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Students find success at annual science fair

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By Kelly Cantrall

Coleman Clark has completed his last science fair at St. James Catholic Regional School, but like any good lesson, learning the results of his experiment only piqued his interest.

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“You want to learn more and more,” Coleman said.

St. James hosted its annual science fair Thursday. Seventh- and eighth-graders competed to see which experiments would come out on top. Coleman was one of the victors of the day.

The fair is an annual event, now that the school’s new building offers more space for displays, teacher Becky McGuffin said.

Eighth-graders Abby Erckenbrack and Coleman participated in back-to-back annual fairs. Coleman placed first for eighth grade with a project that determined which door handle in the school carried the most bacteria. He chose the project “because so many people in our school were getting sick, and I wanted to know what was causing that.”

Surprising no one who has ever met a boy in elementary or middle school, the door handle to a boys’ restroom was the germiest of the ones Coleman examined.

Abby placed second by studying the connection between body temperature and the time of day, and found that one’s temperature can predict what time it is. Abby said she was excited about the second-place outcome.

“I didn’t really think my project would do well,” she said. “I think everybody thinks that.”

Seventh-graders Mary Kate Godfrey and Hallie Whelan agreed with that sentiment, their first-place finish coming as a complete surprise to them.

“It worked out way better than we thought it would,” Hallie said.

Mary Kate and Hallie studied which substance in water, such as salt and baking soda, will best carry an electric current. The girls found salt was the most successful.

Mary Kate said she had a lot of fun working on the project “because we got to broaden our horizons on a bunch of different stuff.”

Ryan Getler earned second place with a project on bullet trajectories at varying distances. He, like the rest of the students, was shocked at the outcome.

“I couldn’t believe myself. I couldn’t speak for a few minutes,” Ryan said.

The fair was previously open to a wider range of grades, but McGuffin said the seventh and eighth grades are a good fit for the project.

“They take it a little further, delve a little deeper,” she said.

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