving green apple and grapefruit which endured the longest throughout the experiment.

"At first, I thought the fruit with the thickest skin, the banana, was going to win," William said. "Next, I want to see what sort of plant will grow the largest by using Dr. Pepper instead of water."

The upcoming exam will have 18 questions on the physical sciences, 14 questions on organisms and environments and 12 questions on earth and space.

To teach students about physical sciences, the bulk subject of the STAAR exam's questions, the science teacher said she used stop-animation in her classroom to demonstrate the cycle between night and day.

"We just want to increase that love of science and that love of learning of maybe learning about things they didn't know before," the science teacher said.

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