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Elementary students show their science projects

The Blackhawk Center was filled Saturday morning with the sights and sounds of the Oregon Elementary School Science Fair.

Some of the students did projects to explain their hobbies or interests while others did projects to better understand how they live.

Austin Kapp, a fifth grade student, has lived with diabetes for 2 years and used the science fair to examine the blood glucose level and show how thick the blood is at different levels of glucose.

He did this by using 4 bottles filled with a mixture of water and ketchup to get the levels of saturation he was looking for.

The bottles represented 100, 200, 300, and 400 milligrams of glucose per deciliter (mg/dL). 

"When you have diabetes you have diabetes forever," Kapp said. "This is a normal range and this is a bad range."

He pointed to the 100 mg/dL bottle for normal and 400 mg/dL for bad.

"If I am at 300 or 400 I take a needle and take my shot," he said. "If I am at 400 and take 2 units I would be at 200."

Each unit of insulin reduces the blood sugar level by 100.

"A level of 100 is perfect, okay," Kapp said as he explained his project to another student. "Once I was at 'HI' on the meter.  That means my level is higher then 400.  It causes your blood to get thick."

When the blood gets thick the heart can be damaged and the blood is hard to pump through the body, he said.

"You have to watch your carbs for eating," Kapp said.  "Say I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have to look at the jelly carbs, peanut butter carbs, and bread carbs."

A typical sandwich would be 23 carbs and if Kapp was at a blood glucose level of 200 he said a unit may be needed with lunch.

"If I eat and I am at 400 and I don't take care of myself that's when I could die of something," said Kapp. "It does not feel good when you are to high or to low.

Not only did the project allow Kapp to examine diabetes and blood glucose level but it also allowed him to educate his fellow students about the disease.

Another project was created to honor family members.

Fourth-grade student May Askam used a plastic bottle, weight, and tube to create a small submarine.

"I did my project because my papa is in the Army, my dad is in the Navy, and my grandpa used to work on submarines," she said. "I will show you how to raise the submarine."

Askam said the weight and the hole in the bottle help to sink the project in the bucket of water.

When she blows air into the bottle it forces the water out and allows the bottle to rise to the surface.

A submarine uses ballast tanks filled with air or water to control the depth of the vehicle.

Askam's project was a single ballast tank that demonstrated the principals used in all submarines.

Each student was allowed to independently choose their projects.

"Science is in everything they do. What is so exciting about science is that in the classroom we are dictated by the materials I have. With the science fair the kids can do anything they are interested in," said teacher Pam Steele. "They can take what they are interested in and the tools they have to work with.  They do research and make the projects that were displayed today."

At the science fair March 16, 120 projects were on display and were made by 143 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.  High school students help set up the fair and judge the projects.

"Every year the kids go back to class on Monday and share their excitement," Steele said. "I think they just love it and it is a good experience."

The science fair is held annually in the school district.

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