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January 20, 2010 > Budding scientists participate in Science Fair

Budding scientists participate in Science Fair

By Alyson Whitaker
Photos By Suzette Takei

Have you ever wondered if citrus fruit could power the world? At the Sunol Glen Elementary School Science Fair, this was just one of many questions answered by students in their project presentations.

Participation in the school Science Fair is mandatory for all students in grades six through eight. There were 11 participants in grades K-5, all of whom received a participation award.

A vast range of projects were represented at the fair. A display on the effect of soda on the intestines might make one rethink that daily beverage choice. One student extracted iron from breakfast cereal using a magnet, showing the importance of nutritious choices for the most important meal of the day. Another student studied the effect of music on the egg-laying habits of chickens. As for citrus fruit powering the world . . . after discovering how many pieces of fruit are required to generate enough power to light a single, small light bulb, it became clear that this source of energy is unlikely to become popular any time soon!

The panel of judges included Chris Olsen, Frank Huang, Paul and Laura Mirkarimi, Derek Johnson, and Claire Dentinger. Students were judged on originality and creativity of the project, how well they followed the scientific method, and their final presentation.

Judge Chris Olsen offers advice to future participants as well. While it may be tough to choose an original project, he suggests choosing a known subject of interest to the student, and then taking it a step further. He encourages students to select a project that is relevant in their life, and ask a question deeper than the obvious. Then the student needs to follow the scientific method in forming a hypothesis, measuring the results in a quantitative manner, and arriving at a logical and provable conclusion.

Winners from 7th and 8th grade will go on to compete on the county level at the Tri-Valley Science and Engineering Fair, March 30 - April 2. The fair is sponsored by Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and will take place at Robert Livermore Community Center.

As students participate in events such as these, they are developing critical thinking patterns and skills that will serve them in all areas of life.

Through donations from the Community Club (Sunol Glen's Parent/Teacher organization), as well as corporate donations, a total of $500 in prize money was awarded to the following winners:

Sixth Grade Winners:
Roujheen Sabetan
Adam Ball
Elizabeth Betchart
Zach Sonnenschein
Holleigh Jones

Seventh Grade Winners:
James Heald
Elli Erickson
Kalina Montgomery
Haley Newman
Sadie Bennett
Monica Wenneker

Eighth Grade Winners:
Skye Fisher
Bessie Barnes
Halie Sonnenschein
Taylor McNeil
Paige Arcieri

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