Hands-on science is a highlight of the year for eighth grader

Hands-on science is a highlight of the year for eighth grader
  • Upper Division
Matan Halzel

Elan Megibow is an eighth grader at Denver Jewish Day School.

Q: What is the name of your project?

Elan: Sand and buoyancy - can it act as a liquid?

Q: How did you come up with this idea?

Elan: During the first Eureka Week this school year, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a hot tub filled with sand. It sounds silly, but I come across I lot of great Eureka Week ideas on YouTube. The creator of the video also built a prototype of a small bucket filled with sand. I researched how to go about building a smaller prototype in order to conduct this experiment regarding sand and buoyancy. When I first came across this video about sand and buoyancy, I immediately knew what I wanted my second Eureka Week project to be focused on.

Q: What were your favorite parts about conducting your experiment?

Elan: I started out by going to Home Depot to find all of the necessary materials such as plastic piping, various metals, and a ball valve, which is what controls the airflow which brings the sand buoyancy into effect. After I got the sand, I started testing various objects such as ping pong balls and metal washers with the air buoyancy of the sand (click here to see the video). The ping pong ball almost immediately floated to the top, and the metal washer immediately sunk to the bottom. 

I was trying to determine if sand could act as a liquid, and I thought a good way to go about it was by testing these objects. It turned out to be a successful experiment. 

Q: What do you think of Eureka Week and science overall in the Upper Division at Denver JDS?

Elan: I completed this experiment on my own, and I’m very passionate about Eureka Week and finding an experiment that not only I enjoy, but that I’m also interested in researching. I think Eureka Week is very beneficial to my science education here at Denver JDS because not only do I get to build something on my own, but I also get to learn about the scientific method of my experiment. 

This is one of the personal highlights of my school year at Denver JDS. My first Eureka Week was in sixth grade at Denver JDS, and I chose to build a hand made out of cardboard to see if it could work the same as a human hand, and it was unsuccessful. But I learned why my experiment was unsuccessful and about which topics are more interesting for people of all ages at school, which is what led me to this experiment. I was thrilled with my results and I couldn’t believe how many students and teachers were asking me questions. 

I really enjoy getting to experience and witness how science applies to real life. To me, that is the coolest part about Eureka Week and science at Denver JDS. Students have the opportunity to research something they find interesting, and then explore it further and make it relatable. When I was done showing my project to students and teachers, I went to check out one of my classmates’ experiments, and I learned that doorknobs are compound machines. I never knew that!

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