The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 16, 2013

Norwood Elementary puts spotlight on math, science

By Erica Benjamin for the SNAP
SNAP

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 — Norwood Elementary School fourth and fifth graders enjoyed a Science and Math Night with their families at the school Thursday evening.

Curriculum Specialist Amanda Horton kicked off the evening with a welcome message and introduced the guest judges for the science fair projects. Judging projects this year were Michelin employees Alan Thompson, Robert Olsen and Robert Cranford. Winners in each grade level were called up to the front and presented with trophies and certificates for their accomplishments.

Following the awards presentation, Horton spoke briefly about the North Carolina Common Core curriculum and how the school faculty is working to implement the standards.

According to Horton, the aim is to have standards in place to put every school in the nation on the same page and to better prepare students for college and the workplace. Horton explained that although the transition has been challenging for all involved at times, it has also been a rewarding experience which has helped the staff grow as educators.

With the change in curriculum, teachers are doing more project-based learning and assessments and have developed a partnership with local industries and colleges.

After the presentation, the students were invited to view the science projects on display and to participate in various math and science activities including making their own thermometer out of household items, making snow from water and powder and blowing bubbles.

Teacher Stacy Lee, who helped out with the Snow Much Fun station, was impressed with the number of students who attended the event.

“There is a lot more participation than I hoped for,” she said, adding that she hoped the event would be beneficial to both the students and their parents.

“I really hope they’ll get a love of science and math. This is stuff we can’t do in the classroom because we don’t have the resources or time. This also lets parents become involved.”

Fifth grader Paeton Horsch, who took home third place in her grade level, was excited about her win.

“I was super excited to win. I was hoping for third,” she said.

Horsch’s science project explored the effectiveness of materials used in baking sheets.

“I have always had a love for baking and I wanted to see which cookie sheet burned sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies the worst,” she said, adding that after conducting her tests, she concluded that insulated sheets were best for sugar cookies and double thick aluminum were more effective with chocolate chip cookies.

Walt Martin, who won second place in the fifth grade category, did his project on batteries.

“I made a battery out of pennies and nickles. I got the volts and amps,” he said, adding that he felt good about his win.

“I like to make stuff.”

Fourth grader Sayde Helms got the idea for her project, inflating a balloon with homemade carbon dioxide, after doing a similar project with her Girl Scout troop.

“We used a plastic bottle but I figured out that a glass bottle works better. The plastic bottle couldn’t hold the weight,” she said.

Helms was surprised at her second place win.

“I was excited because I didn’t think I’d win anything at all,” she said.

“I was very shocked.”

The Science and Math Night was a first for Norwood Elementary.

“We hosted the Science and Math Night to display the great projects the students had worked on, to educate parents about the Common Core Curriculum and to engage families in hands on science and math activities,” Horton said.

The following students were chosen as science fair winners:

Fourth grade: Sarah Lowder, first place; Sayde Helms, second place and Hanna Lee, third place. Honorable Mention went to Karmyn Russell.

Fifth grade: Emily Moss, first place; Walt Martin, second place and Paeton Horsch, third place. Honorable Mentions: Sophie Shahan, Triston Horton, Mason Dennis, Jude Hahn, Addison Tarlton and Jordan Randall.

Students who will represent Norwood at the Stanly County Fair Jan. 23 are: Paeton Horsch, Walt Martin, Emily Moss, Mason Dennis, Triston Horton and Sophie Shahan.