Elementary and …

Elementary and secondary school students win awards, scholarships with science experiments

By Amy Mittinger


Published: Sunday, May 9, 2010

Updated: Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ohio State hosted the 62nd annual State Science Day on Saturday at the French Field House. More than 1,000 students in grades 5 to 12 throughout Ohio came to display their science experiments to a panel of judges in the hopes of receiving awards and college scholarships.

Lynn Elfner, CEO of the Ohio Academy of Science, said he was eager to begin the day’s events.

“We want everyone to have a fun time, and hopefully see that learning is fun,” he said.

Elfner explained that students with special needs or physical disabilities were still able to compete.

“As long as they’re qualified, we want them here,” he said.

Students were only qualified for the state tournament if they competed and won at the county level. Their project was then placed into one of the five categories at the state fair: environmental, cancer research, nanotechnology, behavior or alternative energy.

One-hundred and fifty volunteer judges began evaluating their assigned category at 9 a.m. Students anxiously awaited their judge to arrive and rate their project on a numerical scale. The scores were then rated as good, excellent or superior.

Student William Qu admitted he was nervous to receive his score, but said he was still proud of his project.

“My project looks at ways to lower the risk of cancer, and I found that people should take antioxidants and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables,” he said.

The sophomore at Solon High School said younger people, especially teenagers, have an increased risk of developing cancer.

Katie Tupper and Madeline Hire, seventh graders at Coshocton High School, displayed a poster about the ways dogs and cats walk. They said they were curious to discover whether both animals began walking with their left or right paws.

The students set out to observe 11 dogs and nine cats to discover the answer. They said that dogs usually begin walking with their left paws, while cats favor their right paws.

Tupper said she was no stranger to devising science experiments, as this was her sixth year competing. But she said she was proud to advance to the state tournament for the first time.

Ninth grader Nathan Kline, of Ashland, devised his experiment about harmful chemicals in cigarettes. He said he wondered if tar and carbon monoxide were more harmful in certain types of cigarettes.

“I went to a science camp and learned about it,” he said. “It turns out that even second-hand smoking can be worse depending on the specific cigarette.”

Overall evaluation of the projects was based on students’ developmental, psychological, and creative processes.

“I’ve done just 8th graders, but I think it’s great that students have this opportunity and (we) have this opportunity,” one volunteer judge said.

The judging concluded by 3 p.m. and the winners and their parents gathered in St. John Arena for the awards ceremony.

Elfner began the ceremony by thanking the students and parents for their effort.

“It was great to see what these students put together,” he said. “This gives you a taste of what scientists do.”

All winners’ names were read according to their category, and some students received additional awards and scholarships.

The Ohio Academy of Science hosted the event. 


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