Showing off their science skills

First Posted: 3/10/2014

Dallas Elementary students showed off their scientific skills at the 19th Annual Dallas Elementary PTO Science Fair on March 6 in the elementary school gym.

Karen Alaimo, organizer of the event, said there was an increase in the number of students who registered projects this year, with 220 children displaying 126 projects. Alaimo said participation in the event is voluntary for students.

Jason and Amanda Puza, a brother-sister team from Dallas, worked together for the first time this year. The pair came up with their “Mystery Matter” project by researching different ideas on the Internet.

“It’s a mix of corn starch and water,” said 9-year-old Jason. “I saw a video on it and thought it looked cool.”

Jason said the substance, to which he added green food coloring for a slimy effect, was supposed to demonstrate that some matter can be considered both a liquid and a solid. He and his sister had trouble deciding whether the green goo was more a liquid or a solid.

“It’s both,” he said. “It’s really weird. It’s like putty almost.”

Jason has entered the science fair in years past, and he likes science more than other subjects in school.

“I like it because no one could tell you what to do,” he said.

Jody Puza, the pair’s mother, said this year it was fun to watch her two children work together, even if the project they chose was a little messy.

“I liked that they worked together,” she said. “It doesn’t happen much. I think they said their project was more successful this year than when they did them alone.”

A six-member team also went green during the science fair, but in a different way.

Environment Club members Gabby Avila, of Wyoming; Emma Thomas, Gabby Krotchta, Sabrina Barlow, Maddy Major and Morgan Vincelli, all of Dallas, displayed the difference in water quality between polluted and pristine beaches.

The girls created two model beaches. One was made with sand to depict a clean shore while the other had dirt, baking soda, baking cocoa, Susquehanna River water and green food coloring mixed with the sand to show how chemicals and dirt affect the water.

When the girls poured water and allowed it to filter through both beaches, one glass had clean, clear water and the other glass contained green, polluted water.

“This water is gross,” said Thomas, holding up the green glass.

Thomas joined the Environment Club because she likes animals and wanted to learn how to reduce pollution.

“I like learning about nature and how not to destroy things,” said Major.

Even the smallest students got in on the Science Fair fun. Five-year-old Cassie Alaimo, of Dallas, displayed her project about the density of certain liquids. She layered different liquids like corn syrup, water and cooking oil in bottles to show how they separate.

“If you shake it gently, they are the same, but then they separate,” said Cassie.

Her mother Karen said it was the first time Cassie had participated in the event, but her other daughter, 8-year-old Samantha, has been involved for the past three years. She said a love of science runs in the family.

“My mother was a science teacher and I’m a nurse,” said Karen. “I just liked science more than any other subject in school.”

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