Caio intently lowers the paperclip hook into the makeshift hole in the “ice” to catch a fish without touching the aluminum sides. Rarely do you see this active third grader with such calm focus and determination. If he does touch the side of the hole, the light bulb will turn on and the game will be over.
This creative student-made form of the game “Operation” is one of the science projects made by the fifth graders for the Marshall T.C. Science Fair. When the light bulb lights up, the fifth graders explain that the circuit of wire, battery, and aluminum and Christmas light bulb is completed, thus turning on the light. Another group has a contest of who can figure out how to complete a circuit first. The winner is the one to make a light go on using just a battery, some wire, and a piece of metal along with the disembodied Christmas light.
The classroom is quiet, surprisingly peaceful considering the room is filled with 46 children. Fifth graders are patiently explaining their science projects to the younger students, who sit with eyes wide or stand around stations absorbedly doing experiments, with the occasional hushed “Woah!” or “Cool!” to punctuate the atmosphere of discovery.
Other classrooms are full of flowers and food coloring, watercolor paints demonstrating the water science behind art. The third graders get their chance to share their experiments with another class. The smell of shaving cream wafts through the air. Fingers are died blue from the food coloring that managed to not make its way into the shaving cream “cloud” and food coloring model of rain. The structured chaos of the Science Fair showcased the months of hard work and hands-on learning at Marshall Elementary Tutoring Center.
– Kym Lundberg, 3rd grade coordinator at Marshall TC