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White Plains Post Road Students Hold Science Fair

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Aine Nicholson and Stanley Plaza explained how a tower, generator, blades and rotator work together to help wind turbines produce energy. The fourth graders used a hair dryer and windmill to simulate the process for their fellow White Plains students visiting the Post Road Elementary School's science fair Wednesday.

"We thought we would like to look up a type of power that people can use that won't hurt the Earth," Stanley said of the project that took him and his partner about a month to research. "One large turbine can power about 522 homes."

Aine and Stanley chose to study the "huge" turbines they'd seen on vacation while other third, fourth and fifth graders lined the gym with booths explaining remote phenomena, such as the solar system, dinosaurs and black holes. The school’s Parent Teacher Association revived a science fair that had been phased out of the curriculum years ago last spring. PTA Co-President Julia Plaza said she was pleased to see the number of students who voluntarily participated jump from 36 to about 60. A special science fair for Post Road families was held Wednesday night, where each young scientists received a medal.

“It sets a good example for kids. It shows science is fun and they’re so proud of themselves, and rightfully so," Plaza said. "They did all of this during their free time."

Students, including Maribel Garcia, also got a good deal of presentation practice. She explained black holes to her peers dozens of times, describing them as "vacuums that suck in stars” and warned that humans would "be stretched out and hurt" if they got too close to the point of singularity where stars succumb to black holes’ energy and disappear.

Hypothesis helped students like Brenna Hazen run experiments. Brenna, a third grader, guessed that mixing boiling water with sugar and letting the combination sit would result in a bunch of "gook."

"I didn't think it would create crystals. I was surprised," she said of the week-long sugar crystals she inadvertently made with both refined and raw sugar. "I didn't like the raw so much. It was too sweet, but I liked eating the refined crystals."

Many project conclusions amazed the elementary students visiting booths as much as the researchers. Students clustered around Zichia Harris’ demonstration of how dry ice turns directly from a solid to a gas through a process called “sublimation” could hardly believe they exhaled the carbon dioxide the dry ice was changing into.

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