College Science Fair Returns to Buena Vista Horace Mann

Does the five-second rule really work? What type of paper plane flies the best? Does your heart rate change when watching a horror movie? Does Diet Coke explode crazier than Coke?

Our city’s future thought leaders put these questions and more to the test on Thursday, March 16 at the Buena Vista Horace Mann Science Fair, where about 100 sixth, seventh and eighth graders proudly displayed tri-fold billboards bearing their experiences.

(To answer your questions: no, the five-second rule is “gross” – a slice of apple on the ground will be covered in bacteria the moment you pick it up; the best plane shape is “the dart”, with a narrow body and vertical wings; yes, when you’re afraid your heartbeat will race; regular Coke explodes much more than Diet Coke when shaken and can spill onto your clothes.)

This year’s science fair, organized by college science teachers Perla Riva and Todd Albert, was the first fair since pre-pandemic times. The auditorium was buzzing with excited children running around each other’s experiments and families strolling through the rows.

Sixth grader Leonardo weighed two different types of wood, oak and redwood, and set them on fire to see which burned faster. “I was interested in what they would use in the event of a fire in the building,” he explained. Was it fun to burn things? “Yeah,” he said, laughing. “It was fun.”

Juliana Andrade’s project. Photo by Griffin Jones. Taken on March 16, 2023

Do boys prefer blue and girls pink? “My conclusion is that gender doesn’t affect color preference,” said Juliana, a talkative seventh-grade artist who covered her poster in pink hearts. She made the discovery after polling her classmates’ favorite colors.

This topic, Juliana said, is discussed a lot online. “There are a lot of TikTok videos about it.” His favorite colour ? Pink.

Juliana’s mother, Hamileydi Andrade, said in Spanish that it was Juliana’s first year at school. She is proud of her daughter and happy with the support the teachers have given her.

A few rows away, Donovan, a sixth-grader, wanted to see what type of ball would launch the farthest from a catapult. “I had a foosball, a wiffle ball and a stress ball – which were stolen,” Donovan said. The wiffle ball went the furthest, to everyone’s surprise.

Sixth-year Best Overall winner Liam was posted next to his board near the entrance to the auditorium. He loves playing guitar and is an avid Smiths fan, which inspired his experience. “My favorite song is ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,'” Liam said.

“I realized that the size of the hole in a guitar didn’t really affect the decibels coming out of it,” he said, a discovery that changed the way he played. “It turns out that most of the sound comes from the body and the neck of the guitar.”

One of the adults who went from council to council was Sebastian Beaudet, a counselor for sixth and seventh graders at the school’s wellness centre. “I’m a judge – no pressure,” he laughed. “I know all these kids very well, so I keep thinking, ‘don’t hate me!'”

A few kids rushed down the narrow row to see the slime someone had made. Rumor spread about the Five Second Rule experiment – “I always wondered!” said a passing parent.

“With all this garden history, this has been an eventful year,” said one parent, referring to arsenic and lead detected in the garden and school water in December. “I grew up in the San Francisco school district, so I’m not surprised.”

“It’s hot in here,” said another. “But you don’t see anyone drinking tap water.” Many parents said the fair was a welcome highlight of the year, as mistrust of the district is high.

In a middle row was seventh-year “Best Overall” winner Fernanda Sanchez-Lopez. “I’m not really a fan of doctors and vaccines,” she told Mission Local. “So I was like, ‘why not make all the medicine so you can just drink it?'”

In water at blood temperature she dissolved a liquid, and in water at stomach temperature she dissolved a pill. “The pill didn’t break down for three whole minutes,” while “the liquid took 10 seconds. It actually affects your body faster.

She was disappointed – “I really hate injections” – but now says she understands why doctors give them.

Everything you need to test the scientific method. Photo by Griffin Jones. Caught on March 16, 2023, “The Dart” paper airplane flew everything. Photo by Griffin Jones. Taken March 16, 2023 It flies. Photo by Griffin Jones. Taken on March 16, 2023

Brandon Austin and his son Mani travel to Buena Vista Horace Mann from Vallejo. Austin, who grew up in the Fillmore of San Francisco, appreciates the teaching at the bilingual school. Mani is almost fluent in Spanish.

For his experiment, Mani wanted to see how hot or cold temperatures affect batteries. It turns out that the colder it is, the better. “

Should people start putting their phones in the freezer? “The fridge would work better, just to make sure your battery doesn’t explode on you” is Mani’s advice.

Explosions are a strong theme of the show. “Diet Coke explodes less and Regular Coke explodes more,” said eighth-grader Gabriel. “I thought Diet Coke would explode more because it has more chemicals. Normal Coke explodes a lot more and I got into it when I was experimenting.

Zein, a seventh-grader whose experiment was awarded “most involved,” played several chord progressions for five children and five adults and asked them to rate the chords from happiest to saddest. Comparing the results, Zein noted that “teenagers are more decisive. They may have a better musical ear. Many adults noted the ‘3’ chords, right between happy and sad.

What’s it like to be a winner? “It’s surreal,” Zein told Mission Local. “It’s hard to describe. I am very happy.”

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