A local science fair demonstrated that an old-school event can keep up with modern trends in education.
The 2016-2017 Surry County Schools District Science Fair was held Nov. 21 at Meadowview Magnet Middle School.
“It has actually grown and expanded throughout the years,” said Jeff Edwards, Science Institute coordinator for the school system.
“We now have categories which include technology and engineering, to incorporate more of the other areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), not just science,” said Edwards, who coordinates the district fair.
“There’s physics and mathematics, and engineering and technology. In the last couple of years those have been added as separate categories.”
Providing those extra subjects gives students a wider area from which to choose a project, said Edwards, noting that participation has grown particularly at the middle school level.
Participants each first competed successfully at their home schools in order to participate in the district event, which consisted of 33 projects from the elementary level, 43 from middle school and 30 from high school.
“Science fairs have long been a tradition in the county school system,” said Sonia Dickerson, director of communications for the schools. “Science fairs provide an opportunity for students in third through 12th grades who are interested in science and technology to pursue their personal areas of interest and display their research. Teachers encourage science fair participation to create enthusiasm in science and technology while encouraging project-based inquiry.”
Winners from each level of competition will advance to the N.C. Science and Engineering Fair regional competition.
Volunteer judges at the district event were tapped from the community.
“We use a variety of people,” that this year included Surry Community College professors and local professionals, Edwards said.
Participants are scored according to five different categories: creative ability, scientific thought, skill and thoroughness, clarity and presentation, and an interview.
“This is not just showing one evening presentation,” Edwards explained. “Some of these projects take weeks for students to put together. They are held to very high standards in terms of paperwork and documentation just as if they were completing a research project at a very high level.”
Although some teachers may require a student submit a science fair project, participation is typically extra-curricular.
The regional competition will be held Dec. 13 at Appalachian State University in Boone. Local students will compete against those from Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Catawba, Alleghany, Wilkes, Yadkin, Iredell, Alexander and Davie counties.
“We are one of the largest regions in the entire state, not in area but in the number of projects that are put on display,” said Edwards.
Participants for the statewide fair, which will be held in March 2017, are chosen at the regional fairs.
2016 Surry County District Science Fair winners
High School – first and second place winners will advance to the Dec. 13 regional competition.
•Biological Sciences A
1st – Brandon Norman, Daniel Alverrez; Surry Central High School, “Different Light Effects on Photosynthesis”
2nd – Elijah Dunn; East Surry High School, “How Will Air Restrictions Affect Plant Growth”
• Biological Sciences B
1st – Cortland Hardy, Dannis Cazarez; Surry Early College, “Correlation Between Personality Type and Test Performance”
2nd – Nathan Sheets; East Surry High School, “Vitamin C”
1st – Jessica Frost; Surry Early College, “An ‘Organic’ Organic Project”
2nd – Brittany Shelton, Brianna Bobbit; North Surry High School, “Essential Oils Break it Down”
• Physics & Mathematics
1st – Nicholas Conzone; North Surry High School, “Literally Rocket Science”
2nd – Ariel Kulzisk, Brandon Knighton; Surry Early College, “Leap of Faith or Fail”
• Earth & Environmental Science
1st – Ian Dollyhite; East Surry High School, “Into Thin Air”
1st – Sadie Williams; Surry Central High School, “Talking vs. Texting”
1st – Sydney Edwards; North Surry High School, “Brown Topper”
2nd – Abigail Martin; East Surry High School, “Seeing Is Believing”
Middle School – first and second place winners will advance to the Dec. 13 regional competition.
• Biological Sciences A
1st – Chloe Snow; Central Middle School, “Do All Plants Grow at the Same Rate Under Different Sources of Light”
2nd – Reagon Amos, Carrigan Willard, Marissa Lopea; Meadowview Magnet Middle School, “Eggcellent Oxygen”
• Biological Sciences B
1st – Jasmine Narehood, Weatherly Reaves; Meadowview Magnet Middle School, “Did You Get It From Your Momma”
2nd – Amelia York; Gentry Middle School, “What Exercise Affects Your Beat”
1st – Landon Smith; Meadowview Magnet Middle School, “Lyte it Up”
2nd – Kassi Hiatt; Pilot Mountain Middle School, “Using Chemical Reactions to Blow Up Balloons”
• Physics & Mathematics
1st – Rachel Carter; Central Middle School, “Bounce Baby”
2nd – Kara Bryant; Gentry Middle School, “Which Cup Should You Grab”
• Earth & Environmental Sciences
1st – Eli Billings; Gentry Middle School, “Does the Color of Soil Affect pH”
2nd – Joy Tilley; Meadowview Magnet Middle School, “Whit is the Effect of Acid Rain on Seeds”
1st – Dante Watson; Central Middle School; “Shining Light’
1st – Kevin Blakeney; Pilot Mountain Middle School, “What Type of Bridge is Strongest”
2nd – Joshua Burkart, Hayden Burkhart; Meadowview Magnet Middle School, “Science Fair 500”
Elementary School – all winners will advance to the Dec. 13 regional competition.
• McKenna Merrit, Copeland Elementary School, “Gas It Up”
• Sophie Hutchens, Shoals Elementary School, “H20 What You Need to Know”
• Daniel Vernon, Franklin Elementary School, “Amazing Milk To Plastic”
• Abygail Caro, Flat Rock Elementary School, “Can A Hampster Go Through a Maze,”
• Luke Creed, Copeland Elementary School, “Jell-o vs. the Enzyme Bromelain”
• Kaylee Edwards, Cedar Ridge Elementary School, “Music to the Heart”
• Reagan Snow, Mountain Park Elementary School, “What Keeps Apples From Turning Brown”
• Jaxie Draughn, Cedar Ridge Elementary School, “Yeti vs. Ozark”
• Madison Gray, White Plains Elementary School, “Bubble Blast”
• Brennan Lawson, Westfield Elementary School, “Hotter?”
• Morgan Lynch, Pilot Mountain Middle School, “Does Color Matter?”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.