Feb. 23, 2005 - Students at Painted Sky Elementary School are shaving their heads, swimming in cold pools and hanging upside down, all in the name of science.
Many of these students began working months ago on the projects that were on display at the school Feb. 14 through 18.
Third grader Jared Agron was the head-shaver in the group. A curiosity about which grows faster - hair or fur - inspired his project.
"We shaved a spot on me and my dog and we saw that my dog's hair actually grows faster," he explained. "I actually had gotten sick when I was really ahead and the dog just passed me up."
Jared also did an informational project board on Tae Kwon Do, in which he recently earned a black belt. Annamarie Gansheimer's experiment also dealt with hair, though in a slightly less destructive way. She selected from "the millions of ponytail holders" in her room and narrowed down the group to six test subjects, explained her mother, Mary.
"Sometimes she'll go to school and her hair will stay and sometimes she'll come home and her hair will be a big mess," Mary Gansheimer continued.
Annamarie described the tiring scientific method she used in coming to her conclusion: "I would just go outside and run around and hang upside down," she said. Her mom measured how far each holder slipped and noted the time when it finally fell out. Mary Gansheimer said her daughter enjoys science "as long as it's girly like this. Last year we did one on Barbie and how long their hair takes to dry." Third grader Logan Carichner had his own water experiment.
"My experiment was (to find) a way that I could know the pool temperature so I could go swimming without my parents having to open the gate for me," he said. He measured his pool's temperature at 4 p.m., then took an average of the previous day's high and low temperatures, which he found in the newspaper. Logan discovered that the pool was 2.12 degrees colder than the average of the previous day's temperatures. The experiment was a lot of math for a third grader. Did he understand how to do those calculations before his science fair project?
"Not really," Logan said. And now that the project is done? "Not really." Logan said he enjoyed participating in the science fair - especially creating the display and "putting all the stickers and stuff on it."
But it was certainly not a project he could have done alone.
"I think it's important to work with them so that you both understand what is expected," said his father, Dave Carichner. "Also, it's not something you can do in a very short period of time. It's better to stretch it out over even a couple of months."
Mary Gansheimer said even the younger members of her family got involved.
"Her little brother watches too and he'll be in kindergarten next year and kind of gets excited," she said.
Jared Agron advised that motivation is the most important part to a successful science fair project. "Just go for it," he said, "there's no bad side of it. It's tons of fun and you learn a lot of stuff."