Four Corners spices up Science Night with rockets, egg drop

·3 min read

May 25—SUPERIOR — Curiosity took flight at Four Corners Elementary School during science night on Tuesday, May 23.

Hand-built paper rockets soared into the sky propelled by air; eggs cocooned in bubble wrap, rubber bands and paper packaging plunged from an East Central Energy bucket truck to the ground; children mixed handfuls of sparkling slime; they hammered together wooden projects; and they dug trenches through sand to help rubber ducks travel downstream.

"It's a great success," said family engagement coordinator Ellen Chicka. "We had over 200-225 people register for this event, and we only have 191 kids, so over half our kids registered to come, which is awesome."

In front of the school, free bike helmets were handed out and fitted to students by volunteer firefighters from the towns of Superior and Oakland. Chicka received a $2,250 grant from Essentia Health to purchase helmets for every student at the school. The children rode through a bike rodeo course laid out by Douglas County Sheriff Matt Izzard and some of the office's deputies.

"The kids usually love the squad cars. It's good to get back out in the neighborhood," Izzard said.

Luciana Ranelli, education coordinator with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, agreed.

"I just think it's important to meet people where they are at — their community sites and at school — and so we were excited to get the invitation out to Four Corners," she said.

While the NERR is focused more on the St. Louis River area, the rural school is within the watershed.

"Kids out here really know water and know what it means, so it's important to be out here," Ranelli said.

Superior Middle School STEM teacher Mike Schlangen helped students create and launch paper rockets with an air compressor apparatus. It's an end of the year activity that seventh grade students enjoy.

The Four Corners students were doing great, he said.

"It's kind of fun because you can build it a million different ways, and they're all having fun no matter if it goes 20 feet or it goes 100 feet. They just get to push the button," Schlangen said.

Two Superior High School students — Lily and Zakk Holmquist — and their grandmother Chris Bay helped children and their families select and water free plants, donated by Missinne Greenhouse and Landscape to take home. The three live close to the school and have deep roots there. Lily and Zakk's mother attended the school when it was first built.

"It's a very local school, community-oriented, community-based," Bay said.

The science night was put on by the Four Corners PTA and Chicka.

"We try to do fun things for the kids every year," said PTA president Chelsea Rasmussen.

Funding from the PTA helped pay for food and supplies, and community partners like Missinne's, Home Depot, East Central Energy and Essentia Health pitched in to ensure everything was free for families.

Rasmussen said they threw a hodgepodge of activities together. The result was, scientifically speaking, a success.

"I like the variety, so I think everybody is finding something that makes them happy. Some kids are outside biking and some kids are building, so it's great," Chicka said.