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Science fair with creative flair

students answer wives tales with science

Treasure Mountain science teacher Michelle Breinholt held her annual science fair on Wednesday, Feb. 7. When the judges were done looking at 132 ninth-graders’ science fair experiments, six two-person teams were left out of the 75 projects were chosen to move on to the regional. So what experiments did the six teams concoct that would catch the imagination of the judges?

It was not only that the experiments had to be compelling, but judges, who are teachers connected with science, or community members with a background in science, expected team members to not only be able to communicate their experiment, and understand the science behind what they did. Breinholt said experiments were conducted at home, and results of the science/earth systems projects were presented at the science fair.

Charlie Actor based his experiment on rumors he had heard, that there are less germs in a dog’s mouth than in a human’s. Actor, with the help of a science teacher at Westminster College, made up an agar solution to incubate bacteria. Actor then swabbed the inside of his mouth, the inside of his older brother’s mouth and the inside of his dog’s mouth, cultivating the bacteria from each in a Petri dish filled with the Agar for six days. Findings? His dog’s mouth had the most bacteria, followed by his brother’s then his. Rumor dispelled.

Jordan Petersen and Alex Scott did an experiment with electrolysis. hooking up a car battery to a solution of water and salts, they were able to break the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, bubbling off electrodes. Hydrogen, an explosive, lighter-than-air gas, which provided loft for the dirigible Hindenburg, and ultimately led to its disaster, produced a "bark" when Petersen held a match to the hydrogen bubbles. Petersen said electrolysis can also deposit metals on the electrodes in solution.

Annika Karlsen and partner Sam Totten, tested several aspects of organic versus commercially produced milk and apples. In a taste test, they found subjects preferred organic apples over the commercially produced variety, but that organic milk was indistinguishable in taste from the commercially produced product. Both organic products appeared to have a longer shelf life than their counterparts. Karlsen’s parents eat organic foods, and she said the experiment, would likely not affect their eating habits, as they said they prefer the taste of organic.

The high honors experimenters will next compete at the regional science competition at Weber State University on March, 21. Breinholt said that although competition was stiff at last year’s regional and they came home with no awards, the students became somewhat of experts on their projects, they learned how to present information in front of a group and to top off the day, they stopped for ice cream sundaes on the way home.

Treasure Mountain ninth-grade science fair award winners:

High honors:

Jordan Petersen and Alex Scott: Electrolysis

Sierra Daggett and Sarah Boline: Effects of Caffeine

Sam Totten and Annika Karlsen: Organic food testing

Charlie Actor: Dog vs. human saliva

Kristen Albrecht and Sami Wall: Two senses

Lindsay Cooper and Hannah Beall: Genetics in the family

Honorable Mention (alternate regional science fair)

Stuart Johnson and Cameron Malcolm: Heartburn medicine

Bryan Christensen and Ana Rauk: Seed germination

Annalisa Harty and Haley Buchman: Memory

Parker Steck: Seed germination

Devin Boyle

Brittany Gebo and Alyse Blank: Music and Blood pressure

Soren Nilsson: Green architecture

Chelsea Wood and Laura Gutman: Caffeine and seeds

Maddy Farnsworth and Philip Whiting: Exercise

Tracy Lewis: Fertilizers and earthworms


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