Grandview students had a blast Feb. 23 during an annual event that lets them show off their knowledge of their favorite things.

Brain Blast, dubbed an arts, science and creativity fair, is sponsored by the Grandview K-3 PTO. Students in grades K-6 in Grandview schools can choose to give presentations on any topic they are passionate about, with no judges to put a damper on the fun.

About 70 students participated in this year's Brain Blast, said Tessa Carrel, one of the event coordinators.

"We've seen the numbers increase over the last few years," she said.

Brain Blast provides students an opportunity to explore topics of interest outside their normal academic day, Carrel said.

"They can do research and share their knowledge with their peers and adults," she said.

"Brain Blast is not intended to be overly structured," Carrel said. "Students don't have to feel tied down to their own display. They're free to roam around and interact with their friends."

Third-grader Elliott Lange shared his fascination with the Hindenburg.

It's not just the airship's fiery crash in 1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey, that intrigues him, he said, but the fact that such an airship once was a fairly common mode of transportation.

"I think it would be a really cool way to travel," Elliott said. "It was known as a zeppelin. It had four motors, two on each side, and used hydrogen cells to stay airborne."

People may not comprehend the Hindenburg's immense size, he said.

"It was 800 feet in length," Elliott said. "About four Goodyear blimps could have fit in the Hindenburg. That's pretty big!"

The most likely cause of the crash was a spark caused by static electricity in the air, he said.

"It only took about 34 seconds for it to burn up," Elliott said. "Despite that, most people actually survived the crash. There were 35 people who died on the ship and one person died on the ground."

Another disaster was caused by "flutter," the subject of a display created by second-grader Cale McNamara and his sister, Halle, who is in kindergarten.

As part of their display, Cale and Halle showed a video of the 1940 collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington.

"There are good kinds of flutter and bad kinds," Cale said. "The bridge collapsing was an example of bad flutter."

Flutter is a phenomenon in which wind causes self-sustaining oscillation in a structure.

For flutter to occur, "you need three things: inertia, aerodynamics and flexibility," Cale said.

He said he and his sister were inspired to explore the concept of flutter by their dad, who is an aerodynamic engineer.

While his father's work is interesting, he said, it's not what he wants to do.

"I'm not interested in designing an airplane," Cale said. "I want to be the pilot who gets to fly it."

For her Brain Blast project, Stella Bauer decided to research something lower to the ground: the red fox.

"The red fox is my favorite animal," the kindergarten student said. "I think they look really nice and they can move pretty fast."

The most fascinating thing about a red fox?

"That they are so smart and they can hear a mouse that's under the snow," Stella said, pointing to a picture of a fox burrowing into snow-covered ground.

A male fox is called a dog and baby foxes are called puppies, she said.

Stella once got to see a fox up close at the zoo.

"I was kind of surprised that it came up close to me," Stella said. "He was looking right at me."

Second-grader Maggie Yates was full of information on one of the most famous inventors in history: Leonardo Da Vinci.

"He was a super great man," she said. "He came up with the idea for so many amazing inventions and he made some incredible paintings, like the 'Mona Lisa' and 'The Last Supper.' "

Hundreds of years before the airplane was invented, Da Vinci made drawings of flying machines, Maggie said.

"He was way ahead of his time," she said. "It's surprising one man could dream up so many things. It inspires me to want to try to invent things myself."

Her favorite Da Vinci creation?

"Probably his catapult. It's just a really cool device," she said.

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