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Creativity abounds at modern science fairs


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Their projects range from highly scientific to creative.

Science fair season in the county is concluding and hundreds of students have used their imaginations to figure out what is going in the world around them.

Projects are no longer erupting volcanoes or bread left under a sink to see when it will mold.

Students have tested how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop and learned how to extract DNA from fruit.

Science fair projects have evolved just in the last decade or so, said Jon Rugenstein, science fair coordinator at Sugar Grove Elementary School.

“I see more focused projects with students who complete them,” he said. “Ten years ago it was fun. Now parents are more forward-thinking for their students; projects are more advanced.”

Here is a look at some projects that were featured in science fairs during the past few months.

The project:

The age old question: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Scientists:

Wyatt Farmer and Adam Haynes, seventh-graders at Center Grove Middle School Central

How we got the idea:

What kid doesn’t want to see how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

What we did:

Tested acidity of boy’s and girl’s tongues and had them lick a Tootsie Pop.

The result:

Boy’s tongues are more acidic, so it took them less licks. Boys took on average 437 licks. Girls took 493.

The project:

Will Wi-Fi affect plant growth?

Scientist:

Sam Musing, sixth-grader at Center Grove Middle School Central

How I got the idea:

I saw a study in a national news outlet about how Wi-Fi affects human health. Studies show that the brain is affected by Wi-Fi, so I didn’t think plants would grow.

What I did:

I put a plant next to a Wi-Fi router and tracked its growth.

The result:

It was slow to grow but did grow before leveling out.

The project:

Which plane will fly the farthest?

Scientists:

Allison Proffitt and Mehar Oberoi, fourth-graders at Sugar Grove Elementary School.

How we got the idea:

We wanted to do something with paper and planes.

What we did:

Made paper airplanes with different designs and flew them. Measured which one went the farthest.

The result:

The smallest plane with the smallest wingspan went the farthest.

The project:

How dangerous is distracted driving?

Scientist:

Lyra Bailey, seventh-grader at Center Grove Middle School Central.

How I got the idea:

I have always been curious as to why people talk and text while driving. I wanted to make a statement to our school, since we are approaching driver’s age.

What I did:

Tested variety of genders and ages doing something that would distract them on a driving simulator (similar to a video game).

The result:

Texting and calling while driving is detrimental to drivers. Drivers’ impairment was compromised when technology such as talking on the phone or sending a text was introduced.

The project:

Which brand of milk lasts longest?

Scientist:

Sydney Plowman, fifth-grader at Maple Grove Elementary School.

How I got the idea:

I came up with the idea at dinner. I wanted to do something with food and wondered how quickly milk spoiled and if brand made a difference.

What I did:

Tested each brand of milk to see which one spoiled the fastest.

The result:

Organic Valley lasted the longest.

The project:

Fast and Furious, which sled material goes the fastest down a hill?

Scientists:

Brian Foster and Erik Brandow, fifth-graders at Maple Grove Elementary School.

How we got the idea:

We got the idea the first snow of the season. We love to sled and wanted to see what the best possible sledding experience would be.

What we did:

Tested different sled materials by riding them down a hill.

The result:

Metal sled is the fastest when it is 32 degrees outside.

The project:

Which fruit has more DNA?

Scientist:

Caleb Swartz, fifth-grader at Sugar Grove Elementary School

How I got the idea:

I wanted to try something with a genetically modified object and that involved fruit.

What I did:

Smashed fruit and made a solution of salt, dish soap and water and poured the solution on the smashed fruit.

The result:

Strawberries have the most DNA.

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