Fabian Aviles wasn’t sure he would be able to do it, but the Forest Park seventh-grader was determined to create a tornado in the middle school gym.
Using wood and Plexiglas, a small fan, dry ice and boiling water, Aviles set out to reconstruct a physics experiment he had seen on television. Three months of hard work and research paid off for Aviles, and his tornado came to life during the annual science fair at the Forest Park Middle School.
“When I saw that, it got me wondering if I could do that,” Aviles said of creating his own funnel cloud. “It was just really interesting, but I didn’t think I’d do well.”
Aviles’ was one of dozens of students whose work was on display Jan. 27 and 28, and as he gave his presentation it was clear his project was a hit. Other students were eager to catch a glimpse of the steam as it whirled and twirled.
The student-driven projects featured during the two-day event covered a wide range of scientific topics, from physics and chemistry to behavioral and consumer science.
Eighth-grade science teacher Jennifer Hays said students were encouraged to come up with their own research questions and then “go through the process as a scientist would.”
“Ninety-five percent of the kids had those moments where [the experiment] didn’t turn out the way they thought it would,” said Hays.
Seventh-graders Kathleen Rueda and Kyra Green got their inspiration from their parents.
Their project, “Can Adults Pass a Middle School Test?” centered on a 10-question middle school-level exam that covered social studies, math, language arts and science. The girls hypothesized that students would score higher on the exam, so they were surprised to tally the scores and find that students and adults had, on average, scored about the same.
“Parents are always saying they’re smarter than kids,” said Rueda.
Rebecca Kirchner’s interest in the green energy movement drove her to come up with her project, “Do Green Roofs Conserve Energy?”
She built three boxes, each with a different style of wooden roof, and a “green” roof covered in soil and various plants. As she expected, the box with the green roof had the most consistent temperature of the three and stayed measurably cooler.
Other projects at the middle school fair included “Which Fruit Will Mold the Fastest?” by sixth-graders Zada Williams and Tamia McCree; “Are Fingerprints Inherited?” by seventh-grader Nicole Walsh; and “What is the Speed of a Mouse?” by sixth-graders Brady Ryan, Dillon Day, Chris Naylor and Israel Hernandez.