A Gallery of Magnificent Minds

A Gallery of Magnificent Minds
Posted on 03/09/2018
A Gallery of Magnificent Minds

Audrey McDermott first learned about Orion the Hunter from reading a book. Intrigued, the Raguet Elementary fourth-grader plunged deeper into the subject and presented her findings Friday at the Jill Waller Memorial Gallery of Magnificent Minds.

“It was really a book,” Audrey said when asked about her interest in the constellation, one she can see from a clearing in her backyard. “A lot of people know about Orion, but they don’t know the history.”

The Hunter, made up of major stars Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Rigel and Saiph, is best visible during the winter months, Audrey said. Alnilam, Mintaka and Alnitak form Orion’s belt while the Orion Nebula forms up the middle “star” in Orion’s sword. Other major stars in the constellation include Hatsya and Meissa.

The constellation’s name and origin are rooted in Greek mythology, which Audrey describes in detail as part of her presentation. Orion was elevated to the heavens, the story goes, after being killed either by arrows from the bow of the goddess Artemis or from a scorpion’s sting (also known as Scorpio).

Audrey’s project is an example of an informational presentation related to science, Raguet second-grade teacher Amiee Lucena said. To be eligible for display in the Gallery of Minds, projects have to touch on the subjects of math, art or science.

Third-grader Jaxon Howard designed a working volcano, using a combination of yeast and hydrogen peroxide to create periodic eruptions. He also designed a model of a volcano and included informational items from his research.

“Ash is helpful with the crops,” Jaxon said, something he didn’t know entering into his project. Part of his presentation describes how the ash that falls from the sky following an eruption ultimately makes nearby fields more fertile for growing crops.

“I liked learning about the positive impact,” Jaxon said. “It was something I didn’t know.”

Second-grader Keira Cook demonstrated how an egg can float in water… with a little help from an increase in salinity. She had three glasses of water ready, two with salt added. The salt increased the density, Keira explained, causing the egg to float.

The experiment proved out what she already expected. “It was all what I expected it to be,” said Keira.

The Gallery of Magnificent Minds bears the name of Jill Waller, a teacher at Raguet who died in 2014.

Waller came up with the idea following a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and in 2007, Raguet held its first gallery.

“I can’t help but think about her this time of year,” said Raguet principal Julie Wells. “After Jill had seen this at the museum, she came back and said, ‘We can do this here.’”