A rainbow of chemistry and fun with making red cabbage chemistry rainbows, earned Jerlea Adderley, a sixth-grade student, the sixth-grade level win, as well as the overall title at Sts. Francis & Joseph Primary School science fair.
The premise behind the red cabbage rainbows experiment is to show that when you add something acidic, like lemon juice, to the neutral purple, it will change color to a lighter or brighter pink or red; when something more basic or alkaline, like baking soda or ammonia is added, it will turn blue, green or even yellow.
“I chose this project because I wanted something different – something outside of the box … something over the rainbow,” said Jerlea as to why she chose the red cabbage rainbow project.
“My project was about seeing if household substances like ammonia, vinegar [and] lime juice were acids or bases.”
Jerlea’s takeway: “I learned that some things I tested today like soda were not good for my health and were more acidic than I thought.”
The sixth-grade student said she plans to use what she learned in her everyday life, drinking less soda. She said she would also try to be safer when using chemicals.
The science fair, which took place at the St. Joseph’s Church Parish Hall, and which was open to fourth through sixth-grade students saw Abbigail Moss as the fourth-grade level winner, and Hailey Cleare as the fifth-grade winner.
For her project, Abbigail focused on “refraction”, which involves a change in the direction of waves as they pass from one medium to another. She said she chose this project because “it was simple, amazing and very exciting”.
As for how she intends to use what she learned in everyday life, Abbigail said, “If I accidentally drop a pencil in the water and it looks bent, I will know why, because of refraction.”
Kerene Feilding-Calvin, sixth-grade teacher and science fair coordinator, said the science fair provided students the opportunity to apply scientific process to questions that interest them.
“They were able to form their own hypothesis and solve their problems,” said Feilding-Calvin. “After being in the pandemic for the past two years, some of them were becoming tired of being on their tablets, phones and other computerized devices. They want to create things with their hands. It is amazing how creative our students can be; what they can do when they are given the opportunity to spread their scientific wings.”
The science fair was an initiative to spark interest in students for the upcoming STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) pilot program at Sts. Francis & Joseph School, which will later be rolled out in all Catholic Board of Education (CBE) primary schools.
STEAM education is an approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to guide student inquiry, discussion and problem solving.
STEAM education helps students in their everyday life with everyday problems and is important because it teaches them to think logically, and to use and see the value in problem solving. STEAM differs from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in that the arts are included, so that children are able to express their creativity and see how that is connected to other disciplines.
CBE has initiated a campaign to raise funds to support improved technology for students and teachers and to expand STEAM programs in all schools. Donations can be made at TogetherBahamas.com. Of the $20,000 goal, $415 has been raised. Funds will be used for the overall upgrading of technology in classrooms, to assist in purchasing laptops and iPads for teachers, to assist students who cannot afford to purchase a device, and to support teachers to develop learning technologies which are culturally relevant and tailored to current curricula.