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Student Scientists Put Their Work On Display

The titles alone are intriguing:

“Moldy Food.” “Does Air Take Up Space?” ”Travel Scrubber.” “Color Change Taste.” There’s even one about a green guacamole guarantee.

Hundreds of students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in school-based Science Fair and Invention Convention competitions this year, and the best of the best will be on display on Saturday April 23 at Illing Middle School.

“These types of personalized learning opportunities help prepare our students for the 21st century,” said Dr. Santosha Oliver, the district’s director of teaching and learning for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

About 100 students will be involved Saturday, including 76 participating in the District-Wide Science Fair. These are the first-place winners from the school Science Fairs that were held recently.

Illing’s two gymnasiums will be a home to dozens of those familiar tri-fold boards – and all sorts of accompanying apparatus. The public part of the day starts at 9 a.m., with a program that includes remarks from dignitaries including Molly Devanney (of Highland Park Market) and Mallory Kievmann (a Manchester teenager who invented the “Hiccupop” -- a lollipop that helps stop hiccups).

Judging takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. -- and the public is welcome to peruse the projects. As for the judges, there are 26 of them, including experts from companies including Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and APS Technology.

Awards will be presented starting at 12:30. There will be one winner from each grade band (K-1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8) in each of the three categories (investigation, model or invention) for a total of 12 district-wide winners. The winners will receive a trophy -- and all participating students will get a goody bag and an admission ticket to the CT Science Center.

Adding to Saturday’s ambience: there will be refreshments and door prizes given away in the cafeteria -- all thanks to the generosity of local businesses. Also in the cafe will be a display from the Connecticut Science Center.

Incidentally, the 23 students entered in the “invention” category have already qualified to also compete in the state Invention Convention, which is held at UConn on Saturday, April 30.

Said Dr. Oliver: “Events like this give our students a unique opportunity to think creatively and critically, to experiment, to solve problems, and to celebrate ‘failures’ and redesign as part of an authentic project-based learning experience.”

Manchester Public Schools 45 North School St, Manchester, CT 06042

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