HERMISTON - Third-graders at Desert View Elementary wound up two days of class science presentations with a Family Math and Science Fair Thursday night at the school.

"They chose their own projects and the purpose is to teach them about the scientific process," said teacher Jennifer Lowry.

She said while science is taught at younger grades that the process itself is a new skill for third-graders to conquer. They must come up with a question, answer it through research or experiments, and sum up their conclusions.

"Figuring out what question to ask can be challenging for them," Lowry said.

Laura and Elizabeth Cortes, 9, toured the four aisles of projects and stopped at one with four pots of pansies. Elizabeth read the project's hypothesis "Can plants survive on liquids other than water ?" The student tested Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, Milk and Orange Juice. Two plants withered and the two given pop flourished.

Other questions included "Which grows faster: Body hair or scalp hair? (One father shaved his head and legs to find out the results); "What type of ball bounces higher - a basketball or tennis ball?" and "How fast do baby bunnies grow?"

"Pretty fast," said Callie Hobson, 7, who brought 2-month-old and 3-day-old baby bunnies in a cage to the fair.

Her project drew a cluster of kids, all of whom wanted to touch the newest bunnies. Volunteers helped set up the fair. One of them was parent Amanda Quick.

"They were so excited, they wanted to show me every one of theirs (projects)," she said. "For those kids who couldn't complete their projects at home because their parents couldn't help or didn't know how, we helped them complete it at school."

The fair began three years ago. Teacher Dana Hill conceived the idea and arranged the event for a national board certification requirement.

"And it was just so much fun that after that we just kept doing it," Hill said.

The night was designed to have families see what their children had learned but also to spend time together exploring science. Children lined up at the banograph brought by Umatilla Electric, which they touched the machine one at a time to feel electricity. It raised a few hairs. In the media center, families went online to see classroom's web pages and play math games.

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