Gish huffs, puffs for record
Students help set Guinness record with nationwide experiment
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 06:00 am
Elmer S. Gish students were blowing their lungs out this week to try and set a new world record for science.
About 60 Grade 2, 3 and 9 students and teachers took part in a nationwide attempt to set a Guinness World Record on Friday. At precisely 11 a.m. local time, the students joined thousands of others across the nation to simultaneously take part in the World’s Largest Practical Science Lesson.
The attempt was part of National Science and Technology Week, said Erin Poulton, a spokesperson for the event at Ottawa’s Canada Science and Technology Museum. “We’re trying to have the most people simultaneously working on a practical science experiment.” This record does not yet exist, she noted, so these students will be the first ones to set it.
Teacher Melissa Zawaduk headed up the project at Gish. “I love getting kids excited about science,” she explained, noting that she also organizes the Science Olympics at the school.
The students had to perform two experiments. The first involved two red balloons hung from strings. Experimenters had to blow between the balloons and observe the results.
Those that blew found that the balloons moved towards and bounced off each other.
This was a demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle, Zawaduk explained. “Fast moving air creates an area of low pressure, and objects want to move to the area of low pressure.” Blowing between the balloons lowers the pressure between them, allowing the higher-pressure air in the rest of the room to push them together.
The second experiment proved more challenging for many. Here, the students had to stick a straw in a cup of water and blow across the top of the straw. According to Bernoulli, this should lower the pressure in the straw relative to the room, causing water to shoot up and out it in a fine spray.
Maya Asdaghi’s team didn’t have the lungpower to pull this off, despite the Grade 3 student’s enthusiastic cheerleading. “Keep blowing! Keep blowing!” she cried. “Oh, I see it coming up!” Alas, the water never reached the top.
Grade 9 student Adam Schafer was one of the few who got it to work, soaking many of his enthusiastic teammates.
“It was really fun,” he said of the world record attempt. “Science has always been one of my favourite subjects.”
The students’ results will now be sent to Guinness for review, Zawaduk said. They should know if they’ve set a record later this month.