SCHOOLS | Hidden Creek Quest students combine imagination with science

From left, Blake Woodford, Sam Hanson, Maxine Winslow and Alena McCrea won awards at the fifth-grade level during last week's Washington State Science Fair at Bremerton High School. The four students are in the Quest Program, which is South Kitsap School District’s Highly Capable Program, at Hidden Creek Elementary School.
— image credit: Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo

It was an idea that marinated from searching the Internet.

Maxine Winslow, who placed first among fifth graders at last week’s Washington State Science Fair at Bremerton High School, watched an experiment at revolving around levitating copper. The experiment led her to focus her project on physics.

Winslow, a student in the Quest Program at Hidden Creek Elementary School, decided she would take cow magnets, which are about 3 inches long and are used as a veterinary medical device for the treatment or prevention of hardware disease in cattle, and see whether they travel fastest down paper, plastic or copper tubes that rest 113 inches from the ground. Winslow hypothesized “copper will be the slowest because it is a conductor.” That proved correct as the cow magnet repeatedly finished about a second slower in the copper tube. Winslow said the cow magnets that traveled through paper and plastic tubing had nearly identical times.

She said the experience was valuable as she learned about conductors and insulators and how “magnetic fields make a difference.”Winslow was among three fifth-grade students in Quest, which is South Kitsap School District’s Highly Capable Program, to place at the event.

• Blake Woodford earned first place for Outstanding Fire Science & Safety Project and placed second overall in his grade. Several months ago, he watched the popular “Mythbusters” television show and saw people testing the flammability of shirts. Woodford sought to find out the flammability of different fabrics, including cotton, fleece, nylon and silk.

“My hypothesis was that nylon would burn faster because it is a petroleum-based product,” he said. “Fleece also is, but it is thicker.”Woodford found out that cotton (8.87 seconds) burned the fastest, while silk (27.16 seconds) was the slowest. He attributed that to cotton featuring a “larger surface area.”

• Sam Hanson placed third overall in his grade. After observing his 2-year-old brother around bubbles, Hanson decided to center his project on solutions. He tested laundry detergent, glycerin and corn syrup to determine which had the most surface tension.

“I wanted to create a stronger solution to make stronger bubbles,” said Hanson, noting that windy conditions at his house often result in his store-bought bubbles quickly bursting.

Hanson created a wand from his father’s metal wiring and set up a digital camera to take a sequence of photos. He loaded the last one before they burst onto his computer. Hanson found that glycerin, which reached an average of 6.55 centimeters before bursting, was the strongest solution.

• Alena McCrea earned an honorable mention in her grade. She tested how gummy bears would react in a variety of different liquids.

“My hypothesis was that they would enlarge at the same rate, possibly from the gelatin in them,” McCrea said.

Instead, McCrea found that the gummy bears reacted differently. The ones she sunk in peroxide and vinegar dissolved, while salt water caused them to double in size and others in juice and soda became three times as large.


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