Four Corners spice up science night with rockets and eggs

May 25—SUPERIOR—Curiosity took flight at Four Corners Elementary School during science night on Tuesday, May 23.

Hand-made paper rockets soared through the sky propelled by the air; eggs wrapped in bubble wrap, rubber bands and paper wrappers dipped from an East Central Energy bucket truck to the ground; children were mixing handfuls of sparkling slime; they hammered wooden projects; and they dug trenches in the sand to help rubber ducks move downstream.

“It’s been a huge success,” said Family Engagement Coordinator Ellen Chicka. “Over 200-225 people have registered for this event, and we only have 191 kids, so over half of our kids have signed up to come, which is awesome.”

In front of the school, free bicycle helmets were distributed and fitted to students by the volunteer firefighters of the cities of Superior and Oakland. Chicka received a $2,250 grant from Essentia Health to purchase helmets for every student in the school. The kids rode a bike rodeo course hosted by Douglas County Sheriff Matt Izzard and some of the deputies in the office.

“Kids generally love the team cars. It’s good to be back in the neighborhood,” Izzard said.

Luciana Ranelli, education coordinator at the Lake Superior Estuarine National Research Reserve, agrees.

“I just think it’s important to meet people where they are — their community sites and at school — and so we were thrilled to extend the invitation to Four Corners,” she said.

While the NERR focuses more on the St. Louis River area, the rural school is in the watershed.

“The kids here really know the water and know what it means, so it’s important to be here,” Ranelli said.

Middle School STEM teacher Mike Schlangen helped the students create and launch paper rockets with an air compressor device. This is an end-of-year activity that seventh graders enjoy.

The Four Corners students were doing very well, he said.

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“It’s pretty fun because you can build it a million different ways, and they’re all having fun no matter if it goes 20 feet or 100 feet. They just have to press the button,” Schlangen said.

Two senior high school students – Lily and Zakk Holmquist – and their grandmother Chris Bay helped the children and their families select and water waterless plants donated by Missinne Greenhouse and Landscape to bring home. The three live close to the school and have deep roots there. Lily and Zakk’s mother attended the school when it was built.

“It’s a very local, community-focused, community-based school,” Bay said.

The science evening was organized by the Four Corners PTA and Chicka.

“We try to do fun things for kids every year,” PTA President Chelsea Rasmussen said.

PTA funding helped pay for food and supplies, and community partners like Missinne’s, Home Depot, East Central Energy and Essentia Health stepped up to make sure everything was free for families.

Rasmussen said they threw a hodgepodge of activities together. The result was, scientifically speaking, a success.

“I like variety, so I think everyone finds something that makes them happy. Some kids ride their bikes outside and some build, so that’s great,” Chicka said.

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