MOJAVE – Mojave Unified School District students got to show off their science skills during a celebration and open house to mark the end of the annual Summer Science Academy on June 21.

About 120 first- through 12th-grade students from throughout the district - who were nominated to take part in the program by their teachers - participated in the two week long annual program. As friends, family and other visitors visited each classroom during the open house, students were encouraged to explain the concept of their experiments and demonstrate their effectiveness.

Hosted at Mojave Elementary and Mojave Junior Senior High schools, the academy allowed students to practice the scientific method while learning about a variety of subjects. Mojave Elementary Principal Nauman Zaidi said the program was broken down into five categories for the different grade levels and that having fun was also a big component of the academy.

The first- and second-graders in David Wilson’s class included learning about the scientific method, experimenting with plant growth and to see if pencils stuck into a water filled plastic bag would cause the bag to leak.

Second- and third-graders in Randi Elmore’s class included learning about the various states of matter, solar energy and non-Newtonian fluids. They also got to build special launchers to send plastic Army men flying through the air.

“I think the longest launch was 22 feet and it went on top of the building,” said Elmore. “I still haven’t told the janitors that they are going to have to rescue them from the roof.”

Third- through fifth-graders in Eric Trillo’s class learned about energy transformation including  conservation of energy, kinetic energy and potential, or stored, energy.

“We just explored all sorts of different ways of how energy is transferred from one thing to another and it’s neither created nor destroyed,” said Trillo. “That was the overall concept. We also got into scientific method and how you find the truth of things.”

Priscilla McCann’s class of fifth- and sixth-graders built a variety of robots and other mechanical and electrical goods and learned computer programming during their two weeks.

The sixth- through 12th-graders in William Schiller’s class built truss bridges and determined how much weight they could support as well as launching model rockets and dissecting animal organs.

California City Middle School Sixth-grader CiCi Pinho-Shanks said the first launch of a rocket built with her sister, eighth-grader Xyla Pino-Shanks, did not quite go as planned.

“The first time we launched our rocket, it went up OK, but when it came down it crashed because the top was on too tight,” said Cici, explaining that the rescue parachute did not deploy. The rocket, which Cici and Xyla named the Flaming Watermelon, also contained 10 ounces of clay to simulate a payload or occupant. A successful launch, including deployment of parachute, was made later during the open house.

As much as she enjoyed learning about rocketry, Cici was somewhat less enthused about another portion of the academy.

“We also dissected a ram’s heart and a cow’s eye - it was very gross,” she said.

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