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Young scientists shine at Brookfield Elementary Science Fair

First annual fair drew more than 135 youth projects

Second grader Katie McCardle gets a birds-eye view of the awards announcments from her dad John's shoulder during the first annual Science Fair at Brookfield Elementary School on Jan. 31 that drew 135 enties from 200 students.

Second grader Katie McCardle gets a birds-eye view of the awards announcments from her dad John's shoulder during the first annual Science Fair at Brookfield Elementary School on Jan. 31 that drew 135 enties from 200 students. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Feb. 5, 2013

More than 200 students at Brookfield Elementary School combined school curricula and their creative energy for the school's first annual Science Fair on Friday.

The young scientists had six weeks to design science projects for the fair, put on by the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

The fair was open to all students, kindergarten through fifth grade, and was started by a parent at Hillside Elementary School five years ago.

When that parent's child graduated, she asked Sara and Tyler Traband to carry on the tradition.

Since the Traband children attend Brookfield Elementary, the Trabands decided to bring the fair to Brookfield Elementary for the first time.

"We had no idea it would turn out like this," Sara said. You can see the children's pride in their work. This was something they did on their own from start to finish and allows them to extend what they are learning in the classroom."

Project boards covered in fancy designs, pictures and the scientific method filled the school's gymnasium, with the young inventors, some dressed in white lab coats, explaining their projects to parents and school staff during an open house.

Neha George, a 7-year-old at the school, proudly displayed her "What do plants drink?" project and explained what she had learned during the experiment.

"I gave all of my plants juice, milk, soda and water," Neha said. "I learned that plants don't like juice or milk. They kind of fell over after a few weeks."

Neha's mother, Rasika George, said she was excited to see her daughter use what she had learned in science class in her project.

"I am so proud of her," Rasika said. "She did it all by herself. She didn't want any help from me."

Kristin Petersen, Neha's first grade teacher, concurred.

"This is a fantastic extension of students using knowledge from class to develop projects," Peterson said. "More than half the students in my class participated."

The projects were critiqued by a panel of ten judges, including Bob Bonadurer, astronomer and director of the Daniel M. Soref planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum, and Mark Hansen, superintendent of the Elmbrook School District.

The school's principal, Lynn Raines, dressed up as "Miss Frizzle" from the popular children's science show "The Magic School Bus" and announced the winners.

The winners of the kindergarten through second grade category were Gabriella Rise, 8, and Arisha Sobhani, 7.

The girls teamed up to create a "Spud Lightyear" project, using potatoes to power a small light bulb.

"We wanted to see if the potato could make the light come on," Rise said. "And it did, and we were excited."

The duo won tickets to the Milwaukee County Zoo and said they plan to participate in the fair next year.

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