Redding children show creativity at STEM fair

Anna Page Pilato, 7, built a suspension bridge from cardboard, chairs, mason’s line, a parachute cord, and books for Redding Elementary's STEM fair.
Anna Page Pilato, 7, built a suspension bridge from cardboard, chairs, mason’s line, a parachute cord, and books for Redding Elementary’s STEM fair.

Sitting atop a table inside Redding Elementary School on Saturday, Jan. 27, was a large suspension bridge lined with about a dozen miniature cars.

“I made the bridge from cardboard, chairs, mason’s line, a parachute cord, and books,” said 7-year-old Anna Page Pilato.

The suspension bridge was one of the almost two dozen projects in the school’s interactive science and art fair, called Imagine a World.  

This is the second year the school has held the fair, but it is the first year for it to be combined with a STEM fair — where students exhibit projects they created at home.

The three-hour-long fair, which was sponsored by the Redding Elementary School PTA, drew about 300 people. It included more than 10 interactive stations centered around the idea of the senses.  

Trisha Sorrells Doyle, chairman of the fair, said the purpose is to get kids excited about science and art.

Anna said the idea of creating a suspension bridge occurred to her “when I was looking at my science book.”

“At first,” she said, “I didn’t get what it was and I wanted to learn more about it. I learned the cables end up pushing the supports on an anchoring system.”

Mars Cooper, 7, created a project demonstrating what it means to be color-blind for the Redding STEM fair.
Mars Cooper, 7, created a project demonstrating what it means to be color-blind for the Redding STEM fair.

Global warming

Noah Lo, 6, created a diagram that addressed global warming. He tackled the question “Will the melting of the world’s ice age give rise to global sea levels?”

The answer, Noah said, is yes.

Aside from Noah’s colorfully illustrated poster, he had placed an orange in a mug and filled it to the top with water. The orange is meant to represent ice.

“As I put in ice, it melts. It goes over our head,” Noah said. “So the sea level will rise one day and maybe our houses will be flooded.”

Noah explained that if people can get to a safer place “like a mountain, they won’t get flooded,” but added that “a mountain is too cold to live on.”

Mars Cooper, 7, created a project demonstrating what it means to be color-blind.

“I chose this project because my pediatrician is color-blind, and he paints. He follows the tubes of color.”   

As part of his project, Mars painted multiple colored dots that test for color-blindness. Participants were asked to see if they could identify letters in the dots, which were painted in different colors.

“When you are color-blind, you can’t see certain parts of the color spectrum — the colors green and red,” Mars said.

Mars added that the most fun part of making his project was getting to draw a rainbow.

With her project, 7-year-old Sofia Arnott proved that wood is stronger than foam noodles. Using cupcake holders, she created two sets of train tracks — one made with wooden popsicle sticks and the other with foam noodles.

“I put blocks and a toy bus on the tracks and the wood held it up better than the foam noodles,” Sofia said.

She weighed the pros and cons of noodles versus popsicle sticks.

“The noodles were easy to build but the wood is stronger,” she said.

At the fair, there was a room with multiple stations set up, each one demonstrating a different one of the five senses.

For hearing, children were gathered around a table creating musical instruments, including banjos made from paint sticks and rubber bands, and harmonicas made from popsicle sticks and straws.

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