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High schoolers demo projects for younger students

From holograms to a hovercraft and from polymers to pyrotechnics, Lake Placid High School’s Science Expo Tuesday aimed to amaze, entertain and educate students from Lake Placid elementary and middle schools.

The day-long expo, which was presented by the school’s honors chemistry and honors physics classes, was held in the Lake Placid High Commons.

Lake Placid Elementary third-grader Haiden Duncan got a close look at a smoke rings device made from a 40-gallon rubber trash bin. He stood by as Lake Placid High senior Trenton Baxter shot out 2-foot-in-diameter smoke rings, which traveled about 20 feet before dissipating.

Duncan said, “It looks like a cannon, but smoke comes out and it’s really cool.”

Third-grader Mia Rivera liked the Glow in the Dark Ink project.

“When you draw with the highlighter and put it under a black light, it glows in the dark and it’s awesome,” she said. “I drew a heart and it glowed in the dark.”

She also liked the “elephant toothpaste” project that demonstrated a decomposition reaction, which causes a mixture to expand rapidly.

“It exploded,” Rivera said.

Lake Placid Elementary teacher Wendi Presley said the elementary students were taking notes on what they saw and how it worked.

“They are just learning all kinds of new things about science from a different perspective from a different age group,” she said.

About 600 students from the two visiting schools attended the expo.

Lake Placid High science teacher Cindy Rivers said this type of science event hasn’t been done in about eight to 10 years.

“I figured it was time to bring it back,” she said.

Her 65 honors students chose a topic that could be demonstrated in a “Mr. Wizard” type fashion so it would be fun for the younger students to watch, Rivers said.

The students wrote a paper on their project and then demonstrated it last week in front of the class using proper scientific terms and principles.

Rivers explained a project that involved a kiddy pool and bubbles as an example of how surface tension causes the bubbles. The thickness of the bubbles determines the colors that reflect from them.

“You can tell when a bubble is about to pop based up the diffraction of light through the bubble,” Rivers said.

Another project involved non-Newtonian fluids, which solidify under pressure, but then becomes a liquid when the pressure is released, she said. The phenomenon is demonstrated with a substance called oobleck, which is made from cornstarch and water.


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