A day for science

"South Whidbey second grader Brittany Loftman learned how to land an airplane last week. No, she did not set down a Piper Cub doing 90 mph at Porter Field, but she did get to do the next best thing. She flew a flight simulator in her very own classroom during the South Whidbey Primary School Science Day. Able to do everything an airplane does except a roll or a loop-the-loop, the pint-sized simulator from the Museum of Flight was the big draw during the school's annual science event. Although Loftman did not get enough cockpit time to earn her pilot's license, she definitely had an experience she will always remember. It was fun, she said. The school's kindergarten, first, and second grade students all participated in the day's events, doing everything from playing with rabbits to cracking open sedimentary rocks to looking for ancient fossils. There were lessons on X-rays, lasers, Alaskan whales, the Amazon rain forest, space, and critters. Taken together, the day taught the children how to look for the science in everyday things. Fossil instructor John Elverum told his students that finding a fossil can be as easy as turning over a rock. But, he said, don't expect to find a dinosaur -- most fossils are left behind by much smaller creatures. The dinosaurs are the publicity hogs of the science world, Elverum said. Science Day was an all-day event, involving all of the school's 378 students and many science-oriented Island residents who volunteered their time and knowledge. "

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