Grade school students at the USD 382 District Science Fair got some special treats as they experienced an "earthquake," play in a sandbox with real-time video showing the changes in sand levels and even got to dig for real fossils during the May 1-3 event at the ACE building.

There was some shake, rattle and roll going on this week at the USD 382 District Science Fair. Pratt high school students created an earthquake table that duplicated what it would be like if an earthquake hit.

The device was spring loaded on four sides and the earthquake victim stood in the middle of a metal plate with their legs spread apart. A student held the victims hand while a another high school student used a slotted pole to move the plate back and fourth like an earthquake.

The grade school children enjoyed the unique experience and the high school students had a good time making the ground “move.”

Another unique item at the science fair was put together by freshmen Nick Vail and Derrick Newby that took a little low tech, a sand box, and some high tech, Xbox 360 Kinect, and combined them to produce a real-time image on a monitor of the changing height of the sand in the box.

Students would move the sand around and the Xbox 360 Kinect would read those movements and produce on the screen an image of the changing heights of the sand in various color levels.

Vail said they were working on a way to project the image from the monitor onto the piles of sand as the students change the height of the sand piles.

The grade school children had a great time moving the sand and watching the colors change on the monitor.

The children also had fun digging in the sand and finding real fossils. Lu Bitter, science coordinator, said they had gotten real fossils from War Eagle Cavern in Arkansas. The fossils were place in small plastic wading pools full of sand and got to feel around in the sand and find and keep actual fossils. The students enjoyed this activity too.

While the usual and some unusual displays of science projects filled the gym floor in the ACE building, it was the hands on projects that were the biggest hit with the grade school students.

@GaleR_Tribune