The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Diana Zimmerman
Wah. Co. Eagle 

Middle schoolers show a fair amount of science


The first science fair at John C. Thomas Middle School took place last Thursday from 3-6 p.m. in the gymnasium and 63 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students participated.

Shana Batdorf investigated whether density affects how fast a liquid will flow. She hypothesized that the less dense a liquid was, the faster it would flow. She tested her hypothesis by pouring different fluids in a cup with a hole and timing how long it took for the liquid to drain.

“I found a flaw in my experiment when some liquids would settle in the cup and not completely drain,” Batdorf said. “So what I figured out is that consistency also plays a part in drainage. Maple syrup had the most density and it was also very consistent. It took the longest. Water was very light, so it went the fastest. Olive oil and dish soap went at the same pace. That surprised me because they didn’t have the same density but they had the same consistency.”

Kyli Prestegard played guinea pig and chose to eat only fruit and vegetables for one week and just meat and proteins for the next to test which diet gave her more energy.

“Meats and protein gave me more energy and made me feel more full,” she concluded. “The fruits and vegetables didn’t fill me up but made my skin clear up a bit.”

Elaine Zeller had a personal reason for her project. She’s trying to help her dad make better choices to treat his Acquired Thrombophilia, which according to Zeller, is a type of thick blood which can lead to blood clots.

She’s all set for next year’s experiment, but she’s got to convince him to make the changes to see if they will make a difference.

Solana Stanley purchased three sweet potatoes for her investigation. One was found in the regular produce section at the store, one came from the organic section and the third from a local garden.

“My question,” Stanley said, “was how are the difference of color, taste and length of eyes from three sweet potatoes, how are they different? I hypothesized that the locally grown sweet potato would have the largest eyes, the best taste and the richest color. But I was in fact, wrong.”

After a blind taste test, it turned out the organic sweet potato purchased at a grocery store tasted the best. It also had the largest eye and the richest color, which Stanley described as “pure yellow.” It looked the healthiest of all the sweet potatoes on her table, gilded with green leaves.

“I was very confused about why the regular store potato didn’t do so good,” Stanley continued. “So I did a little bit of research.”

She pointed to a list of pesticides found in the potato.

“Some cause cancer, skin disease, and growth retardation. Would you want to eat that sweet potato? In my conclusion, I added that I would change the amount of time I gave the sweet potatoes to grow. I want to find out if your food is actually natural. Is it actually organic?”

Grant Leavitt wondered if magnetic repulsion would increase energy transfer between objects.

“I predicted that magnets would increase the energy transfer,” Leavitt said.

He presented the machine he designed to test his question and gave a demonstration. He said he tested his hypothesis 20 times without magnets and 20 times with magnets.

“When I averaged it out,” Leavitt said, “there was a difference of .085 with the magnets in the up. I concluded that it makes no difference at all. I bet if I tested it 100 times instead of 20 it would even out.”

When asked how he came up with his investigation he replied with a grin, “I’m just a genius through and through.”

Teacher Tina Merz, who fashioned the event applauded the students for their hard work.

“The judges are really impressed with our use of the scientific process and method,” Merz said. “And with all the unique thinking going on. Mr. Rooklidge can’t wait for you to get to high school.”

Winners were selected from two categories, investigation and invention.

Solana Stanley took first place with her investigation and second place went to Grant Leavitt. In the invention category, Ellie Leitz took first place and David Thompson took second. There were murmurs around the room that Thompson’s invention for removing plants from pots could truly make him some money.

Judges were Jeff Rooklidge, Linda Wright and Robin Westphall.


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