Students proud to show off projects at Science Fair Recognition Day

March 25, 2019

Intriguing titles : including “Moldy Cheese, Please” and “Do vampires exist?” : topped tri-fold poster boards at Science Central, where children’s curiosity and research were on display for two hours Sunday afternoon.

About 40 students registered for the museum’s annual Science Fair Recognition Day, which featured projects that did not qualify for the regional competition.

More than half of those registered attended, organizers said.

Martin S. Fisher, Science Central’s executive director, described the event as an “absolute blast” because the children are proud of their accomplishments and are eager to share what they learned.

The recognition day isn’t judged, Fisher added, so the atmosphere is more relaxed.

“With this, they get to have fun,” he said, standing in a room filled with projects exploring such topics as magnetic strength, the brain’s hemispheres and the human body’s capacity to conduct electricity.

Grant Layman, a third-grader at Perry Hill Elementary School, used a compass, ruler and bar magnet to test his hypothesis that heat would increase magnets’ strength.

“In the end, I was incorrect,” the 9-year-old said, noting he found the opposite : cold makes magnets stronger : was true.

Julianne Ounsombath, a fifth-grader at Huntertown Elementary School, sought whether toothpaste protects enamel. Using fresh eggs in lieu of teeth, she confirmed the toiletry’s effectiveness.

The 11-year-old had fun experimenting but noted one of the materials introduced an unpleasant aspect.

“Some parts smelled because of the vinegar,” Julianne said.

Ethan Ring, an 11-year-old from Huntertown Elementary School, tackled the topic of vampires : energy vampires, that is. The term refers to electronic devices that use power when they are turned off but plugged in.

Of the devices he measured : including an Xbox 360, Chromebook charger and TV : the Amazon Alexa used the most power when off, the fifth-grader said.

Along with unplugging devices when not in use, smart power strips can help reduce the waste of electricity, Ethan said.

Fifth-grader Carly Linnemeier of Arcola Elementary School learned which cheeses will mold fastest without refrigeration. She tested light and dark conditions.

The experiment lasted eight days, she said, noting she checked on the samples each morning before recording daily notes later.

“The first peek was just out of curiosity,” the 11-year-old said.