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Walnut valley Unified School District

ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

Sink or Swim!

September 26, 2018

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources


WALNUT, CA--About 30 students at C.J. Morris Elementary are competing this week for a spot on the school’s Science Olympiad Team.


Daily building challenges include a tin can race, pasta mobile, and barge building, along with 25-question knowledge tests on anatomy and astronomy.


At the end of the week, all scores will be combined with the top 15 securing a place on the team, according to Principal Shehzad Bhojani.


“We encouraged students to enter more than one event during the trials for prepare for the regional competition held next spring,” he said.


“I want to be on the team because I love science – especially space!” shared fifth grader Eric Yuan.  


On Wednesday, students brought in 15 x15 cm. pieces of aluminum foil during the barge building challenge held at lunchtime.


The 3rd through 5th graders had five minutes to create their little boats, then took turns placing them in tubs of water.


They would be adding cargo of metal washers to their ships until they sank.


The children added the quarter-sized rounds one piece at a time, counting out loud, until the floating barges filled with water.


Parent volunteers were on hand to verify the entries during the challenge.


Most of the students practiced making barges at home and each reported using a different strategy.


“I practiced with quarters and pennies,” said 4th grader Elonzo Motus.


“Build edges hard so water can’t get through,” 4th grader Lawrence Ju said.


“If the cargo is heavy, make the sides higher,” said 5th grader Fiona Li.


‘It was fun being on the team last year - the barge building was my favorite competition!” she added.


Students also had unique techniques as they added the little gaskets.


Some evenly spaced them beginning in the corners, while others made piles in rows.


“I like to leave spaces between them,” Yuang said.


Most of the barges were square or round, while two students crafted unique foil-shaped vessels.


“Mine looks like a tiny boat!” exclaimed 3rd grader Amelia Gonzalez.

Third grader Analise created a heart-shaped entry.


“When I was practicing it was the best one I had!”



C.J. Morris Elementary students compete in Barge Building challenge during Science Olympiad trials on September 26.


C.J. Morris students are given five minutes to create foil boats during Science Olympiad trials. 


Students gather with pieces of foil for barge building challenge on September 26. Shown with elementary learning specialist Kay Hoard.