Nobody’s too young for science

Siblings Brad and Nicole Kelley, both students at Naval Avenue Learning Center, look on during an experiment with balloons and baking soda at the school’s science fair.  - Photo by Wesley Remmer
Siblings Brad and Nicole Kelley, both students at Naval Avenue Learning Center, look on during an experiment with balloons and baking soda at the school’s science fair.
— image credit: Photo by Wesley Remmer


Staff writer

Young scientists at Naval Avenue Early Learning Center put their work on display March 6 at the school’s annual science fair, exhibiting investigative projects for family, classmates and teachers.

Students aged preschool through third grade at Naval Avenue participated in group science projects, which asked students to think like a scientist, discovering and presenting a set of findings on a science-related topic.

Beginning in January, students embarked on the “scientific process”. The process called students to brainstorm a project idea, create an explorative question, generate a hypothesis, gather information through field tests and use evidence to draw conclusions on their findings.

“The kids are great, it’s exciting,” said Andy Lloyd, a volunteer who brought his scuba-diving equipment to the fair, showing kids how to estimate depth and water pressure in the ocean.

“They love it. They’re like magnets, they just come right to it,” Lloyd said.

Teams sought to answer questions ranging from which cleaning material removes stains the fastest, to what types of foods mold the fastest, to how the weight of paper effects an airplane’s flight.

“You get to make cool things with different experiments,” said Naval Avenue first-grader Ben Brownstein of learning science.

And while students enjoyed sharing their displays, the evening’s smash hit was an hour-long presentation from Dan Fisher of the Pacific Science Center.

“It’s always a lot of fun to come out to these things,” Fisher said. “The best part of this is seeing the kids get excited.”

And the response was unanimously positive as dozens of youngsters crowded around the stage, eager to see what Fisher had up his sleeve.

“It’s kind of cool, cause they make you feel like a rock star,” Fisher said of elementary-aged students.

Fisher’s visit was sponsored by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and made possible through the North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (NCOSP), which the Bremerton School District belongs to. It is in its fifth and final year of a grant from NCOSP.

NCOSP is a National Science Foundation funded project, seeking to develop and support science education in Washington state schools.

“It’s been a real good collaborative effort,” said Julie Wasserburger, a Navel Avenue PTA member and organizer of the science fair.

Wasserburger said the BSD sends a team of teachers — one from each school — to Western Washington University every summer for a two-week training session, where Professional scientists and teachers of higher education explore ways to make science meaningful in the classroom.

“We’re trying to talk science and teach science,” Wasserburger said.

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