COAL CITY – To find the latest research about the science behind melting chocolate chips, talk to Coal City fifth- graders Hailey Miller and Madison Singleton.
The students-turned-scientists spent several class periods testing which type of chocolate – white, dark or milk – would melt at the fastest rate before presenting their findings at the Coal City Intermediate School’s science fair Tuesday evening.
“Our hypothesis was wrong,” Singleton said to a group of onlookers gathered around their presentation table. “We thought milk chocolate would melt faster because it was milkier, but it was the dark.”
More than 200 parents, faculty and community members came to the school’s sixth annual fifth-grade science fair, which showcased nearly 60 student-made projects inside the school’s gymnasium.
The event was organized by fifth-grade teachers Jenn Rink and Neil Nicholson.
“The students love it,” Rink said. “They take ownership and pride in their projects because they get to make them their own.”
Preparation for the science fair began in their classrooms months ago, Rink said.
Each student was provided a research question and was required to perform in-class experiments to develop an answer to the question. Rink said the fair is not meant to be a competition but an interactive way to teach the kids about using the scientific method.
“We provided the question and they did everything else,” Rink said.
Questions included “What brand of cereal stays the crunchy the longest?” “Which brand of toothpaste best cleans stains?” and “Which fruit has the most vitamin C?”
“Throughout this process, they learned several aspects of the scientific method,” school principal Tracy Carlson said. “That includes running their own experiments, analyzing data and figuring out if their hypothesis was correct.”
Students Ella Badoreka and Carmella Barkley were surprised by the results of their experiment which looked at what genre of music lowers heart rate the most.
After tracking classmates heart rates as they listened to different music, Barkley and Badoreka found heavy metal music to be the most calming, beating out classical, country and pop music.
“We picked this experiment because it seemed like a challenge,” Badoreka said. “And it was really fun to do. Our favorite part was using the stethoscope.”