A group of Millennium Charter Academy students will head to Raleigh to compete in state science fairs.
The state fairs, which will take place in March, are the capstone on months of work for the students in grades six through 11.
According to Millennium science teacher Bethany Shepherd, students in grades six, seven and eight all prepared projects for the school’s own science fair, which took place in early December. The top project in each science class was picked to be judged against the projects of fellow students in the school-wide fair.
High school students could volunteer to take part in the science fairs, which include a competition for research papers and a traditional science fair project competition, according to Shepherd.
Winners went on to a regional competition, which was held at Appalachian State University in mid-December. The charter school emerged with nine winners who will move on to the state competition.
Lu Ann Browne, the school’s director of development, said the number of students who will move on in the competition is especially impressive given the school has only about 700 students in grades kindergarten through 11.
The youngest of the students, sixth-grader Martina Banas, said she was excited to make the trip for the state science fair. Martina examined whether pianists could type faster than those who didn’t play the piano.
“Pianists can type nine to 27 percent faster than non-pianists,” said Martina. “Playing piano improves hand-eye coordination, which is used for typing.”
The oldest of the students, 11th-grader Sarah Shepherd, took part in both competitions. She wrote a research paper and created a board examining the range of motion of the ankle joint. She tested ankle braces as part of her analysis, which she dubbed “breaking ankles.”
Similarly, Laurel Petri, a student in ninth grade, examined how different knee braces affect a runner’s form. She used Millennium athletes to conduct her research, which she conveyed by way of a research paper and a project.
The science fairs are sponsored by two different associations, said Browne, and children will compete in March against students from throughout the state.
Sarah is the high school president of the N.C. Student Academy of Science, one of the sponsoring entities.
Cameron Shaw, an eighth-grader, serves as the group’s middle school president. She too will make the trip to the state competition.
Cameron examined how to treat water in a post-disaster situation. She cleansed water in a “solar still” and then tested for bacteria such as E. Coli and other contaminants.
There were many other projects which moved on to the state level.
Cooper Edwards used an arrow to analyze the trajectory of a projectile. Madison Lawson did an experiment to evaluate the most efficient liquid for cooling a convection engine, and William Danley did a study regarding whether different colors of paper helped a person remember what was written on the paper.
Two ninth-grade students, Alayna Smith and Anna Gibbons measured how different chemicals used for composting affected the soil quality in a compost pile.
Jack Bevard, a ninth-grader, earned a special trip with his project. He said he was the last student remaining in a room at the regional competition. Everybody else had gone to lunch, but Jack’s project caught the eyes of the five judges, and they offered him the opportunity to take his work to upstate New York.
Jack drew the inspiration for his project from the oil pipeline spill in Alabama. He wondered what sort of residue would remain from the incident. Jack tested multiple oil-based products and found heavier products such as power steering fluid evaporate at a much slower rate than lighter products such as gasoline.
The heavier products leave behind more residue, said Jack.
The group said they found the competitions to be enjoyable and fulfilling and a good showing can lead to scholarships, grants and awards. They also get the opportunity to travel to different places and get some time out of class while learning how to research and present a theory, problem or experiment.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.