News-Sun photo by CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY These are the middle school science students whose work advances them to competition at the regional level.
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published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
From egg dentistry to dirty money - science fair fascinates
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Forty out of the 105 participants in the 2013 Highlands County Middle School Science Fair participants move onto the Regional Science Fair. That takes place at South Florida State College, with judging Feb. 5.
The atmosphere Thursday evening in the Sebring Middle School Commons was energized with the upbeat buzz of proud parents and friends, as they admired the student participants' work.
A proud and delighted Deborah and Mark Wolfe marveled at their son Christopher's presentation, "Heavy Rolling." He had experimented with adding weight to a model car to see where the extra weight would help make the car go faster. He hypothesized weight in the back would provide more friction, so the car would go faster. He found he was correct.
"I'm very proud of his project," Deborah Wolfe said. "He worked hard on it and was meticulous with his experiment."
Asked what she thought of the student work overall, she smiled and said, "The level of scientists we have coming up, the expertise they already are showing, it's incredible."
"It's pretty impressive," said Robert Gunthorp, there to admire his daughter Nyssa's presentation about what helps a plant to grow best. "She's growing an orange tree for the (county) fair with 4-H," Gunthorp added. "She did this entirely on her own. She doesn't mind getting her hands dirty."
"Conclusions, graphs, scales," he said, shaking his head and trailing off in thought. "And the time that it takes to do it, it's impressive."
Highlighting the importance of the event, School Superintendent Wally Cox, Director of Secondary Education Dr. Ruth Heckman, and school board members Donna Howerton and Jan Shoop awarded the advancing student their certificates.
The science fair is open to every grade in middle school. Students compete within science categories, not by grade level. There are eight subjects, including bio-chemistry, physics/astronomy, botany and behavioral/social science.
Because the goal is to show a thorough understanding of the scientific method, a sixth-grader can compete with an older student.
The scientific method is precise, made up of discreet steps and parts.
Science fair projects are a test of how to conduct an experiment. Each must include: a question; a hypothesis; an abstract; a materials list; a manipulated variable; a responding variable; constants, step-by-directions (of the experiment, which must be conducted three times); data table(s); graph(s); conclusion; and log book.
Each of the steps or parts are judged separately and scored. Those are added together to form the final score. A student has to earn a certain number of points in order to pass on to the regionals.
This means, while there are first, second and third places, more than three students may advance.
Two categories were almost overwhelmed with participation this year. Twenty-seven students entered presentations in chemistry -- 15 of whom moved on. Twenty-four entered projects about physics or astronomy -- nine advanced to the regionals. Botany drew 16 projects -- three advanced -- and engineering, 10 -- of whom four qualified.
The State Science Fair is the next level after regionals; the national science fair comes after that.
The students who advanced were:
Behavioral and Social Science: Jaydee Grice, Hannah Luciano. Botony: Siddharth Ananthan; Jade Sinness; Sanhitha Raghuveera; Robert Deen; Samantha Goodwin. Chemistry: Rachel Boyd, Miguel Descartin; Luzedy Ocasio; Kadie Crosson; Emily Joseph; Kyle Cooper; Alexis Divietro; Samantha Donovan; Ketia Josue; Madison Leaphart; Hannah Livingston; Jarod Metzger; Hunter Seppala; Nordia Simmonds; and Kelly Weill.
Congrats to kids (by: AP Resident - 1/28/2013)
I applaud the students who really did the work themselves without having their parents do it. Well done!
students (by: Highlands County Citizen - 1/27/2013)
So nice to read an article that shows our children are learning and growing. I wish we would hear more of these: success in school!
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