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Monday, May 20, 2013

Science Fair...

It is science fair season and it seems that every student in every grade in every elementary school has an entry.

The lesson plan indicated the time to take the 4th graders to tour the science fair exhibits set up in the cafeteria. At the appointed time, I escorted the group over as instructed.  I lead them up and down each isle so they could view the dozens and dozens of demonstrations of "science".

We had Solar System models constructed of Styrofoam, sticks and glue, the potato or lemon powered lamps, the flower sucking colored water demonstrations, tornado in a bottle, volcano models and....Something new I did not recognize. The exhibit indicated it was a model of something called a "Gaussian Gun".

Two wooden dowels glued together to make a track, magnets spaced and glued at three intervals and some steel marbles mounted along the track between the magnets. Like me, the kids were curious about what it was and how it worked.

Curious, I picked up one of the marbles to see how heavy it was and put it back on the rail. Before I could react fast enough, the marble rolled and accelerated down the track, hit the first magnet and before I knew what was happening, a chain reaction of steel marbles and magnets shot the last marble off the end and hit one of the boys in the leg!

Thankfully, the boy was unhurt but...really?  

That thing is downright dangerous!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, someone's science teacher needed to do a better job of supervising that little experiment.

The Bus Driver said...

Thats actually pretty darn cool! I had never heard of a Gaussian gun before. I think it was an innovative science project for a student to complete, and I'm impressed. There should have been better supervision yes, but you couldn't have predicted how the experiment would work having not seen a demonstration.

There should have been a warning "do not touch experiment" or "find teacher in charge to explain experiment" I hope the kid got first place for his unique experiment.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know your area is still having science fairs. There is still one in Fresno County, but fewer and fewer schools participate. A friend's grandson was devastated to learn his school would not have one as he had been getting his experiment ready all year. The schools are backing off from these time-consuming fairs so as to spend more time preparing the students for the state tests.