Down to a science

Students at Nazareth Academy Grade School will compete in a Science Olympiad that teaches them STEM skills.

Students at Nazareth Academy Grade School will participate in the Science Olympiad, which gives them hands-on experience with a variety of experiments. Students Emma and Lukas studied and improvised until they found the perfect pickle recipe. LOGAN KRUM/TIMES PHOTO

One club at Nazareth Academy Grade School is giving students hands-on experience with projects such as designing and building bridge models, building LEGOs and even making pickles.

The Science Olympiad Team has given 22 sixth- through eighth-graders the opportunity to create a variety of scientific projects. On March 7, their work will be entered in the Pennsylvania Science Olympiad Southeast Urban Invitational at St. Joseph’s University. Judges will choose who did the better job on the projects among other Philadelphia area schools.

This is teacher Lisa Laverty’s first year bringing the program to Nazareth. She previously ran the club at St. Katherine of Siena for four years.

“I wanted to bring STEM, hands-on learning and science to the students here,” she said. Students have been working on their projects since Thanksgiving.

Sixth-graders Emma and Lukas created their own pickling recipe by looking up recipes and adding their own improvisations to them. After several jars, they finally pickled the perfect jar to bring to their competition.

“We just did our test rating today and this jar was the better one,” Emma said.

“They’re good,” Lukas confirmed.

Students Owen, left, and Luca, right, experimented with various bridge designs until they created a stable bridge of balsa wood and glue. LOGAN KRUM/TIMES PHOTO

Meanwhile, seventh-grader Luca and eighth-grader Owen created a bridge model out of balsa wood. They began their process by experimenting with different designs until they found out how to make a stable foundation and support for their model.

“I’ve always been fascinating with building things as a kid,” Luca said. He and Owen liked playing with Minecraft and Legos when they were younger to build things.

Speaking of LEGOs, eighth-grader Jia Ming is an expert. His project is creating Lego sculptures then transcribing how to build them into written instructions.

Jia Ming learns how to build Lego sculptures then translate the steps to written instructions. LOGAN KRUM/TIMES PHOTO

“Basically you just look at the colors and what it’s made of,” he said.

At first he rated his confidence for the upcoming contest as 50-50 depending on the level of the other schools, but after a pep talk adjusted it to 98-2.

May the best scientist win.