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Middle school students share science skills at Valley Rivers Middle School fair

FORT KENT, Maine — The gymnasium at Valley Rivers Middle School was packed with young scientists as the 7th and 8th graders provided demonstrations for guests at the annual VRMS Education Fair on Wednesday, May 2. 

Among the projects the students created were active volcanoes, a go-cart powered by a hoverboard, a mini hot air balloon, and a catapult that launches tennis balls.

Eighth-graders Jazmine Bouchard and Ben Davis teamed up to perform an experiment that turned ice into a power source capable of lighting a bulb through use of a thermal conductor.

“If we had enough of these, we could end up powering a house,” Bouchard said.

VRMS students Ben Davis and Jazmine Bouchard used melting ice to power a light bulb at the schools annual educational fair on Wednesday, May 2. (Jessica Potila)

Davis said he was pleased with the success of their project.

“I think it’s really neat,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to see how many things we can use as power sources and this thing answers a lot of questions.”

Bouchard pointed out that a thermal conductor could come in handy in northern Maine during wintertime when there is plenty of ice and snow to be found.

“Just have one of these in your pocket and you can charge your phone,” she said. “Granted it causes a lot of smoke.”

Brandon Nadeau and Eli Rioux brought in a cow and calf with the help of Rioux’s grandfather who owns Rioux Family Farm.

The students answered questions from interested students and visitors of the fair about basic cow facts, including how the animals behave and what they enjoy eating. Many of the visitors enjoyed petting the calf, which Nadeau and Rioux named Bentley.

The cow adopted Bentley, Nadeau explained, after her twin calves died.

“This one’s pretty protective,” he said of the adult cow.

“It’ll charge you,” Rioux warned.

Rioux explained that when he becomes a bit older Bentley will become a meat steer.

Several students at the fair created “elephant toothpaste,” by combining hydrogen peroxide, liquid soap and baker’s yeast. The result is a foamy product that looks like giant ribbons of toothpaste.

Other student exhibits included a diet coke and mentos project, a test to determine which of several laundry detergents are the best, and some baby chicks.

Guests of the education fair also enjoyed a free chicken stew dinner with chocolate cake for dessert.

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