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Science Fair inspires variety of student projects

Mac Kalna's project on how the moon affects tides took top honors Wednesday at the STEM Fair.

Mac Kalna’s project on how the moon affects tides took top honors Wednesday at the STEM Fair. Photo by C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach

A project on how the phases of the moon influence the tides won top honors Wednesday at the Science, Technology, Electronic, Math (STEM)Fair in the Ocracoke School gym.

The project, by 10th-grader Mac Kalna, featured a computer presentation and the phases of the moon illustrated with partially eaten Oreo cookies.

Mac Kalna's top prize-winning project investigated how the moon affects tides. This photo shows the phases of the moon rendered in Oreo cookies

Mac Kalna’s project shows the phases of the moon rendered in partially eaten Oreo cookies. Photo by C. Leinbach

STEM is the new term for the heretofore-named science fair. It is sponsored by the Hyde County Extension office and coordinated by the school and the Eastern 4-H Center.

While Kalna was not available to talk about his project, third-grader Auggie Giagu was busy showing onlookers how his lemon batteries actually created an electrical charge.

“It’s the citric acid and the zinc in the nail,” he said while positioning a contact on a small LED bulb. “See. It gives off a faint glow.”

Auggie Giagu

Auggie Giagu explains his lemon batteries.

Three lemons, according to Auggie, can produce 2.81 volts, and five lemons produce 4.74 volts. Auggie didn’t know how many lemons it would take to power his laptop computer.  Maybe next year he’ll investigate that.

“He was really inspired,” said his mother Paige Bennett, the third grade teacher.

While only the sixth through high school grade projects competed, all the students received participant ribbons.

An investigation of which fish food would increase the mass of a gold-fish the quickest, by seventh-grader Dylan Esham, won first place in the seventh-eighth grade category.

Eighth-grader Mila Ortiz explored how humidity affects persons with fibromyalgia, a muscle disorder.

“I wanted to see if the humidity increase would make a person with fibromyalgia have more pain,” she said. Although she surveyed several people over seven days, her results were inconclusive.

Fourht grader Christian Stevens showed how high-powered magnets can be used in transportion and is insprired to study this in college. Photo by P. Vankevich

Fourth grader Christian Stevens showed how high-powered magnets can be used in transportation and said his project has inspired him to study this in college. Photo by P. Vankevich

Other projects included how magnets can be used for transportation; what effects coffee has on plants; cleaning up oil spills and how raw eggs react when immersed for a while in vinegar, lemon juice or Coca-Cola.

High School science teacher Jennifer Garrish said the fair is one of the great events the school sponsors. “It really helps our students,” she said.

Natalie Wayne, the Hyde County extension director, was

Natalie Wayne, Hyde County Extension Coordinator. Photo by P Vankevich.

Natalie Wayne, Hyde County extension director. Photo by P Vankevich.

impressed with the projects.

“There were many outstanding projects by the Ocracoke students,” she said. “I think they realize the value of learning by participating.” 

The following received honors in the fair:

Best in show: Mac Kalna, 10th grade

Most Creative: Kalai Samick and Cody Pinter, ninth grade

Best Artistic: Katie Kinnion, fifth grade

Fifth grade winners: Katie Kinnion, first; Max Elicker, second; Iris McClain, third

Sixth grade winners: Julian Bennink, first; Jackson Strange, second; Brandt O’Neal, third

Seventh-Eighth grade winners: Dylan Esham, first; Hannah Belch, second; Russell Stevens, third.

High school winners: Mac Kalna, first; Kalai Samick and Cody Pinter, second; Sam Evans and Colby Austin, third.

Peter Vankevich contributed to this story.

Mila Ortiz looked into how humidity affects people with fibromyalgia. Photo by C. Leinbach

Mila Ortiz looked into how humidity affects people with fibromyalgia. Photo by C. Leinbach

 

Sixth graders Hayden Austin dealt with the thorny issues as to whether Brysoans are plants or animals. Photo by P. Vankevch

Sixth grader Hayden Austin dealt with the thorny issue of to whether Bryozoans are plants or animals. Photo by P. Vankevch

2 replies »

  1. Outstanding! Congratulations to all. I would like to know how many lemons it would take to fully charge a iPhone 6s, it has a capacity of 61,715mAh and great to see pictures of the Linear testing tracks close to my house! Hopefully you will be able to ride a short distance by the 2020 Olympics! What did the goldfish like?

    • I learned that 5 lemons equals one 5 volt battery, you will have to do the additional math