Scientists Return to Their Beginnings

Zoe Novotny

The students in Keith Barger’s Anatomy class are use to dissecting things. Earlier this month, however, they were asked to examine something that isn’t usually a part of the course. The students acted as judges for the annual Ute Pass Elementary Science Fair. Some of the Anatomy students participated in the event themselves when they were in elementary school and were excited to be a part of it this year.

The more than a dozen Anatomy students were all somewhat nervous, but were surprised and happy to see the principal, vice principal, and some of the staff waiting for their arrival in front of a long table full of sandwiches and snacks. The class was briefed on the process of judging and what to expect from the students, as well as precautions such as keeping the meetings professional and nameless.

The well-dressed fourth and fifth graders sat nervously in front of their nicely-decorated and brightly colored boards. Some looked at the ground the entire time and nearly whispered, while others were enthusiastic and courteous to their audience. All of the projects were creative and interesting, for example one called the Gauss Rifle used earth magnets to magnify the kinetic energy between the shift of the balls up to 10 times, forcing the last one to shoot off the rifle up to 300ft.

They were all required to have a board and an extra read-along packet of information, as well as pictures, etc,. Some spent the entire time on their decorations and the aesthetics of the project, one looking like a giant neon light in a black hole. Others were very simple but still interesting, for instance how color paper changes in the sunlight. The student’s board was rather clean, with bright strips of paper running along it.

The competitors spent long nights working with their parents or silbings on making glitter letters, 3d images coming off of the board, colorful charts, etc,. They were all very excited about the process and their findings afterwords. They loved being judged by the high school students compared to the teachers and parents because they were easier to talk to and had a more exiting energy.

The Manitou high school students appreciated the special treatment, as well as the candy that was served afterwords while they added up their scores.