Copper Country students show off their work at regional science fair

Students from all over the Copper Country gathered at Michigan Tech yesterday for the annual Western Upper Peninsula Science Fair. ABC 10 Keweenaw Bureau reporter Sam Ali was there for a day of fun and learning.

The Memorial Union Building at Michgian Tech was filled with student from grades four through eight for the annual Western U.P. Science Fair yesterday…not a bad turnout for an event that started off with six students participating in its first year.

“This year, we have 250 students and 175 projects,” event coordinator Joan Chadde said. “Some of the kids work in teams, so it’s definitely really grown.”

Chadde says the Science and Engineering Festival is a way to reward the students for their hard work on their science fair projects and it gives them some fun things to do while they wait for their project to be judged. She added that more than 50 Michigan Tech students from 14 different organizations help make this festival interesting for the children.

“They’re wonderful role models for the younger students that are here. And we help them, items of supplies and organization. But they do it so it’s really a fun event and you can see it’s packed. Parents love it and the kids love it,” she said.

And the activities were wide-ranging, from making silly putty using glue to making ice cream using liquid nitrogen. One demo that caught the eye of many involved a vaccuum and a ball. Physics lab associate Scott Rutterbush explained what happens.

“When we take a ball and we place it in the stream of air, what you actually get is, the air around it pushes up on the ball slightly, allowing it to spin and holds it in the air,” he said.

Upstairs, the students patiently waited as the judges made their way around the projects and interviewed each student about what they learned.

“I did ‘does an ice cube melter faster on a plate or a cup?’, and it melted faster on the cup,” Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary fourth-grader Kami Klein said.

Kami got the idea for the experiment from her dad, and it likely had something to do with the weather.

“I thought, ‘why not do it?’, and I actually had a lot of fun doing this,” she said.

Those who scored an 87% or higher this year will have their project displayed at the Carnegie Museum next month.