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Martin elementary students show off science experiments
Kids learning about the scientific method
Dalton Phillips, left, and Eduardo Garcia look over a science project about air pressure put together by Cole Norris at the science fair at Martin Technology Academy of Math and Science. - photo by Tom Reed

FLOWERY BRANCH — Science is a big deal at this elementary school.

Teachers spend about 45 minutes each day instructing kids about the scientific method and doing experiments.

And on Thursday, the students at Martin Technology Academy of Math and Science got to show off what they're learning with a schoolwide science fair.

Elijah Gainey, a third-grader, learned that hamburgers from McDonald's and Sonic have a lot more preservatives than those that are homemade. Burgers sitting in Tupperware containers in front of his tri-fold presentation board showed molds growing on the food with the least amount of preservatives.

Lena Moller, also a third-grader, found out stirring creamy chicken noodle soup cools it faster than blowing on it or putting it in the fridge. Graphs detailed the results of her experiment.

And Sarah Brett's first-grade class determined that Mentos candy reacts more strongly with Diet Coke than some other sodas.

"We thought that it was going to be a particular soda, Dr. Pepper," Brett said. "And it ended up not being the one that lost the most (liquid). It was Diet Coke who won."

In all, 115 projects were entered into the fair.

"They were unbelievably amazing," Tamara Etterling, principal of Martin, said of the projects. "We had the most entries we've had since we've been doing the science fair."

Each project was done using the scientific method.

Students researched, hypothesized, experimented and came up with conclusions.

Kindergartners through second-graders did classwide projects, and older children did projects on their own or with a partner.

Emma Siebert, a third-grader, tested how much sunlight pansies need.

"I thought that all day would be too much, but it turns out to be just right," she said, pointing to a pansy full of perky flowers.

Valentina Bedoya and Melanie Valencia, fifth-graders, used limes to power a clock.

"It was pretty cool to find out that it actually worked," Bedoya said.

Instructional coach Heather Duncan said the focus on science has been fun for the kids.

"Our main goal this year with us being a charter math and science school was just to get participation and for the kids to have fun," she said. "... A lot of the kids haven't ever experienced getting to do experiments and doing the science fair."

The excitement showed as students filed through the lunch room perusing projects other students had done. Some leaned in to get a closer look at model volcanos or grabbed their friends to show them a particular project.

"They went through and were like ‘Ooh! I want to do that one next year,'" said Carrie Shadburn, a kindergarten teacher. "So that was good for them too to see all the different projects that students had done so that they could kind of prepare themselves for the following school year."