Aspen Science Fair: Dogs, hockey and bread |

Aspen Science Fair: Dogs, hockey and bread

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” The Aspen Elementary School gym transformed Tuesday morning into a center of science and research, abuzz with parents and students, as the annual Science Fair got under way.

According to fourth-grade teacher Evan O’Branovic, the students had generated their own project ideas and completed the work at home throughout January.

Sophia Mitchell, a third-grade student, began her “Toy Destroyer” project by wondering whether her dog wrecked toys faster than other dogs, statistically speaking.

“We have this giant dog,” explained her mother, Marnie Mitchell. “Every time we give him a toy, he destroys it pretty quickly.”

Sophia gave several toys ” including a large rubber chicken dressed in a Santa outfit ” to both her dog and a neighboring dog. She was able to conclude that her dog is, in fact, an unusually competent toy destroyer.

Not all the experiments went off so smoothly. Ollie Lueck, also a third-grade student, found solar-oven baking in Aspen in January to be a bit of a challenge.

The oven dried the cookies out before it actually baked them, she said. On the upside, it did a great job of heating up already-baked cookies and bagel bites.

“Maybe the clouds were blocking the sun, so the sun couldn’t get close enough,” she hypothesized.

Fourth-grader Christopher Hoover turned his love of hockey into his science project. Hoover studied which hockey sticks were fastest. Using a puck imbedded with radar, he took 21 shots with three sticks ” and found graphite to be the best material for speed.

Alas, the young hockey player won’t be able to take advantage of this knowledge for a few more years. His dad explained that he’ll play with a wood stick until he’s 13, since the Junior Hockey program has found that kids who learn on wood sticks develop into better players.

MacKenzie Miller, also in the fourth grade, also turned an interest ” baking ” into an experiment, studying good and bad environments for growing yeast. Having learned that sugar makes a big difference, she said she’ll make sure all her breads have sugar in them.

“It’s important to know why the bread rises and how the bread rises,” she concluded.

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