Photos: Pine Hill Project Expo celebrates curiosity
SCHOOL DISTRICT 833 — Chloe Strom, a fourth-grader at Pine Hill Elementary School, isn't pulling the wool over your eyes when she says that the scientific name for llama is lama glama.
She ought to know. Strom and classmate Samantha Behrends spent their extra time compiling facts about the llama, which may look like a cuddly stuffed animal but is actually a valuable meat and pack animal in Chile, Peru and other South American countries.
The duo were among more than 60 exhibitors at the Pine Hill Project Expo, the annual culture and science fair that took place in the school gym.
The Nov. 15 event was coordinated by Patrice Siefert, who teaches English learners. She and teacher Barb Hranicka, now retired, brought the expo back after a multi-year hiatus.
Taylor Crist, 9, was the room's resident expert on Drosophila Melanogaster — that's fruit flies to you and me. Picking up a glass vial containing live fruit flies, she explained to a visitor that you put them to sleep by injecting carbon dioxide into the vial. Then you can extract one of the specimens to study under a microscope and the rest won't fly away.
Bats were the chosen field of study for 8-year-old Lacey Milbrandt. She said she's partial to animals who live by night.
"All bats use echolocation except for the grey-headed flying fox," she said, referring to a large species of Australian bat.
Emily Heilman, 7, loves ladybugs, and was only too happy to share what she'd learned. Above all, ladybugs are beetles, not bugs, she said.
In 1999, NASA sent four ladybugs into space to see how they would interact with aphids, a garden pest. (They ate them.) Ladybugs are thought to have gotten their name from the Virgin Mary. Hundreds of years ago, European farmers prayed to Mary to protect their crops from destructive insects. In return she sent the ladybug, whose wings are said to resemble Mary's red cloak.
Pine Hill students Shelby Milbrandt, Samantha Symicek and James Olson each received a Project Expo Four-Time Awards for participation in the program all four years that they were eligible.