Charlie Sauceda pulled on her protective gloves and checked her goggles as she prepared for a volcanic eruption Thursday night at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School.
The second-grader is in the Gifted and Talented program at Smith Elementary, and she built a volcano to demonstrate the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda. "They make carbon dioxide gas," she said.
The resulting flow of foaming lava was just one of over 200 projects on display at the Spring ISD GT Expo, held twice a year to showcase the creativity of GT scholars who spend weeks researching and preparing projects that fill the large cafeteria with poster boards, dioramas, models and computer laptops.
"We are looking for opportunities for scholars to explain their research," said Spring ISD Director of Advanced Academics Tiffany Williams. "By interviewing them, that's one way to get them talking and communicating about the knowledge that they have and getting it out of their brain and sharing it with others," she said.
Across the room, Spring ISD Board Trustee Deborah Jensen was also touring through the displays and conversing with the families. She was interested to see the very wide variety of subjects that the students chose to pursue.
"This is an opportunity for our talented and creative GT students to go with something that they are interested in… It's just really fun to see all the directions that they went in tonight," said Jensen.
After Charlie Sauceda's volcano had finished erupting and Williams wrapped up her questions, the Smith Elementary second-grader remarked that she wasn't nervous about the interview. "I made sure that I remembered all the information inside my head to tell her. She said I did a pretty good job," said Sauceda.
It can be challenging for students to present information in a large and noisy setting, outside of a familiar classroom, and successfully doing that gives students a sense of accomplishment.
Mason Arizpe took advantage of that opportunity to make a big accomplishment of his own. The Anderson Elementary second-grader stood calmly at the podium in front of the very large crowd and welcomed them to the start of the evening. His mother, Jennifer Moreno, said the GT program had helped Arizpe gain confidence.
"We're new to the program, so we've been very appreciative of the boost that it's giving my son," said Moreno.