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Ronan Middle School science fair excites, inspires

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RONAN — Whether you’ve always been curious about what happens to an egg when you leave it in Diet Coke for a week, what vegetables rabbits prefer to eat or the best substance for creating homemade bubbles, Ronan Middle School’s annual science fair has the answer. 

Middle school teachers and event organizers Charla Lake and Jane Whaling said the event, now in its eighth year, is something almost every student looks forward to and enjoys — fairly atypical of a fifth grader’s motivation toward science. 

“A lot of kids do the projects at school in the classrooms, and my class did them all pretty much in class, but it just depends on the year,” Lake said. “We do a lot of science trips in the fifth grade, and almost all of our field trips are science related.”

Lake said the students participate in science-based field trips to Yellow Bay, the National Bison Range and Glacier National Park during the year. The science fair is a culmination of their work, helping to teach the scientific process of question, hypothesis, procedure, materials, experiment and data. 

“My sister is a hygienist, so last year we got actual teeth, which is kind of gross, and put them in Diet Coke, regular Coke, RedBull and Rockstar. It was weird,” Lake said. “(The carbonated drinks) change the teeth, but in different ways.”

Daden Collicott, a fifth grade student and possibly future scientist, sought to discover which substance made for the best bubbles: corn syrup or glycerin. 

“A lot of people chose glycerin, but it works less,” he said. “I love corn syrup because it makes more bubbles. I think it makes about as many bubbles as normal bubble stuff. (Performing the experiment) was fun. I love playing with bubbles.”

Regardless of the experiment being performed, every student and educator at the event was laughing and smiling. 

“They’re still excited about it,” Whaling said. “That’s the whole idea, getting excited about science, and they love working on it every day. They want to do it, and they’re actually learning.”

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