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Saratoga Springs school's science fair puts students’ theories to the test

Saratoga Springs school's science fair puts students’ theories to the test

The answers to a variety of scientific questions were on display this week at Division Street Elemen

The answers to a variety of scientific questions were on display this week at Division Street Elementary School’s ninth annual science fair.

Students who created the displays and their parents also heard from professional scientists and engineers from GlobalFoundries in Malta and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in West Milton, among others.

In her exhibit, second-grader Sophia Komorny asked the question: Does it hurt a horse when a horseshoe is nailed to its hoof?

Her display showed how the nails are attached to a portion of the hoof that has little or no nerves in it. The nails don’t hurt, she concluded.

The exhibit, which included a cross section of a horse’s hoof, explained that the center part of the hoof is a tender area.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade got help from their parents on their experiments, which were displayed Monday in the school gym.

School Principal Greer Miller said more than 200 students created experiments and displays for the science fair. She said hundreds of parents and students attended the evening segment of the science fair, during which scientists and engineers from the Capital Region made presentations.

Reagan Buhrmaster, 9, conducted an experiment to see which of his basketballs has the most bounce. The third-grader has eight different basketballs at his home in Rowland’s Hollow. He and his 6-year-old sister, Arden Mae, bounced the balls and recorded the results.

Buhrmaster said they bounced each ball 10 times and took measurements. His display showed photos of Reagan and his younger sister conducting the experiment.

“We wanted a lot of visuals,” said Reagan’s mother, Kathleen Buhrmaster.

The result of the experiment: the NBA basketball had the best bounce.

Reagan’s teacher, Lauren Hastings, said Buhrmaster’s experiment was practical.

“It’s related to his life,” Hastings said.

Reagan said he loves basketball and the Boston Celtics are his favorite team.

Stephen Verral, 8, another third-grader, made his own metal detector using a transistor radio and a small calculator.

His experiment was to see if he could make his own metal detector, like one he saw made on television, and whether it was better than a store-bought metal detector.

Verral showed that his detector did an excellent job detecting copper but not other metals. The result of the experiment: The store-bought metal detector worked better because it could detect a variety of metals, copper included.

The fair also included special educational displays in other parts of the school brought in by GlobalFoundries, the Empire State Aerosciences Museum (flight simulator), the Schenectady Museum (Van der Graaf static ball), Starlab Planetarium and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (live bird presentation).

John Todorovic, a General Electric Co. employee and science fair volunteer, said each student poses a question, or hypothesis, and guesses what the answer may be. The student then uses the scientific process of experimentation to see if this hypothesis is true.

For example, one student, fifth-grader Brianna Raisor, asked if it may be true that toothpaste used in ancient Egypt might be better than modern toothpaste. The Egyptians used mint, salt, pepper and dried Iris flower in their toothpaste, she explained in her display. The results of her experiment showed that modern toothpaste is slightly better than that used as far back as 3,000 BC.

The experiments are not judged, but student participation is recognized.

Todorovic, who is also a member of the Division Street school’s PTA, said six students were recognized for having participated in the science fairs from the time they were in kindergarten through fifth grade.

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