Guest Column Need to be tough to be a 5th grade scientist

You have to be tough to be a 5th grade scientist! Okay, but how tough is tough enough?

Must you be tough in the sense that you are wiling to devote many hours of your time to research and experimentation? Sure its loads of fun and unbelievably interesting too, but a Science Fair project is still work.

Does tough mean that even though you are 10 or 11 years old, you jump at the unusual opportunity to volunteer to design your own experiment, and learn about controls, variables, hypotheses, charts, graphs, and conclusions? Dont forget the creativity, intelligence, and organization that it takes to construct your first-ever tri fold board as part of the display that will teach the world all youve learned. Did I say the world? I meant every Science Fair judge, student, teacher, custodian, secretary, superintendent, principal, parent, grandparent, community member, board member, and lunch lady lucky enough to check out your work.

Are you tough because you must overcome a students overwhelming desire to get the right answer? This years scientists showed great maturity and true scientific thought in forming a hypothesis, experimenting to find the answer, and, in some cases, disproving their own hypothesis. Their reasoning was of such high quality that they didnt feel the need to change their original hypothesis when the data from repeated trials pointed to a different answer. A 5th grade scientist knows that some of the best discoveries in recorded history came from results that were not the expected.

Thats right! To be tough enough to be a 5th grade scientist, you need to be able to handle all of the above and a lot more. Yes, unless you are one of these unique individuals, you cant really understand just how much heart and soul they pour into their science projects. However, as the legions of people who have talked with the 5th graders can tell you, every scientist has enormous passion and pride. Theyve found a new way of thinking, more creativity, a stronger degree of responsibility, and a deep working knowledge of the subject of their work.

Now you may say, Wow! Who are these scientists? Well, before I reveal their names, heres another incredible fact. Four Life Skills students rose above their disabilities and those who said it could never be done, to complete a project with the help of their teacher, Mrs. Hartz, and former 5th grade scientist, Megan Waidelich. Now thats amazing! Those scientists are Grace McKenna, Evan Devall, Anthony Misko, and Andrew Baptist. They earned the elusive Spirit of Science Award, and inspired us to go for the gold!

Here are the rest of the 5th grade scientists for 2013. When you see them, ask about their project, and say thank you.

From the 5th grade classes of Mrs. Ashman, Mrs. Blatt, Mrs. Delong, Ms. Dietrich, and Mrs. Ruth:

Grayce Berk, Xavier Bishop, Morgan Claypoole, Greta Feiertag, Kian Kanaskie, Emily Maddock, Derek Shean, Alexis Swavely, Emmanuela Alaimo, Sarah Bubbenmoyer, Isabella Pizzelanti, Lauren Dengler, Elizabeth Diehl, Devan Hanna, Justin Moyer, Owen Stemko, Molly Brown, Derek Hanna, Madison Held, Danan Johnson, Emma Ketterer, Dominic Santoro, Taryn Stauffer, Annika Gally, Abigail Hilbert, Jakob Hollenbach, Samantha Ide, Owen Kulp, Kaylen Leiby and Sydney Sheetz.

Linda Schroeder

Science Fair coordinator