Students compete in science fair

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By Jesef Williams

If you’re looking to grow the greenest grass or strengthen your cell phone reception, there are a few local students who may help you out.

Zachary Bean, a fifth-grader at Discovery School, did his science project this year on drought-resistant grass.

He tested different types of grasses to see which one could stand straight the longest without receiving water.  

The Pensacola Bahaia proved to be the best in his experiment.

Nick Retter, an eighth-grader at Indian Land Middle School, explored cell phone reception for his project.

During separate tests, he covered a cell phone with paper, foil or cloth to see how the different materials interfered with reception. He recorded how long it took  text messages to appear on the phone during the experiment.

All of the times were between six and seven seconds, though the foil took the longest.

“This is the most interesting project I’ve done,” Retter said. “It could be useful.”

Bean and Retter each won first place for their respective grade level, and were two of several students recognized Thursday at the Lancaster County School District’s annual science fair, held at the Bradley Arts and Sciences Building at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.

Donna Parsons, a district instructional specialist and fair organizer, lauded the students for their work and thanked the parents for their support. She urged students to maintain their scientific curiosity through the years.

“The science fair is a wonderful collaboration between the schools, the conservation district and USCL that allows students to be honored for their academic achievement,” Parsons said.

The other students who placed first in their grade were Nolan Bolt (third grade), Abigail Waldo (fourth grade), Zachary Catoe (sixth grade) and Jake Dyer (seventh grade).

The first-place winners received a $50 Wal-Mart gift card.

Those who placed in the top three in their grade received a medal and each student present at the fair was given a button.

USCL gave out two awards to the students who did the best job of following the scientific method. The Lancaster Soil and Water Conservation District recognized the students who had projects germane to the environment.

As Jordan Reeves stood by his project, Coke Fizz Test, with his medal around his neck, his mother, Susan, spoke of how proud she was for his effort.

She joked that he may have been so engaged with this project because it deal with junk food.

He tested to see which type of container – glass or bottle – would create the most soda fizz.

The plastic bottle won.

“He picked it out himself,” Reeves said about her son’s project. “He was kind of a self-starter.

Science fair winners by grade

Third grade

1st - Nolan Bolt, Indian Land Elementary: “Packaging Materials”

2nd - Alaina Houghtaling, Discovery School: “What’s Hot and What’s Not!”

3rd - Brittany Smith, Erwin Elementary: “What Color Absorbs Best?”

Fourth grade

1st - Abigail Waldo, Discovery School: “Disappearing Medicines”

2nd - Kerrigan Mullis, Discovery: “Do Energy Smart Light Bulbs Really Save Energy”

3rd - Kaitlyn Melton, Erwin Elementary: “Best Carpet Cleaner”

Fifth grade

1st - Zachary Bean, Discovery School: “Drought Resistant Grass”

2nd - Jordan Reeves, Discovery School: “Coke Fizz Test”

3rd - Kate Pettit, North Elementary: “Dog Gone It”

Sixth grade

1st - Zachary Catoe, South Middle: “Pendulum Towers”

2nd - Amber Vinson, Andrew Jackson Middle: “Birdhouses”

3rd - Daniel Simpson, Indian Land Middle: “Does Size Matter?”

Seventh grade

1st - Jake Dyer, Indian Land Middle: “Are Identical Twins Really Identical?”

2nd - Michaella Oswald, South Middle: “Food Fanatic?”

3rd - Anna Scott, A.R. Rucker Middle: “Which Water?”

Eighth grade

1st - Nick Retter, Indian Land Middle: “Can You Hear Me Now?”

2nd - Steven Hendryx, South Middle: “How Enzymes Work”

No third-place winner

More winners

Lancaster Soil & Water Conservation District awards

The Lancaster Soil & Water Conservation District also gave out awards during the science fair. These winners completed projects that deal with the environment.

First place received $50, second place received $40 and third place got $30. Honorable mention received $20.

Third- through fifth-grade winners

1st – Zach Bean

2nd – Connor Phillips

3rd – Ryleigh Purser

Honorable Mention: Joey Griffin,  Kerrigan Mullis

Sixth- through eighth-grade

1st – Amber Vinson

2nd – Carly Synder

3rd – Anna Scott

USCL awards

USCL gave out awards to the two students whose projects featured the best scientific method.

Jordan Reeves won among third- through fifth-graders and Zachary Catoe won among sixth- through- eighth-graders.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152