San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘Eggstatic’ Children At Innovative Science Fair

THE air of eagerness and anticipationat the American InternationalSchool was tangible on Wednesdaymorning, as the students prepared forthe final of the “Great Egg Drop”Contest. In a flurry of excitement,fourth and fifth graders ran aroundmaking their last-minute preparations.As part of the school Science Fair,the students have spent the past monthworking on building structures thatwould protect an egg when droppedfrom a height of 5 meters. The structureswhose eggs survived wentthrough to the second round of 6meters, and the grand finale was a dropfrom a height of 7 meters.Teachers carefully placed one eggor more into the delicate structures,which could be made from anythingthat was not pre-fabricated. Hand-madecardboard boxes of varying sizes, imaginativelyfilled with socks, popcorn,newspaper or anything that would cushionthe fall of the egg, were sent up tothe safetymen for the drop from therequired height. Many of the apparatuseshad parachutes made from string andplastic to soften the fall.THE children received extra pointsfor imagination, decoration and thenumber of eggs that could safely beheld within the structure. Most of theboxes were hand-painted in fun, brightcolors: one was based on the cartooncharacter Sponge Bob, paintedyellow and green. There werecolorful red-and-blue cushions,and even a homemade,pink, bunny-rabbit with anegg safely nestled insidethe cushioned stomach.“We are very proudof our science fair,”said Indiana León,teacher and organizerof the eggdrop contest. “Asyou can see, everyonetakes part,” shesaid, as the gymfilled with preschool,elementaryand high-school students,eager to watchthe final. Two teacherswearing yellow plastichelmets readied themselvesby the mat wherethe eggs would drop.THE children stoodby in their teams,watching their designssail through the air,desperately hopingnot to hear that eggs-mackingcrunch.The youngsters’ delight in the taskthey were set was obvious in theirenthusiasm and the level of thought andcare that went into making their structures.“This year to celebrate theScience Fair we decided to do somethinga little different,” said fourth-gradeteacher Amy Smith. “The childrenlose interest doing the same thingyear after year. This time they still hadto follow a scientific method but theygot to build too. They were so excited.”It seems they were not the onlyones. The experiment encouraged theparents to get their thinking caps on tooand work with their children. Accordingto the teachers, moms and dads alsothoroughly enjoyed testing out theinventions. The experiment was a greatsuccess and in the final, nine in 17teams managed to build structures thatprotected the eggs from a 7-meter drop.THE sixth- to 12th-graders alsopresented their work for the ScienceFair. They invented machines based onthe drawings of cartoonist RubeGoldberg, whose crazy cartoons picturedfantastic inventions, which led tohis name being used for complicateddevices. The children studied his workand then came up with inventions oftheir own.Basic requirements of the machinesinvolved incorporating a pulley, a lever,an incline plane and a wedge. In addition,the invention had to work in foursteps. They could be as creative as theyliked, and their imaginations went wild.A puppy-food machine, a can-recyclingplant, a skittle machine and aninvention to switch on Christmaslights were among the few ondisplay.JOANN Parsons, scienceteacher at the school andinstigator of the dramaticchange in this year’sScience Fair, said: “Thisproject is about responsibility.I taught in Floridaand went to the ScienceOlympiad, where Ilearned that childrenbecome enthusiasticabout their work ifthey take responsibilityand ownership of it.”Pride and happinesswere visible on everyone’sface. School DirectorLarue Goldfinch, said:“I’m glad we have theScience Fair and this oneis more fun than usual. Itwas getting difficult anddry, but this year the studentswere excited and itwas great to combine itwith the egg drop.”

Comments are closed.