Students take deep dive into interests, share results at Brain Blast

Grandview Heights students' creativity and curiosity were on display Feb. 22 during Brain Blast, the district's annual fair where anything goes.

Students in grades K-8 are invited each year to design displays highlighting their hobbies, collections, science experiments and research projects.

The event, sponsored by the Grandview K-3 PTO, was held at Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School.

Tessa Carrel, one of the event's coordinators, said the purpose of Brain Blast is to give students a chance to talk about things they're interested in -- an opportunity they may not get in the classroom.

"They get to interact with their friends and parents and people on the periphery of their comfort level," she said. "The projects help them work on their communications and dig a little bit deeper into something they've heard about."

As students get older, their projects mature with them, Carrel said.

"They start out maybe showing off their Legos or something else they bring from home or doing a simple experiment," she said. "As they get older, you start to see the students explore and demonstrate a greater understanding of the biology or the chemistry of the topic they've chosen."

About 75 students participated in this year's Brain Blast, Carrel said.

First-grader Grant Metcalf's display paid tribute to his favorite creativity tool: duct tape.

"Duct tape is really cool," he said. "I like making things with it. I like making wallets so you have a place to put your money."

The adhesive was invented during World War II, Grant said.

"The soldiers could use it to repair stuff," he said.

Visitors to Grant's display could use their knowledge of duct tape to win prizes.

The exhibit included a spinner with several statements about duct tape. Players were asked to spin the wheel and guess whether the statement the pointer landed on is true or false. If they were correct, Grant gave them a piece of candy.

Stephanie Chute and Charlotte Ritzman also included a quiz as part of their project, although the answers could be found on their display.

The third-grade students chose rabbits as the topic of their research.

"Rabbits are our favorite animal," Charlotte said.

"They're so cute and cuddly," Stephanie said.

"I love their ears," Charlotte said. "You don't find many animals that have ears that are so straight and long."

The eyes are the most fascinating part of a rabbit to Stephanie.

"I think it's cool how their eyes are more on the side of their face and not in the middle," she said. "The eyes are like that so that they can see predators better. There are a lot of animals that go after rabbits."

Rabbits' tails also serve to protect them, Charlotte said.

The brightness of the furry tails helps rabbits confuse their predators and also are used to warn other rabbits that a predator is near, she said.

The girls had a live rabbit named Olive on display. Olive belongs to Lisa Colahan, one of their third-grade teachers at Stevenson.

Both girls said they wished they could have a pet rabbit.

"They are so gentle and easygoing. A rabbit would be the perfect pet," Stephanie said.

"They wouldn't snore and bother you at night like a pug," Charlotte said.

She speaks from experience.

"Yes, we have a pug dog at home," she added.

Third-graders Owen Bentley and Finn Hayes also decided to team up for their Brain Blast project because they share a passion for hockey.

"We both play on a hockey team together," Finn said. "It's a lot of fun."

"We're both big fans of the Blue Jackets," Owen said.

Their favorite Jacket is Cam Atkinson.

"He hustles," Finn said.

For Brain Blast, the pair conducted an experiment to see whether a warm or cold hockey puck would bounce higher.

"We freeze one puck and put the other in with a heating pad," Owen said. "When you drop the two of them together, you'll see the warm puck bounces higher."

That's because the coldness takes the heat and energy out of the puck, he said.

"It's probably why they play hockey on ice," Finn said. "That way, the puck won't bounce as much."

Ice cream was second-grader Millie Chrstos' topic of choice.

Her display explored the science of ice cream.

"I really love to eat ice cream," she said. "I don't have a favorite kind. I just like ice cream."

Perhaps ice cream should be called air cream, she posited.

"I found out you need air to make ice cream," Millie said. "The three main ingredients you need are air cells, fat clusters and ice crystals."

People eat a lot of ice cream, especially Americans, she said.

The average American eats about 35 pints each year, which is a lot, Millie said.

But, she asked, who can blame them?

"Ice cream is really good," she said.