February 26, 2016

Fair mixes science, social studies

FairBob Ellis/staff photographer
Homer Intermediate School fifth-grader Jonah Campos demonstrates his science experiment, “Can Static Electricity Clean The Air” on Thursday at the annual Janet Oechsle Homer Intermediate Science and Social Studies Fair. Campos won the grand prize and a medal for his efforts.

Staff Reporter

HOMER — Eleven-year-old Matthew Fagerheim said he has been interested in American history ever since he was 2; he wants to be a politician.
Homer Intermediate School gave the fifth-grader the opportunity to research his love of history by allowing social studies projects in this year’s Janet Oechsle Homer Intermediate Science and Social Studies Fair.
Fagerheim used photos taken at Fort Stanwix in Rome, near Utica, for hisreport on “The Importanceof Fort Stanwix,” a place he had visited twice with his family. Fagerheim said he was a history buff, and was impressed with the fort. Included in his project was a map of the state markedwith pins of different battle points, including the Saratoga campaign, a turning point in the American Revolution, Fagerheim said.
Fourth- and fifth-grade teachers at Homer Intermediate School decided to incorporate social studies into the science fair in response to an increased interest by students. More than 30 students were able to choose a social studies project to display at the science fair. Fourth-graders were given the option to do a project, but it was mandatory for fifth-graders.
Kate Fulton, a fourth-grade teacher, saidteachers had the idea after a conference day focusing on project-based learning. The science fair has students use scientific method — observation, hypothesis, test and conclusion. Teachers decided to apply the same principles to history.
“I think it’s wonderful to include the social studies aspect this year. It incorporates skills our students excel in,” parent Juli Quinn said.
Her 11-year-old son, Lukas, studied the history of Homer football. Working with coach Gary Podsiedlik and Priscilla Berggren-Thomas from the Phillips Free Library, he displayed turf from the original football field, jerseys, footballs and photos to catalog the tradition of Homer football.
“Homer football has always inspired me,” Lukas said. “It’s been just awesome being able to learn more about its history.”
Lukas won first place in social studies category, winning four tickets to the Central New York Living History Museum. He and the second- and third-place winners will have their projects on display at the museum this month, Fulton said.
Fifth-grader Jonah Campos captured the event’s grand prize and a medal for his experiment, “Can Static Electricity Clean The Air?”
Fourth-graders Caoimhe Dudgeon and Sophia Wright worked on both a science and social studies project. They couldn’t decide between the two subjects, Caoimhe said.
Their social studies project focused on the Erie Canal, Sophia said. While they hadn’t reached that section in their coursework yet, she said she was interested in how the horses and mules moved the boats.
“I think it’s important for students to be able to give time and thought to an idea and maybe learn more about something they don’t know,” she said.
Their science project focused on magnetic fields.
Wright’s mother said both girls were being honored at today’s school pep rally for taking initiative in not only entering the fair, but having two projects in it.

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