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.
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.”
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.
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
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.