BETHEL — Growing gummy bears, tweaking colors in carnations and dream analysis were among the many science projects presented Saturday by children for SAD 44’s debut Science Day Science Fair.

Held in the Telstar Jr./Sr. High School cafeteria and hallway, students from grades four through eight and two high-schoolers set up booths, displaying experiments and efforts mounted on show boards to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

“Overall, they did awesome,” said co-organizer Kate Slattery, the sixth-grade science teacher at Telstar Middle School.

“Most of them had valid experiments, which meant they repeated their experiments several times,” she said.

She said she encouraged students “to find something they were passionate about, and then try to develop an experiment about that. Lots of kids were interested in if your brain would be fooled by color when you go to eat something. Or plugging your nose, could that fool what you are going to taste?”

Rather than sample a few people, they used 40 to 50 people as test subjects.


Projects ranged from biology to dog and hamster training. The experiments were all done at home, except two that were completed on ski slopes.

Some students stood with their work, eager to explain it all to adults and children. Others took in the exposition part of the show, catching presentations in the gym on minerals, fossils, the Bryant Pond 4-H camp, Mad Electricity and a wind turbine demonstration by Patriot Renewables.

Live wildlife presentations by Chewonki Foundation educator Emma Balazs of Wiscasset, using a great horned owl, a tarantula and an Australian water dragon, were held every 30 minutes.

A group of children in the district’s Lego Robotics program demonstrated their computer-programmed, motorized inventions.

Lacey Tilsley, 9, of Bryant Pond experimented with growing gummy bears in water, salt water and vinegar. The water, sugar and gelatin concoction absorbs water like a sponge, but the gelatin keeps it from dissolving in water.

“My project was to see if gummy bears would grow in these three substances,” the Woodstock Elementary School fourth-grader said. “And they all grew.”


The plain water bear tripled in size, but the other two didn’t grow as much.

“Some of the water molecules went into the salt instead of the gummy bear,” Tilsley said. And the yellow bear soaked in vinegar “turned to clear, slimy and fragile, and when I was getting it weighed this morning, its head fell off.”

Her sister, Ella Tilsley, a fifth-grader at Woodstock Elementary, wanted to see if she could change the color of carnations from white to rainbow by splitting their stems and leaving the split stems in different cups of colored water overnight.

“It actually worked,” she said. “I thought it wouldn’t work, because I thought the stem was hollow and, apparently, it isn’t hollow. It has something called xylem in it and, apparently, the petals aren’t connected to it, so that helped separate the color. I think that’s pretty cool.”

Eleven-year-old Utah Bean, a bespectacled sixth-grader, wowed people with his knowledge and presentation on dreams.

“I wanted to find out what dreams people could have based on what they ate, what the moon phase was and their emotions,” he said.


He created five dream journals by asking his test subjects to record what they ate, what the moon phase was and what they dreamed about, “so I could, like, find patterns in the dreams and see if I could find types of them.”

He said he color-coded the dream data, and created charts to show positive and negative dreams. “The yellow is the happy, the upbeat, the cool dreams and the amazing dreams, and then the green are the negative dreams, the scary dreams, the confusing and sad dreams.”

Bean said his test subjects had more negative than positive dreams, which he believes was largely based on moon phases. “Different light coming down from the moon can cause dreams to change,” Bean said. “But sometimes, dreams are just dealing with emotions. If you have a lot of food at night, it can cause weird, crazy dreams.”

Slattery, Tonya Prentice from Woodstock Elementary, Marie Keane from Crescent Park Elementary and Karen Thurston from Andover Elementary, organized the event. It was sponsored by the Mahoosuc Kids Association, which brought in the Expo’s guest speakers.

“Our vision is, families would come in and just do science — hands-on demonstrations,” Slattery said.

Next year, she said, organizers want to encourage students in kindergarten through 12th grade to participate. “I’d like to see it bigger. I’d like to see it huge and be held at the Augusta Civic Center.”

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