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Experiments, STEM challenges highlight Science Family Fun Night

April 24, 2019

Student and teacher Tracy Graulich stand next to a bottle of soda for an experiment

Poland fourth-grader Madison Ubele works with fourth-grader teacher Tracy Graulich on the “Geysers of Poland” experiment during Science Family Fun Night on Thursday, April 4. The experiment uses Coca Cola and Mentos to create an explosion of soda.

POLAND – The recent Science Family Fun Night at Poland Central School District featured 20 science experiments and three Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics challenges for grades three to six.

Experiments included capturing CO2, figuring out how much you would weight in space, working with electricity conductors/nonconductors, making vanilla ice cream and using slime, silly putty, helicopters and more.

“It was a great night, and the enjoyment of science, math, technology and engineering was amazing to experience,” said Poland fourth-grade teacher Tracy Graulich, who is also enjoys going by “the Science Lady.” “I enjoy doing this for these students, as our area doesn't have a lot for the younger students to do.”

The annual Science Family Fun Night took place on Thursday, April 4, after it had to be postponed from February. About 25 students attended with chaperones.

Graulich said she had many high-school students who volunteered their time to aid in setting up the event, operating and taking down the experiments for the event. Graulich thanked students Madison Muller, Sarah Ahles, Kirstyn Kasprzyk, Matthew Scofield, Amanda Sweet, Heather Artz and Keara Blumenstock. 

The STEM challenges paired students with their chaperones, and they had to follow the specifications set for them. One challenge was building a structure out of toothpicks and marshmallows that had to hold weight. Another was building a boat out of aluminum foil that could hold the most cargo without sinking. The third was building a paper rocket that could make it into a basket within three tries.

The students who won each of the STEM challenges received science experiment kits:

  • Fourth-grader Jordan Niemetz won the structure challenge.

  • Third-grader Bradi Jones won the boat challenge.

  • Third-grader Madi Darrow won the rocket challenge.

To top the evening off, Graulich asked the students to join her in the parking lot for the “Geysers of Poland. The experiment uses Coca Cola and Mentos to create an explosion of soda that reaches about 8 feet into the air.

“All in all, I am not sure who had more fun – the kids or the Science Lady,” Graulich said.

Student makes a boat out of tinfoil for science experiment

Poland sixth-grader Isabelle Horan works on making a boat out of tinfoil for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Challenge during Science Family Fun Night on Thursday, April 4.

Student in a Poland hoodie gives thumbs up next to his grandma at Science Family Fun Night

Poland fourth-grader Tim Dunn and his grandmother, Linda Bienkowski, work on the “Blubber Makes Us Warm” experiment during Science Family Fun Night on Thursday, April 4.