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Science and Sustainability Expo-Success, Over 35 Exhibits Wow Audience. Students Take Home Awards

Sixty elementary, middle and high school students, together with several adults, brought over 35 exhibits to the 2nd Annual Science and Sustainability Expo this past weekend, Saturday April 13.  Held at Greenfield Community College, this free event was organized by Greening Greenfield in collaboration with EnergyTeachers.org, creator of the Green Dollhouse Challenge, and KidWind Inc.

“The Expo brought together youth and educators from different schools, groups and organizations in the area, as well as different age groups, with a common theme of sharing and inspiring one another and celebrating the many science and sustainability projects happening locally,” said Susan Reyes, Event Director and Science Educator

The Expo offered varied opportunities for engagement including noncompetitive and competitive activities and events. Personal or team achievement awards were given to teams in the Green Dollhouse Challenge and the Sustainability Showcase, trophies awarded to those in the KidWind Challenge, and awards to parents, educators and volunteers involved in making the event possible. The University of Massachusetts Chemistry Club also took part, offering an hour of chemistry demonstrations that engaged the audience in the work of scientists and the field of chemistry. All aspects of the event were free of charge. 

“The KidWind Challenge presents a complex design challenge that involves research, hands-on fabrication, testing, and decision-making, explained Reyes.  “During the competition each model turbine is put into a wind tunnel and the energy output is measured. Each team also visited with expert wind energy judges from the UMASS Wind Energy Center and Celadon Innovation who asked them several questions including how they decided on their design, what obstacles they encountered, and how they overcame those obstacles.”

In the KidWind Challenge Middle School division, the Four Rivers Charter Public School captured the top three prizes. Lucia Mason took first place with an output of 48,185 milliwatt seconds (mWs) and commendations for the best blades. Sophie Garbus and Syl Carafiol took second place with 21,275 mWs and commendations for Best Presentations and Best Tower. Oscar Gibson and Tynan Hewes took third place with 19,413 mWs and commendation for Best Craftsmanship

In the Elementary School division, Spencer Blair, a Montague Elementary School fifth grader, took first place for overall design and energy output with 944 mWs. Iggy Passiglia, a Four Corners Elementary School third grader took second place with a commendation for the Most Economical Materials Use.

 “The Green Dollhouses just blew me away! The research that people did about the technologies that could go into a sustainable home, the craftsmanship, and the creative ideas and details about living on a houseboat or in a communal household for 20 were just amazing,” said Nancy Hazard of Greening Greenfield. “I also loved the non-technical projects some 12th graders from the Four Rivers Public Charter School brought that involved writing letters to the editor, writing a children’s book about sustainability, and designing and selling renewable energy cards to raise funds for Community Action’s energy efficiency programs for low income families. These projects demonstrated that sustainability is not just about technology, but all disciplines and skills are essential.”

The Green Dollhouse Challenge and Showcase exhibits were noncompetitive, and open to individuals and teams of all ages. Participants ranged from 6 to 70 years old. Many homes were built using recycled materials. Others were old dollhouses that were upgraded in some way, and still others were built from scratch. Energy and water systems were common, as were edible landscapes. There was one home designed for Florida! There was also a wonderful robotics exhibit from Franklin County Technical School student, Kyle Coulombe. Each participant went home with a booklet full of comments about their exhibit written by teachers, visitors and other participants. 

Five jurors awarded eighteen prizes to nine entries. Special commendations went to Mike Grochowski from StoryShare Cooperative, for his Floating House that included incredible detail from gardens to water desalination and batteries for solar electricity, the result of hours of research into self-contained homes. The five-person team dubbed the Green Housing Homeschooling Community were commended for their collaboration, which resulted in a rebuilt dollhouse that would house a household of 20. An Underground house built by Jacqui Perry and Sage Pasquale was noted for its beauty and craftsmanship of their solar heated home with stonewalls, tile floors, a south facing glass wall, and real grass growing around the building. Two other underground homes by Stoneleigh Burnham and StoryShare Cooperative students were commended for craftsmanship and innovative design respectively. And Daria Fisk’s “fold-up” home was commended for being built from commonly found materials in a kitchen. 

For full list of entrants and Awards click here

 

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