Munching popcorn, frolicking and visiting with their friends, Grandview Heights students put the "blast" in "Brain Blast" on March 5.

About 30 students participated in the annual Brain Blast, a creativity fair sponsored by the Grandview Heights K-3 PTO and held in the commons at Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School.

Students in grades K-5 were invited to put together displays showcasing their passions and interests, ranging from science experiments and research projects to hobbies and collections.

Variety is Brain Blast's signature element, said PTO member Mona Barber, who served as the 2020 event's chairwoman.

"The different subjects our students choose is so amazing," she said. "The projects this year ranged from kinetic energy and popcorn-making to climate change to a display about slime and one about how diodes form."

Second-graders Ariana Greco and Sylvia Lange demonstrated a homemade way to launch a model rocket.

"We use two full scoops of baking soda and mix it with a lot -- a lot -- of vinegar, and that causes a chemical reaction and that creates carbon dioxide," Ariana said, "and that's what makes the rocket shoot into the air."

"At first we tried mixing water, vinegar and baking soda, but it didn't work," she said.

"The experiment didn't work, but we knew it would work out at some point," Sylvia said. "We just had to get the right formula."

When they completed their first successful rocket launch, "we were so happy," she said.

The girls tried their mixture again and again.

"Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't," Sylvia said. "It's so much fun when it does work. You never get tired of it."

Grant Metcalf's display also focused on flying machines.

The third-grader showcased his fascination with military aircraft.

"I have a book about it, and I'm just really interested in military technology," he said.

Military aircraft are intriguing because of their varied designs, Grant said.

His favorite plane is the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

"I like that it's a stealth fighter that's invisible on radar and goes really fast," Grant said. "It's just a cool plane."

Lockheed's F-117 Nighthawk is another of his favorite aircraft.

"My favorite thing about the Nighthawk is the wing design," Grant said. "I just like how they fan out."

Someday, he said, he'd like to help design military aircraft or hardware.

"I'd rather design a plane than fly it," Grant said.

Fifth-grader Kyle Kukura's display was simple and almost magical.

Visitors to his table were invited to write something on a piece of paper using a FriXion pen.

"There's rubber on the other end of the pen, and when you rub it on the paper, the heat from the rubber makes the ink disappear," Kyle said. "It'll come back if you expose it to a temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler for 15 minutes or so. Put the paper in the freezer and the ink will return."

The heat from a hair dryer will cause the ink to fade again, he said.

"People are really surprised when they see that," Kyle said.

The idea for the display came from his mom, he said.

"She's a science teacher and she does an experiment with a FriXion pen for her students," Kyle said. "She thought I would like it.

"I like magic and I like science, and this is kind of a combination of both," he said.

A criminal mastermind might be able to find a nefarious use for disappearing ink, but fifth-grader Luna Gupta may use her scientific know-how to foil criminals and help identify perpetrators.

Luna's display was about forensic science, a field she wants to pursue as a career.

"I've just always been interested in forensic science," she said. "My uncle was a private investigator and I thought that was really cool."

Working in a lab helping to solve crimes would allow her to blend her love of science with her passion for books and movies about mysteries and true crime, Luna said.

"It would be really fun to be in a lab and (take) a piece of clothing or some other object and find some DNA to help solve a crime," she said.

Luna has been reading "The Westing Game," a mystery novel by Ellen Raskin in which eight pairs of people named in a wealthy businessman's puzzling will are given different set of clues to find a solution -- and inherit the entire fortune.

"I just think it's interesting to wonder why this person comes up with this theory and another person has another idea to solve the mystery," Luna said.

"I always like trying to see if I can figure out the solution to a mystery in a movie or book before it's revealed," she said. "I'm pretty good at it."

Sherlock Holmes is her favorite literary sleuth, Luna said.

Barber said the show-and-tell aspect of Brain Blast is as important as the research.

"There's always a science or research part of it, where the students work on an experiment or come up with some factoids about their topic that people will find interesting," she said.

But youngsters benefit from the experience of designing a display that will draw visitors and talking to strangers about their projects and interests, Barber said.

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