Inaugural Enders Salk Science Fair explores fire safety, slime and salt

  • Giselle takes home first prize at the Enders Salk science fair for her project on fire resistant materials and safety.

    Giselle takes home first prize at the Enders Salk science fair for her project on fire resistant materials and safety. Courtesy of Michael Henry

Submitted by Anna Taylor

Increased safety awareness led sixth grade student Giselle (pictured) to investigate fire-resistant materials for the first ever science fair at Enders Salk Elementary in Schaumburg. Judges from Tate & Lyle, Enders Salk's community partner, awarded Giselle the top prize for her project to identify the least flammable commonly worn clothing material.

More than 40 students representing all school grades participated in the science fair, presenting posters on topics ranging from whether insulin can be taken as a pill, to what makes slime slimy, to how much salt is in our food.

Judges also awarded runner up prizes to Kate (sixth grade), Nelly (third grade), Ruby (kindergarten) and Yusuf (fifth grade), for their projects on animal behaviors, how plant growth is affected by storage conditions, whether cats are left or right "handed," and how candy dissolves in different liquids.

Awards were presented at a community open house hosted by the school's faculty.

"We believe in developing and celebrating curious minds at Enders Salk," said Principal Michael Henry. "With the help of the Parent Teacher Association, a host of parent volunteers and our community partner, Tate & Lyle, we've encouraged students to stretch themselves, get under the skin of unfamiliar topics, and communicate complex themes to their peers. It is always so gratifying to see students becoming passionate when talking and learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) topics. Events like this really bring these subjects to life and help foster a lifelong appreciation of STEM subjects."

Volunteer scientists from Tate & Lyle, a global food and beverage ingredient company, formed the judging panel, and looked for students' understanding of their topic and scientific method.

The collaboration forms part of a wider school and company partnership, which sees employees from Tate & Lyle's global innovation centre in Hoffman Estates support teachers to deliver the curriculum and events such as this. The company also sponsors Enders Salk's breakfast program.

"We were really impressed by the standard of the projects, and how ambitious students were in this, their first science fair," said Scott Kleespies, a research scientist at Tate & Lyle. "We awarded the top prize to Giselle because she showed an excellent grasp of scientific methodology, was able to apply her findings to the real world, and displayed scientific curiosity by following up her findings with additional experiments and expertise."

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