The Regional Science Fair took place last Friday at Otero Junior College, with the elementary students in the morning and the high school students in the afternoon.
Prizes were awarded that evening, with some of the high school students advancing to the state competition. An article will be forthcoming from Otero Junior College with the complete results.
Students learn how to investigate a problem using the scientific method, and how to reach a conclusion based upon their own observations. Along with the procedure comes the method for recording observed details — ultimately important in work, play and life in general.
Three children from the third grade at La Junta Intermediate — Gianna Ayala, Natalie Carpenter and Aiden Neuman — won a NASA Earth System Project Award. They arrayed the solar system planets on the high school football field to show their relative distances from the sun. A friend of their father’s, Keith Manweiler, photographed the array from a drone. “One step equals 36 million miles,” said Ayala.
Across the aisle from them and teasing them a bit was a group of boys from the third grade at Intermediate: Alan Saucedo, Cayden Marquez and Steven Perce. The boys were trying to determine which candle would pop the most popcorn in a pop can.
“Nothing happened until we put in a little butter first, said Marquez.
“Not even with the corn that was supposed to be buttered,” said Saucedo. “We thought the shortest candle would work best, but it turned out to be the tallest.” They were really sharp on their safety rules, which was a good thing, because their project involved cutting the cans and lighting candles (not at the fair; at the school beforehand, with supervision).
“We recycled the cans after we finished with them,” said Saucedo.
Sadey Armstrong from Primero School near Trinidad tested the water quality of city water vs. their well water. The well water has more minerals, but still is best for washing hair.
Donner Carroll of Manzanola demonstrated oscillations of color using iodine as the colorant.
Terra McClure from Jefferson School at Rocky Ford wondered why her grandfather’s farm grew more and better melons than her mother’s garden. She suspected soil quality. The soils had the same alkalinity, but the farm had more nutrients.