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Park Rapids 5th graders share science knowledge on Expert Day

Natalie Kruchowski sits with her saddle and display board on facts about the American Quarter Horse during Expert Day. Natalie is in Mr. Anderson's fifth grade class.1 / 3
Henry Thorson answers questions about his fifth grade research project on the three-toed sloth during Expert Day at Century Middle School on Thursday. (Photos by Kevin Cederstrom/Enterprise) 2 / 3
Andrew Bruce points to some friends as he sits in front his research project on the Electronic World with classmate Ridglley Clark whose Expert Day project was all about cars. The boys are in Mrs. Kelly's fifth grade class.3 / 3

Everything you wanted to know about the three-toed sloth you could learn in the halls of Century School on Thursday during the annual Expert Day.

Each year, Century 5th graders research a topic related to science, gather interesting facts and present the Expert Day project to peers, parents, teachers and administrators.

Henry Thorson, from Mrs. Kelly's class, chose the three-toed sloth for his project.

"I saw a documentary and I thought they were kinda cool," he said of the world's slowest mammal.

Henry found in his research the sloth travels 6.5 feet per minute on the ground and a blazing 10 feet per minute in the trees. Sloths can turn their head 270 degrees.

The 5th graders presented their projects and other students, both older and younger, asked questions to the roughly 140 research experts.

"I found that sloths thousands of years ago were the size of Asian elephants," Henry said. "They weren't in trees then though. Now, they're something way smaller."

Anacondas, frogs, the human eye, wolves, golden retrievers, walleye, constellations, oceans, pandas, puffer fish, sea turtles, etc. represented just some of the wide range of topics.

Elizabeth Seifert is in Mr. Anderson's class and researched oceans. Why?

"Probably because of all the cool creatures," she said.

Elizabeth found it interesting how big coral can get and passed that new-found knowledge on to interested 4th-graders who filed through the project area. She also learned how there are so many dangerous ocean inhabitants, including arguably the most famous of all ocean creatures.

"The Great White Shark is pretty dangerous because of how fast it can attack," Elizabeth noted.

She also passed on interesting facts about the Giant Squid, in just how big and elusive the tentacled creature is in the ocean. It's rare for people to ever see one, in person or on camera, she said. Females can get up to an estimated 43 feet and males, 33 approximately feet.

Ridglley Clark, also in Mrs. Kelly's class, is all about cars.

"My dad's a mechanic at Warren's Tire & Auto," Ridglley said of how he picked his research topic. He enjoys helping his dad work on cars as he grows up under the hood. Ridglley's favorite car is the Audi R8. The most common question he was asked during Expert Day: When was the first car made? Answer: 1885

And what did Ridglley learn? "The old engines were two times larger but half the power than engines today."

Expert Day has been going on in Park Rapids at least 40 years, according to one veteran educator.

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