Tag Archive | "elementary school"

Study Reveals Sister is Germiest — and other tales from the annual school science fair

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Wonder which beverage stains teeth the most? Well, fifth-grader Rose O’Donoghue was curious, so she tested six drinks — red wine, V-8, coffee, tea, apple juice, and water. Out of those she tested, she found red wine did the most damage to pearly white smiles. O’Donoghue was one of approximately 150 students who showcased work at the Sag Harbor Elementary School’s annual Science Fair, which was held on Thursday, February 26.

At the fair, students in the fourth and fifth grades presented their work through visual aids on poster boards in the school’s gymnasium. The projects each started with a hypothesis such as O’Donoghue’s, then the students conducted an experiment and reported the results. While some hypotheses proved true, others were not easily determined by the child’s chosen experimental methodology.

For example, Emma McMahon tested different cereals to find out which one had the most iron. She tested Honey Nut Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Product 19 and Apple Jacks.

“I crushed up the cereal and waved a magnet over it,” said McMahon, “But I found that none of the cereals had enough iron to be drawn out by a magnet,” the fifth grader said undiscouraged.

Lydia Starke practiced her science project on mice. She wanted to find out whether a female or a male mouse had better memory. Starke said she let the mice run through a maze four times. On the fourth try, the female mouse finished the maze in three seconds, while it took the male 1 minute and 53 seconds to finish. Although she included the results, they were semi-inconclusive because she only tested two mice.

“I found out that I was right and my sister has the most germs,” said Jason Kamerman, a fifth grader, who studied backwash among members of his family. He tested his mother, father and sister for germs by testing the remaining bacteria on water bottles after each family member took a sip. He examined the results in Petri dishes and said his experiment found his sister had more germs than any of the other participants.

Situated next to Kamerman was Chris Pineda, a fifth grader, who studied seismic p-waves — those that cause earthquakes. He said he found an earthquake would keep going unless “something gets in its way.” His experiment used marbles hanging on strings to show how an earthquake might affect them. Pineda said that the effects of an earthquake would continue, just like his swinging marbles, if there were nothing to stop them.

Kerrie Vila, a fifth grader, asked five women and five young girls what their favorite colors were. She then showed the study group pictures of shapes in all different colors. She said she wanted to test the study group on whether they would remember the shape of their favorite color. Vila said her hypothesis was correct. The study group tended to remember the shape of their favorite color, but forget the others.

Students Help Make a New Citizen

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With the celebration of Veteran’s Day this Tuesday and Election Day last Tuesday, it has been a busy couple of weeks for the history books. In the village, though, someone else has been diligently hitting those books. At Sag Harbor Elementary School, custodian Gjon Berisha was brushing up on American history in order to gain citizenship in what he calls “a fantastic country.”

Last Monday, Berisha took the test, was granted his citizenship and now, he said, he is so proud to be an American citizen.
George Kneeland’s fifth graders and Nina Landi’s kindergarteners helped Berisha, a native of Kosovo, prepare for the test through a series of games and questions the kids provided.
“I am so grateful for all this school has done for me,” said Berisha on Wednesday, “I don’t think I can do enough for them.”
Two weeks ago, the fifth grade and kindergarten classes created games in which Berisha was quizzed for his upcoming citizenship test. In the elementary school, the school has a buddy system where fifth graders are teamed up with kindergarteners for the year to help them with their homework. The kindergarten class asked all questions pertaining to the flag while the fifth graders asked the harder questions, which were part of their social studies curriculum.
The kids played “Who wants to be a Millionaire,” and “Wheel of Fortune,” with Berisha on Halloween to prepare him for his interview on the following Monday. Some of the questions the kids asked Berisha were, “What are the colors of the flag?” And “Which countries were our enemies during World War II?”
“One question that we asked was what do the stars [on the flag] stand for?” fifth-grader Sheila Mackey said on Monday. “And he made it to a millionaire.”
“We waited on bated breath on Monday to hear how it went,” Landi said. When the school found out Berisha had passed his test, Landi arranged for him to be the guest speaker at the talk show that she hosts as part of morning program.
During Landi’s talk show, Berisha announced that he was very grateful for the American soldiers that helped free his country. At morning program that day Berisha was given a trio of ubiquitous symbols of his new country — a hot dog, an American Flag and an apple pie from the school.
“I was very nervous, I had never spoken in public before,” Berisha said on Wednesday. “I told the kids that this was my second chance of living.” Berisha gave the school a Kosovo flag. Kosovo became a free country in February of this year after declaring independence from the Republic of Serbia.
Berisha has been in the United States since 1990. He first lived in New York City, and then moved to Long Island. He came to Sag Harbor Elementary School in 1999, where he began working as a night custodian. He befriended then-fifth-grade teacher Nina Landi when he would come to clean her classroom. In 1999, Berisha said he told the entire school his story of leaving Kosovo because of war and that he had no idea what happened to the 14 members of his family.
“He was living in quiet torture,” Landi said. But she added, he would never really show it.
Landi recalls that Berisha would often make designs in the classroom carpet with the vacuum at night for her students in the morning, sometimes representing baseball fields or other designs. The kids were so interested in his story and helping keep his spirits up.
On the second to last day of school of that year, Berisha learned that every member of his family had survived.
Landi said that kids all made him cards, congratulating him and thanking him, which Berisha took with him to his country when he went home.
“I still have those cards,” Berisha said who called the students his guardian angels.
“I took the cards with me to my home country and said, look what these American kids did for me.”
Landi said she had never known someone that was so grateful to be here.
“I’m enjoying every freedom,” said Berisha. “I wish everyone would follow the U.S. direction and there would be peace in the world.”