Students are the scientists at SJS science fair

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By Kelly Cantrall



Setting one’s school work on fire isn’t usually advised, but every now and then, it’s exactly what’s called for.

St. James Regional Catholic School held its science fair Tuesday, and students tested hypotheses on subjects ranging from music’s effect on the brain to what beverages do to teeth.

The fair has been a staple of science classes at St. James for years. But the majority of the work is left to students to do on their own, science teacher Becky McGuffin said.

“I feel like it gives them the opportunity to pick something they are interested in and research it,” McGuffin said.

Grayson Stinger and Paul Fiepke won first place in the seventh-grade class for their project called “Powerful Charge.” Their project made batteries out of coin, using a salt and vinegar solution. Stinger said they chose the idea after doing research for ideas on the Internet.

“It just seemed interesting and fun to do so we picked that one,” he said.

Stinger said he enjoyed the creation part of the process, which involved layering the coins and paper towels in the solution.

“The funnest part of the project was probably actually building it,” he said.

Eighth-graders Taylor Boulier and Erin Haebig tested the flammability of non-flammable baby clothing. The students soaked the clothing in various liquids, such as wine cooler, rubbing alcohol and a lemon/lime solution. After letting it dry, they heated the clothes using an acetylene torch. They found a lemon and lime juice mixture allowed the clothes to be set ablaze.

Haebig recalled an older student tackling a similar issue, and she was excited to try it herself.

Haebig said the judges seemed skeptical that the torch didn’t set all of the clothes on fire, so she and Boulier weren’t sure what the outcome would be. The girls placed second in the eighth-grade class.

Haebig said she always has enjoyed science and Boulier liked all parts of the process.

“It’s always really fun, especially using a blow torch,” she said.

The fair used to be held every other year, but now McGuffin plans to have it every year.

The school’s new building allows for more room to have the fair set up in the gym.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.