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2014-02-27 / Living

Cook-Mason Science Fair brings in “WOW” factor

By Paula Kay Schmidt
810-452-2647 •

SCIENCE TALK – Science teacher Marc Ostrander (blue shirt) discusses the science projects with parents who attended the science fair. 
Photos by Paula Kay Schmidt SCIENCE TALK – Science teacher Marc Ostrander (blue shirt) discusses the science projects with parents who attended the science fair. Photos by Paula Kay Schmidt GRAND BLANC — As if science experiments weren’t exciting enough, the Cook-Mason elementary duo have created a team called the WOW science team, who are responsible for not only the day to day science education of students but for this year’s science fair featuring all the best such events have to offer.

The team consists of Wendy Wittenberg (W), Marc Ostrander (O), and Todd Witnauer (W), or WOW. Under their direction several dozen third, fourth and fifth graders, compiled interesting experiments in everything from paper airplane flight to everybody’s favorite — “How fast does food rot”?

Ostrander said the part he enjoyed most was being able to integrate different people from the community to help, including recruiting some Advance Placement Chemistry students from the high school who helped interview finalists in the judging process. Additional help was provided by students in the National Honor Society.

A science fair project is required for fifth grade according to Ostrander and encouraged in the other grades. The students come up with their own ideas based on personal interests or experience, current events, family and their careers and even the internet.

Projects included debunking YouTube videos, testing the strength of paper towels, cleaning items and ice melting products, as well as how onions make you cry (or not) and a very interesting test of whether cookie sheets are better based on price.

Some were downright scientific, medically speaking and studied blood sugar (glucose) effects, pulse and blood pressure, and the effective- ness of various types of thermometers.

Parents and students alike ran from one colorfully decorated poster board display to another exclaiming over the various hypotheses and conclusions. The student projects included charts, experiments, demonstrations, diagrams, and collections with a scientific objective.

Win or lose, students could also sign up for the Flint Regional Science Fair ( which will be held in mid-March at Kettering University. Science fair competition helps students learn how to develop a question and hypothesis and come up with a method to answer the question.

Additionally, it gives them the opportunity to practice scientific thinking and problem-solving, improvise when a procedure doesn’t work out as predicted, present science findings to others, strengthen math skills through analyzing and graphing data.

Students placed as follows:

3rd grade: 1st: Adam Weurtz, 2nd: Emma Bryant, 3rd: Kate Brody

4th grade: 1st: Nirav Patel, 2nd: Jack Goldie, 3rd: Ava Watson

5th grade: 1st: Gavin Ward, 2nd: Devon Silver, 3rd: Matthew Humphreys

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