Students from Ashe County Middle School had the opportunity to show off their brilliant scientific minds as the school was flooded with entries for this year’s science fair.
“We had a huge turnout this year, much more than we expected,” said Kelly Gunderson, the middle school’s media coordinator. “They worked really hard and we are really proud of them.”
According to Gordon Prince, the middle school’s science chair, there were over 200 entries in this years science fair, up from only 15 entries last year.
Students who entered a project chose from one of the three branches of science, which include physics, life science and Earth science. The experiments were based on subjects covered in the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth grades.
“We had something from all levels and disciplines,” said Prince
Each science project was an individual project where each student followed the scientific method to answer a question.
Students posed a scientific question and formed a hypothesis. Then, students tested their hypothesis with an experiment and collected data afterward. The students then compiled results and formed a conclusion about their experiment, said Prince.
After the judges chose a few of their favorite experiments, they called the students in for an interview. During the interview, the students explained the basic scientific principles behind their projects in order to prove they were knowledgeable and, in part, prove they did the experiment themselves.
The first, second and third-place experiments selected by judges were about total dissolved solutions, species of native N.C. wood and the study of granular flow.
Other creative projects included studying how much a parachute would slow down a runner, and how quickly a hamster can navigate a maze when food waits at the other end.
The spike in entries from last year to this year could be attributed to an incentive offered to the students who participated.
The student who took home a first place ribbon will also take home a, i pad mini. Second place earns a student a digital camera and the student who took home third place will receive a cash prize of $25 and free bowling coupons. The other 15 runners-up will receive coupons for food at McDonalds.
According to Gunderson, the funds used to purchase the i pad mini and digital camera was collected by the students themselves with fundraisers like lollipop and magazine sales. The money raised by these drives is fed back into school functions.
Also, Gunderson said she called various local businesses checking for funding. This year, McDonalds and Cardinal Lanes answered that call by donating coupons for students.